Remote Client Engagement


At Your Service: Remote Client Engagement


Working from home and serving clients remotely will be the Judy Kepecz-Hays team’s new norm for this April at the very least. During this time, digital marketing tools shall keep our services running even as a state-wide lockdown has been declared by Governor Ron DeSantis to counter the spread of Covid-19.


To a certain extent, it’s business as usual for our Judy Kepecz-Hays team.  We have recently listed in the MLS a luxury residence at the Longboat Key condominium, Pierre. Quite comforting for us and our clients, remote work practices and cutting-edge tools are now available to help expedite sales and hurdle market difficulties brought by the worldwide Covid-19 crisis.


We can skip onsite or in-person showings of properties during these times when “social distancing” and “safer at home” are buzzwords in daily activities. Like any tech-savvy real estate sales team, we have taken internet marketing to a whole new level besides having a website and an online presence within the Coldwell Banker network.


Cutting-edge Communication Tools


Thanks to a wide selection of software, we can work from home and closely communicate with clients beyond exchanging emails. Our team can readily initiate a video conference through the Messenger App in the Judy Kepecz-Hays Longboat Key Coldwell Banker Global Luxury business page on Facebook. This app, like most other tools now available, is mobile-friendly, so we can be in touch even with clients on the go.


With video conferencing, we can perform seller and buyer consultations effectively. An app, like Facebook Messenger, can accommodate several parties in a video conference. Hence, our video calls can likewise involve the real estate agents representing the seller or buyer with whom our client is in negotiation with. Conversely, we can represent our client in a video conference hosted by our counterpart agent. Notably, a video conference can be recorded for a review if needed.


To everyone’s advantage, there are several other alternatives to Facebook in video conferencing with features that are useful in facilitating a deal. Among these options, one of the typical choices is Skype. This platform, being a product of Microsoft, works seamlessly with tools vital to presentations and discussions, such as MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


The contracting parties in a deal and their agents can wade through the necessary documents in the entire selling process. The file-sharing option and screen capture available in video conferencing make it easy to discuss the real estate offer letter, deeds, affidavits of disclosures, and other documents related to deal negotiations.


Virtual Property Tours


Properties on the market are also easy to show to serious buyers. In-person/onsite showings of agents’ market listings can be substituted with virtual tours. Well-produced tours would typically provide prospective buyers a 360-degree perspective of a listed property aside from views of its interiors.


Virtual tours are produced by assembling a sequence of videos or still photos. Other multimedia elements like music, sound effects, and narration can also be used in virtual tours. This way, a tour can fully convey the ambiance of the residence and its neighborhood.


There are many ways to keep real estate buyers and sellers engaged even amidst major challenges like Covid-19. Expect that our Judy Kepecz-Hays team shall continue helping such engagements, with the health and safety of everyone too is very much a part of our concern.


Enhance Your Investment


Every economic sector worldwide is now bracing for a significant slowdown due to the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Residential property owners though can take some comfort in the intrinsic value of their holdings, as even during a downturn, demand from house buyers is still expected.


Owners of residences in the U.S. planning to sell can also pin their hopes on finding buyers on the mortgage interest rates currently trending at historically low levels. A confidence-builder for buyers, the rock-bottom rates follow the recent moves of the Federal Reserve to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Prospective residential property sellers can weather the current economic stress more successfully if they take purposeful efforts to preserve or even add value to their houses. Here are some of the ways on how you can do this.


Improve energy efficiency


Your choices are plenty to improve the energy efficiency of your residence, and these options can start from the least expensive picks. For as low as $200, for example, you can install a smart thermostat in your house. This installation is a great come-on for buyers, as it is estimated that with this device, up to 23 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs could be achieved with a smart thermostat in place.


Replacing your old home appliances with new, energy-efficient models can likewise make your residential sales listing more appealing on the market. More buyers’ attention could also be generated by adding wall insulation and replacing old, leaky windows.


Undertake upgrades


Investing in upgrades, particularly in the bathrooms of your house, can further help bring buyer interest on it. Better results could be achieved from bathroom updates by creating more functional space and upgrading worn-out fixtures.


On average, you can expect to get back after the sale of your house between 50 percent and 65 percent of the money spent in a bathroom renovation. The market value of your residence can also get a boost from the replacement of old countertops and cabinets in your kitchen. Typically, money spent on kitchen improvements can add 5 percent to 15 percent to the value of your residence.


