Podcast: Where to live in Sarasota Florida

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Real Estate

Real Estate Agent Man: The Podcast

Secrets of Florida Real Estate That Should Not Be Secrets

Season 2 Episode 1  ( Transcribed for the hearing impaired: Transcription below by artificial intelligence software - errors are inevitable)

Nicole Smith  00:00

I have basically lived all over the state, but I'm obviously just so passionate about this area that I'm raising my family here. There is not much to not love about Sarasota. It has everything someone could want.

Singing  00:12

Real Estate - Agent Man

Steve Martin Smith  00:18

Nicole Smith, welcome to my podcast studio.

Nicole Smith  00:21

Oh, thank you for having me, Steve.

Steve Martin Smith  00:23

Steve. Oh, come on.

Nicole Smith  00:25

I call you Steve in business. It's more professional.

Steve Martin Smith  00:29

Okay, why do you call me Steve?

Nicole Smith  00:32

I call you Steve because I feel like when I refer to you as my dad or my father that undermines my level of experience, and expertise in my field, and makes it look like I'm just working for daddy.

Steve Martin Smith  00:46

And we both know that is so far from the truth. Now, I have heard some people call you a second gen realtor.

Steve Martin Smith  00:53

so, though there's possibly some value in that. No. How do you think that's taken? The second gen. realtor thing?

Nicole Smith  00:53

Yes, they

Nicole Smith  01:01

No, I think that it is well received and it's not like I'm trying to hide the fact that you're my father. I guess referring to you over and over again as my dad, or my father, just makes it seem like I am not as serious of a realtor as I need to be; that things were just kind of handed to me.

Steve Martin Smith  01:21

Yes and if anybody actually knows me, and like knows the way that I raised my kids, I didn't hand you guys anything.

Nicole Smith  01:28

Oh, no, no, no, we had to work.

Steve Martin Smith  01:29

I wouldn't even let you win a game of checkers. 

Nicole Smith  01:32

I won once. 

Steve Martin Smith  01:33

Yes, but I didn't let you. You actually had to earn that.

Nicole Smith  01:37

Yes, I've had to earn everything my entire life and I actually do take a lot of pride now in earning things - where they say nothing worth having ever comes easy. So...

Steve Martin Smith  01:47

That is correct. Yes. So the main reason why you're sitting here for this podcast is because you have been working on a blog, that is, I think, going to be extremely helpful to hundreds or 1000s of people that are considering moving to this area.  I've been reading, you know, some of the drafts as you're moving along, and just seeing, you know, how you're hitting on all the different areas of Sarasota County. You know, I know that people out there are calling from New York and calling us from California and just everywhere. You know, they're seeing Sarasota as the number one place that people are moving to right now, and this has been going on for a while. You know, the news reports that way, and we see it every day. It's just a fact. But Sarasota is so much more than just Siesta Key, which is what many people think of when they think of Sarasota because of the Siesta Key television show. Right?

Nicole Smith  02:44

And the fact that has been rated the number one beach over and over and over and over again in all of America.

Steve Martin Smith  02:49

Right, right. So one of the benefits of, I don't know if it was a benefit at the time, but it is now, of being my daughter is that when you lived with us, we moved a lot. So coming from Detroit in 1998, you were 10 years old, and we moved to Sarasota or Manatee...

Nicole Smith  03:13

the city of Sarasota in Manatee County.

Steve Martin Smith  03:15

Yes. And that That's just a fact that a lot of people don't even know. There's just so much to learn about this and I know that you are highly qualified to talk about this because you've lived in I don't know what five cities in and around the area.

Nicole Smith  03:31

I mean, more than that I've moved all over but just within this area. Yes. I've lived in the city of Sarasota. I've lived in multiple different subsections of Sarasota. I've lived in Northport, Venice and Nokomis. Now I live in Lakewood Ranch, which part of Lakewood Ranch is also in Sarasota?

