Sarasota Real Estate

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Rich in leisure activities and cultural attractions and bathed in Gulf breezes, Sarasota has been ranked as one of the country's top eight places to retire and, more pointedly, as America's "best small city" (in the words of Money Magazine. This is only fair. It's a superb place to live, whether in retirement or to raise a family. A city with something for everyone, Sarasota offers a rich history, pristine white sandy beaches, international cuisine, museums and galleries, and a renowned variety of outdoor activities and water sports.

Sarasota landmarks include historic Spanish Point, a tiny (30-acre) peninsula overlooking the bay, and the site of Florida's best preserved Indian ruins. The home of Bertha Potter Palmer, widow of a Chicago magnate, is pleasurably overwhelming--from formal to sunken gardens, a waterfall made of seashells, live oaks, and gumbo-limgo trees. Also in Sarasota are the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, among the nation's top 10 such gardens.

With a well-educated and culturally rich population of more than 55,000, Sarasota sits on nearly 15 square miles in a county of the same name overlooking--due west--Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. An especially strong county school system includes 10 private primary and middle schools and the same number of high schools, in addition to the public system. The county has three hospitals and medical centers, is convenient to two international airports (Sarasota-Brandenton and St. Petersburg-Clearwater), and Interstate 75, which runs north to south along Florida's Gulf coast.

Finding a Home in Sarasota

A savvy local real estate agent should be first on your list as you begin your property search. Word of mouth is one good way to get started with that, but it's also fair enough that you're not obliged to stay with the first realtor you work with. What a realtor offers, of course, is an intimate knowledge of the area, expertise in the market, and up-to-the-minute data on available properties. This is easier to appreciate when you consider that the price range on as many as 550 homes will start off at near $200,000 and top out at $15 million.

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