De-cluttering and deep cleaning


Spring cleaning and de-cluttering is an inexpensive but effective approach to impress prospective buyers touring your residence for sale and justify the price tag on it. One industry survey claimed that over $4,000 could be added to the value of a sales listing that went through de-cluttering and deep cleaning.

There’s a side benefit too if you want to skip spending money and only allot time and effort to cleaning and de-cluttering. You can gather a donation pile for charities as you clean out the things you don’t want or need in your cabinets, closets, and drawers.


There are also a lot of other ways to enhance the value of your property if you own a condo residence. Amidst these uncertain times, you can consult our Judy Kepecz-Hays team for the best approaches whether you’re selling a single family house or a condominium property. In our over 40 years of experience in the real estate market, we have succeeded in handling its ups and downs. Our team is just a call or e-mail away to help you with a property sale or purchase.



Sarasota Inshore Fishing Spots

Sarasota’s Inshore Fishing Spots: Where Anglers Can Skip Boats


The delights anglers enjoy with their rod and reel are surely top of mind for most developers of waterfront real estate in Sarasota. Tangerine Bay Club in Longboat Key, where our Judy Kepecz-Hays team has a new listing, is but one of the many local residential developments with a fishing pier among its amenities.

Anglers living in non-waterfront communities can also conveniently enjoy fishing on Sarasota Bay and the Gulf waters. They don’t even need a boat, as Sarasota has several inshore fishing spots, and here are the popular choices:

Quick Point Nature Preserve

This preserve is located at 100 Gulf of Mexico Drive, only less than a quarter-mile south of Tangerine Bay Club where our team also sold a condo just this February. Quick Point provides a fishing pier and a canoe launch, and it also offers nature trails around lagoons, mangroves, and native flora in its tranquil Florida setting.


Overlook Park

Directly west of Quick Point, this park is on the southern tip of Longboat Key and lies across the New Pass Bridge. Overlook Park enables anglers to cast out their lines into New Pass and fish for pompano and Spanish mackerel. They can also walk up to the bridge pilings and try baiting for snapper and sheepshead.


Longboat Key Beach

Inshore fishing is also most ideal in Longboat Key’s beach accessible via any of its 12 public access points on Gulf of Mexico Drive. Anglers can easily focus their efforts right in the slue and surf line parallel to the coast. Their potential catch includes snook, pompano, ladyfish, tarpon, flounder, and whiting.


North Lido Beach Park

This park is at 159 Emerson Drive accessible from the westernmost stretch of Ringling Boulevard then right to North Polk Drive. From the park’s public parking area, anglers need to take a 10-minute walk to the shallow section of New Pass. There are a lot of sandbars here from which the fishing is great for pompano, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel.


South Lido Beach Park

Anglers in this park gain access not only to the shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico. They can also turn to the waters of the Big Sarasota Pass and cast off from grass flats too. A parking area is available in this park that likewise features picnic tables, a playground, and a snack bar.


South Lido Nature Park

This nature park is located at 190 Taft Drive and is frequented mostly by kayakers. For anglers, their best bet spreads in the north where there is an area with very shallow grass and some deeper holes. Anglers can wade in the area’s shallow flats and possibly reel in redfish, speckled trout, and snook.



Tony Saprito Fishing Pier

Built in 1979, this pier juts out Sarasota Bay under the John Ringling Causeway Bridge and adjacent north of Eloise Werlin Park. Anglers typically reel in jack, redfish and Spanish mackerel from this pier also widely popular for its striking sunsets.

It was


Ringling Bridge Causeway Park 

This park is just west of the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier. Anglers have several fishing options in this park, one of which is wading to the edge of its northern flats. There is a deep channel running through this area, and they can fish at its drop-off.


Whitaker Gateway Park

The 80-foot fishing pier in this park just west of North Tamiami Trail has just been rebuilt this February 2020. Besides drawing anglers to the bay waters, this park offers a walking and fitness trail, a playground, pavilions, and picnic areas that captures many of the joys of living in Sarasota and her islands.