Steve Martin Smith  03:47

Yes, and we actually this is one of my great regrets in life. We put down $1,000 in 1998. on a house in Lakewood Ranch when there was nothing there. There. We're just getting started. That whole University Town Center area was just farmland, and it seemed so far away from everything at the time, because like I had two kids in school, you know, and there were there wasn't a Lakewood Ranch high or is there Lakewood Ranch? Yes, sir. That's why Nicole is such a valuable (one of the reasons) such a valuable member of the team because she knows that area so much better than I do, but you just moved there recently and before that you were living in...

Nicole Smith  04:25

I was living within the city limits of Sarasota. 

Steve Martin Smith  04:30

okay, the purpose of the blog that you're doing is what?

Nicole Smith  04:35

Well, when you asked me to describe Sarasota County to people who are possibly moving from out of state or just out of area, so that they could better understand maybe where they might want to be I, I didn't really want to do it. Honestly, it's really it's gonna be super time consuming. I mean, I'm only 80% done and I've got six straight hours and on this blog, but I get it, it's it is super beneficial because there are so many different lifestyle options, and so many different subsections not just within the county because there are a lot, but then you, you try to dissect Sarasota, and it's like that's three blogs in itself to try to get information across because you have, you know, North Sarasota, central Sarasota, South Sarasota, you have Lido Key, Bird Key, Siesta Key, and within all of those, you have multiple different subdivisions, non deed-restricted areas, gated communities, golf communities. I mean, and that's just touching on everything west of the highway, you know, it's just really, really detailed,

Steve Martin Smith  05:43

the thought process that you're having to go through in this, you know, and even some additional research just on some specific areas, you know, what's the current...

Nicole Smith  05:53

What are the current home prices,

Steve Martin Smith  05:54

current home prices,

Nicole Smith  05:54

they change all the time, especially right now. 

Steve Martin Smith  05:56

Right, right.

So yeah, this blog that you're writing, as far as home prices go, you know, maybe we should just add 10% to all of them.

Nicole Smith  06:05

Why do you say current home prices, so they can't hold me to anything.

Steve Martin Smith  06:10

So there are 18 zip codes just for Sarasota, the city. And I know that, you know, in all the news reports out there where they're talking about people moving to Sarasota and what not? A lot of people don't realize that Sarasota is also the name of the county that Sarasota is in. So that's where we also end up with Northport, and Venice, and Wellen Park and Nokomis, Osprey, a part of Englewood actually is in there too, with M

Nicole Smith  06:44

Yeah. And part of our job is dissecting why.  I feel like so many people don't feel the need to explain to me in detail from the beginning the why, 

Steve Martin Smith  06:54

The "why" what?

Nicole Smith  06:55

what are they looking for? Why are they moving here? What are the things that interest them about what they think Sarasota is, because that's a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And you know, we could spend a week going out every single day showing you things that have nothing to do with the lifestyle that you're looking for. I don't know about you, but I don't want to waste everyone's time like that.

Steve Martin Smith  06:56

No, and when people fill out the wish list, and they put you know, it's they want a three bedroom, three bath pool home three car garage, or whatever it is that they're wanting, and they give us they give us a price point.

Nicole Smith  07:30

We can get that for you anywhere within Sarasota County.

Steve Martin Smith  07:33

Right? Well, if you're price is right, but they're looking online and they're looking at at photos of beautiful homes, with beautiful swimming pools, maybe overlooking water or a golf course. And they all start to look the same at some point. But the neighborhoods are what makes the difference. And everything that you were just saying it's "what is your lifestyle"? what's what's important to you? Do you want to walk the beach every morning? Well, then you really probably don't want to live in Lakewood Ranch because it's going to be a 45 minute drive from some parts of Lakewood Ranch.

Nicole Smith  08:09

Oh up to an hour

Steve Martin Smith  08:10

yeah to the nearest beach. Okay, so if you love the way that Neil community house looks that you're looking at that they're building brand new in Lakewood Ranch while you probably also like the one that they're building in Boca Royale. People from Boca Royale ride their bike to the beach and ride the key. So what is most important you and both areas, Lakewood Ranch and Boca Royale have great golf courses. Yeah. So that's why it really is so important that, you know, when people are filling out the wish list or talking to us, they're giving us as much details as they can about what is important to them.