Heating up in Hawks Harbor




Sarasota Bay Flexes Asset in Hawks Harbor


Just early this February, our Judy Kepecz-Hays team put on the market a residence in a waterfront development—Hawks Harbor—that exemplifies the compelling value proposition of properties just off Sarasota Bay.


This community is located south of Bay Drive in Bradenton, only about one-fourth mile west of the vital roadway of U.S. 41. Hawks Harbor is an upscale gated community comprised of only about 50 residences. Many of these houses are directly located bayfront while others are along a deep-water canal leading off to nearby Bowles Creek onward to Sarasota Bay.


The inland houses in Hawks Harbor were built around a charming lake with a fountain accent. With this setting, splendid water views could be enjoyed in all of the residences. Verdant and lush landscaping also set a quiet setting for this community, right from its Bay Street entry lined with tropical Florida palm trees.


Classic Luxury Features


The residences in Hawks Harbor were constructed starting in the early 2000s (our team’s listing was completed 2002). The houses located bayfront or canal-side typically feature private boat docks. For the non-waterfront residences, deeded access is available at the community’s marina allowing unobstructed access to Sarasota Bay,


Hawks Harbor, overall, is an upscale neighborhood with its residences built in compliance with green-building standards. Moreover, these houses comply with the new Florida building code that sets tougher hurricane protection measures.


A good number of the residences in Hawks Harbor are valued in the million-dollar range. The community’s dwellings consist of an impressive mix of architectural styles like Mediterranean, Caribbean, Cape Cod, and Key West designs. The typical features of these luxury dwellings include spacious game rooms, wine cellars, gazebos, outdoor kitchens, swimming pools, and boat docks with storage


Golf in Nearby Sara Bay


Hawks Harbor is more than a boating community though, as it is conveniently located close to some of the major points of interest in Sarasota and Bradenton. The community’s residents, for instance, can avail of membership in the nearby Sara Bay Country Club. This country club, founded in 1926, is located on Willow Street just a few minutes’ drive east of Hawks Harbor.


Sara Bay features a championship golf course that underwent an extensive renovation completed in October 2018. It nonetheless retained the original design of noted course architect Donald Ross. Play on this 18-hole layout runs at a par 72 over 7,012 yards. Sara Bay Country Club also offers social and dining facilities for meetings and celebrations.


Besides these perks, residents of Hawks Harbor also have easy access to the sports facilities of the IMG Academy. Baseball, football, soccer, tennis, golf, and lacrosse are among the events that IMG hosts.


Several schools serve Hawks Harbor families with school-age kids.  These include Bayshore Elementary, Harlee Middle, and Bayshore High School. In sum, this community captures all the delights of living in Sarasota with generous slices of a namesake bay as the centerpiece.


Luxury waterfront properties are the specialization of our Judy Kepecz-Hays team. Call or email us if you want to buy or sell a residence in Sarasota and her islands. 

Listings Are Selling Fast


Property Listings Are Selling Fast


Our Judy Kepecz-Hays team could feel the vibrant path that the local real estate market is tracking just barely two months in 2020. Moving into mid-February, our team has already notched five pending sales.


What’s even more remarkable, three of our pending sales are priced over the $1 million level.  This roster of ours demonstrates the sustained vitality of the luxury real estate market that we’ve seen toward the end of 2019. Sales of residences priced at over $1 million in Sarasota saw sustained gains during the fourth quarter last year, statistics compiled by the Realtors Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) indicate.


4Q 2019 Sarasota Sales of Residences Priced Over $1M

 Month Total Year-on-Year  Gain
December 37 19.4%
November 23 9.5%
October 27 58.8%


The consecutive three-month sales increase, as shown in the table above, indicate market confidence of wealthy house hunters which has been observed throughout the U.S. at the latter months of 2019. Real estate analysts attributed this buoyant mood to a decline in U.S. mortgage rates and stronger global economic indicators.


In our Sarasota market, buyers’ enthusiasm on luxury residences is evident in the significant decline in the median time to contract in December. During the month, the number of days between the market listing and eventual sales closing of a high-end single family house in Sarasota dropped 48.1 percent to 67 days compared with a year earlier. Sarasota luxury condos’ median time to contract dropped as well, with a 65.9 percent to 43 days.


Tailwinds for Luxury Sales


Opportunities on value-for-money purchases appear prodding upscale residential buyers to move in quicker on available luxury residential properties in Sarasota. Recent industry reports indicate that the price appreciation in this local market segment has been milder, in contrast with the steep rise in other U.S. urban centers.


Relatively limited choices on upscale listings and competition among prospective buyers also help bring about faster turnover of available residences for sale. Last December, the stock of single family houses with price tags of over $1 million was down 3.2 percent, as new listings failed to keep up with residences that went off-market during the month.


Overall supply was tight on the Sarasota real estate market, RASM December figures show. During the month, the inventory of single family houses in the county decreased by 11.4 percent and that for condos by 31.5 percent.


Measured in terms of months’ supply, Sarasota is in a sellers’ market territory for both residential types. The stock of single family houses in the county stood at 3.7 months’ supply and that for condos at 3.9 months. Both are notably well below the 5.5-month equilibrium wherein neither seller nor buyer has an edge in pricing.


This supply scenario is reason enough for prospective sellers of residential properties in Sarasota to be optimistic about engaging the market now. Doing so, however, needs to consider other factors, such as the right marketing approach, in order to draw top dollars to a sales listing. Contact our Judy Kepecz-Hays team to maximize your chances of getting the best offer or the best purchase choice. Clients are our priority, whether they want to buy or sell.




Sarasota and Her Islands: Icons of Waterfront Living

Sarasota easily ranks as one of the leading Florida destinations for buyers of waterfront properties. And it is easy to see the reasons why. First, water is a major element in the geographical features that shaped the city and the fortunes of the Sarasota real estate market. Out of the city’s total area of about 25 square miles, water accounts for 10.5 square miles. 


These waters mostly manifest in Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico adjoining parts of the city and its barrier islands—Lido Key, Bird Key, Longboat Key, and Siesta Key—to the west.  Significantly, Sarasota waterfront properties are not confined to those next to the bay and the gulf. In Sarasota’s barrier islands, there are plenty of canalfront properties with premium valuation like our Judy Kepecz-Hays team’s listing in Bird Key.


Mainland Water Features


In the mainland, South Sarasota notably provides another superb waterfront setting along Phillippi Creek. On both flanks of this waterway rich in natural charm, many neighborhoods have already been developed and also incorporated non-waterfront properties like the lot that our team listed recently on Riverwood Avenue.


Residences built fronting man-made lagoons and lakes further widen waterfront residential choices in Sarasota. Many of these water features have been included in local real estate developments to serve as stormwater retention ponds and help prevent flooding. Others form part of the water features of golf courses around which residential neighborhoods have been deftly woven.


Varied Price Points


Given the varying locations of Sarasota waterfront properties, their price points can vary significantly as well. Furthermore the residential types of homes in these prime neighborhoods vary as well. Typically, million-dollar price tags on beachfront estates like our team’s listing in north Lido Key


Luxury options can likewise be found in beachfront or bayfront Sarasota condos such as Ritz-Carlton Towers. Expect pricing to be more moderate for waterfront residences built within communities in the mainland, particularly prices for multi-family dwellings. 


For prospective sellers, it is crucial to note that the typical buyer of a waterfront residence would be looking beyond the house’s builder or floorplan. Buyers would examine, just as closely, if its waterfront setting—whether beachfront, bayfront, canalfront, or lake front—matches their lifestyle perfectly.


The Buyers’ Checklist


The buyers’ main considerations could revolve around property features that support such activities as boating, fishing, and other water sports activities. They’d like to find out the types of activities allowed on the local body of water, as in some areas, there may be restrictions on speedboats, jet skis, and other water vessels. 


In beachfront or bayfront residential market listings, prospective buyers would pay close attention to such features as storm shutters, hurricane-resistant doors and windows, and other essential structures protecting the house from the elements. Some buyers would also be particular about having seawalls and boat docks. Equally important are the government initiatives in place or on the drawing boards to protect local waterways.


Be it buying or selling waterfront real estate, the market considerations loom plenty and unique. For more insights, email or call our team and benefit from the decades of experience we have gained on waterfront real estate sales and marketing.