Nicole Smith  08:48

Yeah, not even just beaches and golf courses, which is what I feel most people kind of default to when telling us what they're looking for. Other things you have to consider is, you know, are you going to be looking for fine dining options? Do you like upscale boutiques? Or, you know, possibly a beach club membership, because we do also have that in Sarasota. Some people really want easy access to the beach. And that's the best way to go about it. You pull up you valet, you've got a pool a beach, right there a towel service, and, you know, they have servers come out to give you food and drink. And

Steve Martin Smith  09:21

so it may not be in the community that you're living in. But you're a member of it.

Nicole Smith  09:27

Yeah, you're a member of it. And is that something that you need to be close to? Right. And another thing I've noticed that people, especially from the north don't understand about our area is you know, up there, it seems that you have communities that are all have different price points, all right next to each other, you know, so you have this little sub section that's all million dollar plus homes. Then you have this sub section that's all $300,000 plus homes. in Sarasota. There are many different areas where you could have a $2 million house next to a $300,000 house. You know, it's ...

Steve Martin Smith  09:59

That is mind blowing for many people when they come down here, yeah, and you know, if you do want to live in an area where all of the houses are of about the same value, well, we can do that too. But that's not most of Sarasota County. It's, it's more rare. Let's talk about the Florida Keys for a minute. You know, Florida Keys have been very popular for many years their written about in a lot of songs.

Nicole Smith  10:25

Aruba, Jamaica,

Steve Martin Smith  10:26

yeah, well, and that's like Kokomo, which doesn't even exactly exist, but the concept of Kokomo is very real down here. So, what have been some of your favorite things about living so close to the keys and what they offer?

Nicole Smith   10:43

Now, are you talking about the quote unquote, Florida Keys, or are we talking about the barrier islands that...

Steve Martin Smith  10:49

I'm talking about our Florida Keys, right here

Nicole Smith   10:51

Our Florida Keys, which are barrier islands around Sarasota County? Yes. Okay. You know, I really enjoy the opportunity to have so many different beaches to choose from, you know, we have Lido key, which has a beautiful beach, there's not a whole ton of public parking. But like I said, they do have the rich beach club where you could just valet don't have to worry about it. But Lido Key is is great. That's where the boat races happen. And then right off the beach, you have St Armands Circle, so I can go to the beach, right get my tan hang out with my friends. And then take a minute drive over to St Armands Circle, get some Starbucks, go shopping at the boutiques head over to Shore and get lunch.  Lido Key is probably, honestly my favorite key just because it has a variety of options for me throughout the day and I never have to leave.

Steve Martin Smith  11:47

for the listener I want to say you know, do a search for St Armands Circle because it is worth taking a look at

Nicole Smith   11:55

oh yeah it's just this tiny little you know roundabout I guess it's a huge roundabout but it is just around about and you have seafood restaurants, you have lunch spots, you have high end dining, you have you know live music, you have many different shops from clothing to jewelry, to you know, odd and ends items, knickknacks, locally owned stores that have local artists that sell their their work in their sculptures, paintings, whatever. It's a really unique place and I personally love it because it feels really upscale. It's a beautiful place to just walk around even if you're not buying or eating anything. It's just really great, energetic atmosphere. And you're right next to the beach. You just pop on over and

Steve Martin Smith  12:42

you can walk to the beach from the key  

Steve Martin Smith  12:44

from St. Armands Key

Steve Martin Smith  12:46

yes, you can walk

Nicole Smith   12:47

another thing that people don't know that you probably don't know, that St. Armands Circle is not on Lido Key.

Steve Martin Smith  12:52

Is it on Longboat?

Nicole Smith  12:53


Steve Martin Smith  12:54

What's it on?

Nicole Smith  12:55

St Armands Key

Steve Martin Smith  12:56

That St. Armands key? I did not know that. Wow, you're just a wealth of information. I know. I know. So we're talking about the island. Yeah, we're talking about the barrier islands. 