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Sarasota’s Winsome Landmark: Five Points


Longboat Key, Florida | January  8th, 2020 If we are to choose some of the most iconic landmarks of Sarasota, Five Points in the heart of downtown should easily come out among those on top. Both residents and visitors could easily agree on this choice, given the charming features in this area where five thoroughfares converge (hence, the area’s name). Here, the two doglegs of Main Street meet with Central Avenue as well as with North and South Pineapple Avenues. In August 2011, a roundabout was completed where these thoroughfares meet to provide for easier and safer traffic, especially for pedestrians. The well-landscaped roundabout also eliminated the unsightly traffic lights formerly installed at Five Points.


Namesake Park


This downtown Sarasota hub is most popular though for its lush and leafy Shelby Five Points Park which flaunts several public art displays contributing to the city’s aesthetics. The park likewise occasionally hosts specials events, such as the city’s traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony. In recent years, the Market at Five Points was also held at this park every Wednesday from November to April. It is ran by the same group handling the Sarasota Farmers Market each Saturday of the week on Lemon Avenue.

Five point plaza building located in Sarasota, FL


Just adjacent north of the park is another local attraction—the Selby Public Library—the largest in Sarasota County. It is not only known for its extensive collection of books and other reference materials in various subjects. The library is also known for its various free program and events for the youth and adults.
In addition to the library, there many downtown shops and dining destinations in the Five Points area. This neighborhood is likewise host to the Sarasota Opera House on North Pineapple Avenue. Opened in 1926, this historic theatre offers more besides cultural performances. It also holds school programs, a summer camp, and outreach projects.


Cornerstone of Growth


Much of Sarasota’s urban growth, it could be said, revolved around Five Points. Significantly, the city’s first skyscraper—the First Bank and Trust Building—that was constructed during the 1920s on the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street. After several ownership changes, this building was eventually demolished to give way to the construction of a mixed-use condominium building—Plaza at Five Points. This condominium was developed as a high-rise sporting a Neo-classical architectural design. Plaza at Five Points, definitely one of downtown Sarasota’s signature condominiums, was completed in 2005. It has 52 residential condos, and these were set from the 11th floor up to the 17th floor of the building. Four penthouses, one of which our Judy Kepecz-Hays team recently listed, occupy the top floor. The other residential floors of the building have been laid out with eight condos each. Commercial and business establishments take the spaces from the ground floor up to the ninth floor.


Iconic Condo Perks


The features of Plaza at Five Points are archetypal of mixed-use downtown Sarasota condominiums. Its residents have a private entrance lobby separate from that of the condominium’s commercial tenants. Three high-speed passenger elevators, plus one service lift, serve the condo’s residents exclusively. Other residential amenities include a luxurious clubroom with a grand view of Sarasota Bay. It provides many amenities such as an entertainment center, a wet bar, fireplace and catering kitchen. Purchase of a condo in the Plaza at Five Points is also bundled with these amenities: a swimming pool with a sundeck a gazebo, and grill area; a modern fitness center and spa; boardroom/library; a garden terrace; and guest suites.


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Welcome 2020 with Cultural Specials and More in Sarasota


Longboat Key, Florida | December  24th, 2019 Each month throughout the year, Sarasota offers arts and culture specials particularly in and around its downtown area. Heading onward to 2020, let’s celebrate the New Year looking at these unique cultural happenings that all contribute to the vibrant lifestyle that draws residential property buyers to our city.


Van Wezel’s Golden Season


The Van Wezel Performance Hall is marking its 50th anniversary with an exciting lineup in its 2019–2020 season that began in August.  Coming into the New Year, Van Wezel presents the multi-awarded quartet Il Divo on January 5; comedians Steve Martin & Martin Short, Jan. 23; and singer-actress Kristin Chenoweth, in concert Jan. 30. February’s Van Wezel headliners include Frankie Valli &The Four Seasons, Feb. 9; Mandy Patinkin with Diaries in concert, Feb. 16; the Beach Boys on stage Feb. 18; and Michael Feinstein, with songs of Gershwin in “Who Can Ask for Anything More,” Feb. 20.


More stars follow as Paul Anka renders an evening of Frank Sinatra music on March 11; and songwriter David Foster performs with special guest (and new wife) Katharine McPhee on March 22. Next in line are The Pointer Sisters, April 2; Jackie Evancho, April 3; Johnny Mathis with his “The Voice of Romance” tour, April 16; and Chris Botti, April 19. In the summer months, Van Wezel brings back its Friday Fest free outdoor concert series. Hosted at its Bayfront lawn, this event from 5 to 9 p.m. features various local bands, as well as food trucks, beverage vendors, and summer sunsets over Sarasota Bay.


Palm Avenue First Friday Walks


This monthly first-Friday event is based primarily on the two blocks between Cocoanut Avenue and McAnsh Square along a stretch of about 400 meters along Palm Avenue. Set 6–9 p.m., it offers more besides the wares for sale and display at Palm’s art galleries, antique shops, and fashion stores. Palm’s First Friday Walks  also present live music performances and delectable cuisine in several restaurants plus the high-quality services of salons on the avenue. The following monthly themes of this event for the 2020 first quarter provide hints of what to expect from it next year: January 3, “An Evening on Palm;” February 7, “Romancing the Arts; and March 6, “A Taste of Palm Avenue.”


The Place for Art


The charming Towles Court on Adams Street in east downtown Sarasota is the scene of this seasonal event. Held every third Friday of every month from October to May, it is hosted by the 19-member artist’s colony, Towles Court Art Association. Art aficionados love attending this event which has been ongoing since the mid-1990s. Besides art pieces from painters, this Towles Court event is also a local showcase for potters, spinners, and other art disciples.

It likewise features live musical performances that this December featured renditions from the popular duo Latin Rendezvous. This event is held 5–9 p.m., notably set amid a charming neighborhood with lush native flora and old Florida houses. 


These happenings comprise only a short listing of the winsome and festive events that help shape life in Sarasota. As we move forward in 2020, expect our Judy Kepecz-Hays team to share more of the elements vital to the interest of residential property buyers and sellers in Sarasota. On this note, we wish Happy Holidays to one and all!



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Sarasota Unwraps Its First Contemporary Art Museum

Longboat Key, Florida | December 17th, 2019 The celebration of arts in Sarasota, one of the joys of living in the county, got even livelier with the opening of its first contemporary art museum this December. This new Sarasota attraction is housed in the old but iconic building formerly used for classrooms of the adjacent Sarasota High School. Now called the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College, the building sits on the block of 1001 South Tamiami Trail. The historic residential neighborhood of Avondale is just across the west of the new museum.


A Gem from Design Moguls


The old high school building is very much part of the cornerstones that helped build up Sarasota as the Cultural Coast of Florida. The building was constructed in 1926, designed in the Collegiate Gothic style by renowned Tampa architect Malachi Leo Elliot. In 1959, the building underwent a makeover, integrating the design of Paul Rudolph, one of the pillars of the Sarasota School of Architecture also seen today in many local residences. 


The multi-awarded Lawson Group Architects led the adaptive-reuse project for this architectural gem to be converted into a museum. Notably, the Lawson Group takes credit for the design of many standout local contemporary buildings including some in downtown Sarasota. A project spending of about $30 million was committed for the Sarasota Art Museum, now affectionately known as SAM. The museum campus features about 80,000 square feet, with 15,000 square feet devoted to exhibitions.


Changing Art Exhibits


Unlike most museums, SAM isn’t a house for permanent collections or exhibits. Its only permanent art piece is a mural that adorns the building’s stairwells up to the third floor. This colorful wall painting was rendered by noted San Francisco-based artist Leah Rosenberg. The concept of the museum calls for its hosting of touring, temporary exhibits of contemporary art. Generally, each exhibit will be displayed for four or five months. With this setup, SAM will keep visitors coming back and draw new ones as well. Aside from its exhibit areas, SAM’s campus has a plaza that now serves as an entry area. This plaza is also envisioned as a future venue for cultural activities like concert performances and outdoor film screenings.

Currently, the museum features the works of various artists spanning from post-World War II to the present. These inaugural exhibits include the works of the 20th century African American abstract artist Norman Lewis.  Also one of the features is a major retrospective from the artworks of Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz. 

In addition to the art exhibits, the SAM campus took in September the headquarters for Ringling College’s extensive schedule of continuing education and lifelong learning classes. 

The museum offers various types of memberships that start at $65 for a solo member. Members gain free entrance to the new museum plus invitation to previews and 10 percent discount on SAM’s store and café. 