Steve Martin Smith  13:07

We just went over. Lido Siesta Key. Honestly, I used to love it when it wasn't so over advertised. Now it seems that everyone coming to Sarasota. They want to go to Siesta Key they don't even know about Lido key. They don't even know about St. Armands Circle. All they know about is they saw Siesta Key was rated the number one beach in America. And now we have this MTV show called Siesta Key. And it's just getting so much hype. Now, I will say that during holidays Siesta Key is really fun. All those people bring a really high fun energy for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, they have the fireworks they do bar crawls. You know, for someone in my age group, I'm 32. I might maybe be hitting the top of the age group that does this. But it's a really fun thing to experience, especially on the holidays. So what I'll do as a resident is I'll just rent a condo because there's no way you're finding parking, you know, so if you just rent a condo for the weekend, you can still experience all of that on Siesta Key and not have to deal with the traffic over and over and over again. So that's what that's my work around. But just on a day to day basis. I don't really go to Siesta Key I understand the draw, but it's not worth it for me.

Steve Martin Smith  14:20

There's no doubt about it that you know, Siesta Key is a tourist attraction, no doubt about it. But wow, what a beautiful tourist attraction. I noticed in your blog as I'm reading the drafts that you talk about, like living in Osprey is pretty much right in the middle of Siesta Key and Casey key. It is so and what maybe a 10 minute drive 15 minute drive to 

Steve Martin Smith  14:41

Yeah, either way

Steve Martin Smith  14:43

So, you know, Osprey is a place that nobody knows about. 

Steve Martin Smith  14:47

No, "what's Osprey"? 

Steve Martin Smith  14:48

Yeah, but I mean that that has I think one of the the best Golf and Country Club like luxury communities of any place in Sarasota. Especially a place so close to the gulf.

Nicole Smith  15:04

It's probably, I would say the only place in Sarasota County that you can get on the mainland that has the Golf and Country Club atmosphere. And you're still close under 15 minutes to multiple beaches. It's the only one.

Steve Martin Smith  15:23

I just realized that we hadn't said the name of it and it's the Oaks. In fact, we have a condo we're about to list in The Oaks. There's a variety of options from condos to single family homes, extremely grand single family home.

Nicole Smith  15:36

Oh, gorgeous.

Nicole Smith  15:38

mini mansions

Steve Martin Smith  15:38

Yeah mini mansions. What what are the price points in The Oaks?

Nicole Smith  15:41

I would say probably for a smaller condo at $400,000 to start all the way up to several million.

Steve Martin Smith  15:49

Yeah, for the mini mansions. Not something for everybody. 

Nicole Smith  15:54

No, but if that is exactly what you're looking for. And you absolutely have to have that Country Club lifestyle and those private golf courses in a gated community but you want to be close to the beach, that's your option. They do have higher HOA fees than the area average, you also have to buy into their membership with a you know, initial fee from 45,000 to $60,000. But if that's what you want, and you're willing to pay for it, that is your only option. It's a great one.

Steve Martin Smith  16:23

Yeah, that was the only one that's gorgeous.

Nicole Smith  16:26

So I'm gonna ask you a question. Okay. This is something that I don't have a lot of knowledge on, because it has been a while since I've been in the area. But why don't you tell the listeners what part of Sarasota County would be the best place for someone who's looking to build a new construction home on a large piece of land with privacy? 

Steve Martin Smith  16:48

Well you were talking about Northport. Okay, it's just a hands down if somebody is wanting to build a new home. And you know, they've got a budget under 400. And sometimes even under 300. I actually I'm closing on somebody on the 22nd of this month, who is getting into a brand new home and a 10,000 square foot lot for $261,000. That's incredible.

Nicole Smith  17:09

Yeah, it is nowhere else in Sarasota County you can really do that.