Admission is also free for Ringling College students, faculty and staff; Cross College Alliance students; veterans and active military; public and life safety officers; and children 17 and younger accompanied by an adult. Others pay $15 as a museum entrance fee.


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Ted Sperling Park: One of the Perks of Living in Sarasota


Longboat Key, Florida | December  14th, 2019 In our long years of specializing in luxury real estate, we’ve seen so many folks who relocated to Sarasota fall in love with Ted Sperling Park. More so among the old-time residents that knew it before as the South Lido Beach Park.

Ted Sperling Park is truly one of the primers to the quality of living in Sarasota. This park offers residents and visitors an opportunity to experience an unspoiled natural Florida setting that is easy to access.

Ted Sperling Park is located on the southern edge of Lido Key, and it is just minutes away from the vibrant commercial hub of St. Armands Circle. Some residential communities, like the Ritz-Carlton managed The Beach Residences, Orchid Beach Club and L’ Elegance and are notably just a short distance to this park’s north entry at 190 Taft Drive.


ted sperling park in Sarasota, Florida

Kayakers’ Haven


Ted Sperling Park covers all of a hundred acres interacting with four bodies of water: Brushy Bayou, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. The park, which was named after a Sarasota county commissioner who pushed for its establishment, is host to one of Florida’s top-rated kayak launches.

This paddlers’ base is located right at the park’s Taft Drive entrance. The kayak launches are directly adjacent to sprawling mangrove forests where paddlers can easily navigate under the canopy of mangrove trees.

The kayaking experience in the Ted Sperling Park is quite unique and exciting. The paddlers move through a verdant tunnel, a water trail system where they can encounter marine life like dolphins and manatees, as well as aquatic birds.

If you own a canoe or kayak, you can launch it for free at the Ted Sperling Park facility. Alternatively, there are kayaks for rent there, and guided eco-tours from the park are also offered at 10:00 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. daily. You have to make reservations though because tour slots are limited.


Recreation and More


The waters of Sarasota Bay off the park also make the perfect choice for stand- up paddle boarding. The bay waters are calm and therefore suited for beginners to this new watersport. Paddleboard lessons and rentals and lessons are available in the park year round.

Besides kayaking and paddle boarding, Ted Sperling Park is likewise an ideal place for birding and wildlife-watching, as well as fishing. The park is an excellent destination too for picnics, as it has a shelter/pavilion, restroom, and rinse station among its facilities.

Ted Sperling Park provides more besides its recreational value. Its red mangrove forests, like those in other parts of Lido Key and coastal Sarasota, help protect waterfront properties. These forests serve as a buffer, absorbing floodwaters while also reducing the effect of tides and waves on the coastline.
Moreover, the mangroves growing at sea level along the coastline form an important piece of the Southwest Florida ecosystem. These coastal forests provide a habitat for fish, crustaceans, birds, and other small animals.


Living in Sarasota has many more attractions like Ted Sperling Park. Our Judy Kepecz-Hays team can guide you to the residential communities which draw the most out of these places that elevate the quality of life for residents. Call or email us for a preview of some of the best residences that Sarasota has to offer. If you’re selling, check with us on the smart ways to bring the best pitch to market your property.


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Plans Advance for Beaches Rehab in Longboat Key


Longboat Key, Florida | December  1st, 2019  Residential property owners in Longboat Key have reason to be cheerful beyond the forthcoming holidays. The local officials are advancing multimillion-dollar beach renourishment projects, efforts that are vital to the protection of residential property values on the island. 


The Longboat town commission is mulling over a proposed comprehensive beach management plan with an estimated price tag of between $32 million and $52 million. The plan’s final cost shall be largely determined by sand sourcing and sand quality for the beach rehab projects. The budget ticks upward if it is decided that the highest quality sand would be dredged and hauled by trucks for the beach renourishment projects. 


The town commission is proposing to borrow a maximum of $34.5 million to fund all these initiatives culminating in an island-wide beach renourishment in 2021 or 2022. The loan proposal will be presented to the town residents in a referendum this March. The measure is likely to be approved as residents did so in three similar instances before.


Beach Tax Adjustments


Once the residents approve the town’s new borrowing, a higher beach tax will be charged to the residential property owners on the island.  The owners of gulfside properties pay 80 percent of the beach tax, while 20 percent is assessed for the bayside property owners.