Steve Martin Smith  17:12

No. I've been calling North Port, the final frontier of Sarasota County for a long time. There's still 1000s of available lots in Northport. At any given time. There's like three or 400 for sale, you know, on the MLS at prices from $5000 to well, I mean, I'm just talking about normal family size lots. So maybe up to about 40 or $50,000 depending on if they have city water or not. Most of North Port is well and septic. But it is the place where you can build a brand new home and have total control outside of whatever the the county or city says but there's no HOA. Okay, so you can paint it the color you want to paint it you can put up a fence. In most of North Ports, six feet, four inches is the highest you can put up a fence, but that's a good size privacy fence. And you know, you can keep your kids and your dogs in the backyard safely. And there aren't a lot of restrictions on the size or style of home or builder that you choose in that area. Oh, and there's lots of builders building in Northport these days. There's lots. And you know that you're right that this is something that I have worked with a lot living in Venice, I get a lot of people in Venice, who you know, want a new home, but then when they start looking at some of the options here, they think, you know what, what does North Port have to offer? I think I'd rather have, you know, a place where there's no HOA Yeah,

Nicole Smith  18:36

and the majority of Northport is non deed restricted, right. I say what, 90%

Steve Martin Smith  18:40

Oh, yeah, yeah. So, you know, that that's a really good option for the people wanting to move down and do that. Also, you know, if you're wanting to buy a resale. I'm closing next week and one of my listings for $385,000. And it's a 21, almost 2200 square foot pool home.

Nicole Smith  19:00

It's updated, right?

Steve Martin Smith  19:01

Yeah, it's update. I was great kitchen, you know, that would look tile floor throughout most and it's newer. Yeah. So built in 2006. Okay. So, you know, for people who are looking online and trying to figure out what they can get where that's goes there. We're going right back to the information you put in your wish list and the information that you're telling us as we're trying to get to know you is going to help us know because for that $400,000 Okay, you could get a large updated pool home in Northport. But you could also get a condo on Venice island where you could walk to the beach, you know, you could do

Nicole Smith  19:42

or you could get a tiny house with no pool that needs updating in Sarasota.

Steve Martin Smith  19:45

Right, right. You could exactly you could do that. And then you start updating it and I mean, the value of that can only go up

Nicole Smith  19:53

another but another thing that we need to know about people is how close do you want to be to the beach because Northport isn't close to the beach. It's also not Close to any fine dining or a mall. You're smack dab in the middle of Sarasota and Fort Myers. So for some people that doesn't matter some people just want the space some people want the freedom when I lived there. I everyone there kind of has this you do you and I'll do me mentality, they leave you alone, they let you do your thing. I mean, we were riding our four wheeler up and down our street. Nobody cared. You know, you can't really do that in Sarasota. So as much information as we can get about everything they're looking for, is really going to be able to help us narrow down what spots are going to be best for them.

Steve Martin Smith  20:32

Yeah, the closest mall from some parts of North Port are actually the Port Charlotte mall. 

Nicole Smith  20:40

has, which doesn't really have anything. No, anymore.

Steve Martin Smith  20:43

No, it's malls in general. I've got to be dying after COVID

Nicole Smith  20:46

not UTC. Well.

Steve Martin Smith  20:49

Many malls, yes. But right UTC that is like the Mall of the area. Oh yeah, it's almost like a world mall.

Nicole Smith  20:57

Let's talk about the fact that university town center isn't just a mall. University Town Center is actually a pretty large area of different shops and dining. It has a mixture of locally owned places and, and chain restaurants, commercial retailers. You know, you have your Verizon, at&t, Old Navy, Best Buy. You have some finer dining like the capital grille, seasons 52 over at the mall itself, but it's actually called the mall at UTC. So yeah, the mall at UTC is a wonderful mall. They have a Saks Fifth Avenue, they have a Nordstrom they have all your basic shops like Express, Victoria's Secret, things like that. They have Santa come for the holidays. And also for Christmas. They do a huge they did last year. It was incredible. It's like a winter wonderland of lights that had an ice skating rink. And it was like you just skated through all the different Christmas lights. It's like completely surrounding you. You are in a world of Christmas lights. Ice skating in Sarasota, Florida. Yeah. And every I think it was 30 minutes. If you're shopping through, you know, the town center, they had a show going on with coordinating music, lights, and music that played through the entire town center. So your lights on the palm trees and the shops were lighting up to the beat of the music that was playing. It's incredible. 