Besides sand dredging and hauling, the total cost estimate for beach management plan covers funding for shoring up erosion hotspots along the 10-mile Gulf-front coastline of Longboat Key. It also allots funds for the proposed groins to stabilize the north shoreline of the island.


Longboat Key’s beaches, either north or south, are assets that local residents zealously watch out and are proud of. Many properties on the eastern flank of the island, although off the Gulf Coast in the west, notably draw an added value from their deeded access to the beach.


A Weighty Island Asset


Much of the town’s quality of life revolves around the beaches of the island. Unlike the public beaches of Lido Key and Siesta Key, those of Longboat are less crowded and are lined almost entirely with private residences, condos, and rental properties. 

Public access to Longboat beaches is limited to 12 entry points spread along Gulf of Mexico Drive. Blue and white signs mark these beach entries. Visitors won’t find any public facilities, like concessions, lifeguards, and restrooms in the beaches of Longboat Key, except parking at or near the access points. There are restrooms though at the access point near the Bayfront Park parking lot. 

Also, there are shops and restaurants at the beach access point near Bay Isles Road which is likewise host to a large Publix supermarket. Take note that the town prohibits the consumption of alcoholic drinks in its beaches, unlike in the public beaches of Sarasota County where such practice is allowed.


By and large, Longboat’s beaches are quieter and quite conducive to family picnics. For these bonding experiences, one popular choice is Whitney Beach toward the north end of Longboat. Its beach access points are close to the Whitney Beach Plaza, a strip mall featuring restaurants and some service providers.


Besides the Longboat beaches and the firm measures the town takes to care for them, there are plenty of other factors driving market interest on the island’s real estate properties. Call or email our Judy Kepecz-Hays team to keep yourself updated on opportunities for buying or selling local residences.


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Luxury Real Estate Buyers Step Up Market Activity


Longboat Key, Florida | November 30th, 2019 It may very well be now the time for fence-sitting sellers of high-end U.S. residences to step forward and engage the market. After being timid for nine months, buyers of houses priced at $1.5 million and above flexed their muscles in the 2019 third quarter.

According to a recent industry report, sales of single-family residences priced at over $1.5 million rose by 3.2 percent during the three-month period compared with the same quarter last year. This gain notably came after three straight quarters of sales declines in the luxury real estate segment.


Sarasota Rides in the Uptick


The high-end residential property sector in Sarasota appears on cue with the uptick of the luxury housing market on the national level. Sales of single-family residences in the county priced at over $1 million rose by an estimated 35 percent in the 2019 third quarter, local realtors’ data show. Significantly, this uptrend was sustained in October, as sales of luxury Sarasota residences during the month rose year over year by a hefty 58.8 percent.

The inventory of Sarasota’s prime residences available on the market also looks encouraging for prospective sellers. As of October, the county’s luxury housing market holds a total of 409 active listings of residences, down 3.1 percent compared with last year. During the month, buyers appear moving quicker on luxury houses, too, with median time to contract for these high-end properties down by 11.2 percent.


The current price trend for luxury residences on the national level likewise appears favorable for sellers getting more lucrative offers from wealthy buyers. The same study we noted earlier indicates that the price momentum is shifting upward nationally for luxury houses. The study’s finding showed that the average U.S. sales price of luxury residences in the 2019 third quarter rose annually by 0.3 percent to $1.6 million.

Although the gain was marginal, it broke the consecutive price declines for this market segment during the previous three quarters. Analysts attributed this reversal to the waning fears on a U.S. recession following a faster-than-expected economic growth during this year’s third quarter.


How Luxury Residences Move on the Market


Even amid these market conditions favorable for sellers, some vital marketing efforts still need to be done to address some of the factors that move luxury residential sales. For one thing, a high-end sales listing has to project an air of exclusivity.

The exclusivity tack in marketing luxury real estate is precisely where our Judy Kepecz-Hays team is specialized in. Through the network that we’ve developed for over 40 years, we can help sellers not only in identifying potential buyers. Our team can also assist sellers to verify the qualification of prospective buyers who request for a showing of a luxury residence for sale.


Call us if it’s a high-end residential property is what you plan selling or buying. The high-end real estate segment looks poised for a new run, and we can show how you could gain from this resurgence.


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