Steve Martin Smith  22:27

I'm learning so much in this podcast. This is incredible. No seriously, I didn't know that they did that. I mean, I drive by on the freeway and the parking lots in the building is all decked out for Christmas. It's like, well, this is really cool. But I just don't tend to go to the malls anymore for Christmas. I'm going to have to change that this year.

Nicole Smith  22:44

Yeah, it is quite an experience. I mean, whether you're visiting or you live here. It's like a mini Disney World. Wow. Very cool for your shopping pleasure.

Steve Martin Smith  22:53

I guess. Think about this people. If I am learning all this stuff. having this conversation with my daughter and I live in Sarasota County, my main office is downtown Sarasota. So I'm in Sarasota a lot. But there's just things

Nicole Smith  23:08

that's a different part of Sarasota downtown is about 15 minutes away from university town center. Going back to the fact that every different sub section of Sarasota offers different things. 

Steve Martin Smith  23:17

Right. Okay, so now I think we should talk about what I'm obviously the expert on in this podcast here. And that's the Venice, Nokomis area, okay. And so when I came down here in 1983, and actually lived in Nokomis for nine months, and got two part time jobs, and live the beach boy lifestyle for a while, that's when I fell in love with this area. And I always wanted to come back. And so to be here, now after, you know, while living here all these years, but then visiting. Before that, I feel like I really, really know this area. And I was talking to a customer yesterday, who had come down here and she was talking with an agent from St. Pete. At first she thought she might move to that area. And then she decided to look down here and she fell in love with Wellen Park,

Nicole Smith  24:11

which is a world away from anything in St. Pete.

Steve Martin Smith  24:13

Yes, yes. Yes, it is. That's that is pretty south Sarasota County. And

Nicole Smith  24:19

not just location wise, lifestyle wise, completely different. 

Steve Martin Smith  24:22

You know, we're having this conversation, and, you know, she told me that she had been working with this agent and St. Pete who said that, you know, she could sell on here, she has sold on here. I pull up her numbers and saw that she has sold a couple things down here. So you know, she was being legit. But she said talking to you, Steve. I can tell you know, every single thing that I want and where to get it. You understand it? You know, it's like we're we're sitting in the neighborhood and you're saying okay, this is here and this is here and this is there. And that's why I always pull you in when people are talking to me about parts of Sarasota that I don't know.

Nicole Smith  24:58

Yeah. I'm passionate about Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch area. That's my thing, but Venice I don't know anything really except what the majority of people know. You it's like you eat sleep and breathe Venice, like your Mr. Venice.

Steve Martin Smith  25:13

People have called me Mr. Venice before. Yeah. But when I, when I moved here, it's like, I'm just never leaving. They can take me out in a body bag. I'm good. I don't need to go anywhere else. And you know that's the type of passion that I definitely see in you about Sarasota.

Nicole Smith  25:30

Oh yeah. And I haven't only lived in Sarasota. You know, like you said, I came from Detroit, right when I was 10 years old. And since then I've also lived in St. Petersburg. I've lived in Tampa. I've lived in Jacksonville, and I've lived in Atlanta. I've lived in Fort Myers. I've lived in what Lehigh Acres, which that's nothing to talk about. That has a short time. Yeah, I have lived in Orlando. I've lived in so many different parts, oh and Fort Lauderdale. I mean, I basically lived all over the state, but I'm obviously just so passionate about this area. That I'm raising my family here.

Steve Martin Smith  26:04

At least I'm moving to a place that you love. Right?

Nicole Smith  26:07

You did. Yes. You ended up moving me to a place that I really am passionate about. There's not much to not love about Sarasota. It has everything someone could want.

Singing  26:17

Real Estate Agent Man, Real Estate Agent Man, Write down his cell phone number and do not forget his name.  (941) 894-9800  Steve Martin Smith dot com

Steve Martin Smith  26:38

Steve Martin Smith is a licensed Florida REALTOR with Remax Platinum Realty and Steve Martin Homes Group.