The Open House – A Buyer’s Guide

Open houses are always an easy way to check out multiple homes in a community that you’re interested in or to get an idea of what you like and dislike in the beginning stages of your search. If you do find a home that you are interested in by visiting an open house, there are some red flags to keep an eye out for. Some of these are worth putting some serious thought into as they can be costly updates down the road should that open house gem become your home.

We understand that no home is likely to be perfect – even new construction – but some “fixes” can be more of a headache (and more costly) than others. For example, hard to swallow paint colors may be hard to look past, but are a quick and low budget change. It’s the underlying issues to keep an eye out for and here’s a quick guide to help you out:

Check out the condition of the roof.

Looking beyond the features of the home that may make it dreamy like a chef’s kitchen or oversize walk in closets is hugely important. While taking your tour, be sure to visually inspect the roof to see if it appears to be sagging or is in disrepair. The typical life span of a roof is up to about 20 years, but the average cost to replace one can run as high as $25,000 or more. The roof is traditionally included in the home inspection you would have done in your due process, but if there is immediate evidence of damage, it may not be worth the trouble to even get to the point of a home inspection.

Are there issues with the home’s foundation?

It’s not hard to understand why the foundation of a home is so important. It is quite literally what the home is resting and built on. While walking through the home, be sure to pay attention to any sloping in the floors as you tour and look for any wide cracks on the exterior.

Be on the lookout for noticeable water damage.

While water damage may not always be evident, there are some warning signs to be aware of and keep your eyes open for while at an open house. Patched or discolored areas in the ceiling are an obvious sign of water damage, but you can also use your sense of smell. A musty odor can sometimes also be a sign of a previous leak.

Is the wiring outdated?

Depending on the age of the home you are visiting, you may want to pay attention to things like the lighting switches and knobs. An older wiring system may still be functional, but could cause problems for you down the road that is somewhat intrusive to fix. If you’re seeing lighting features that seem a little antiquated to you, it can’t hurt to ask the seller or the person overseeing the open house about the age of the wiring in the home and if it has ever been upgraded.

The windows tell a story.

While original windows in an older home can have a charming look, they can also mean higher heating and cooling costs. There is a benefit to the energy savings of new windows and something to consider is the cost of having to replace all of the windows in a home.

Some additional questions you house be asking if you’re seriously considering taking next steps are things like: whether insurance claims have been made on the house and why, what’s the state of the sewer system, what is the state of the seawall/dock if applicable. With so many factors to keep in mind, it is always a smart decision to work with a Realtor who can help you navigate these important steps. TEAM BUKY has a combined 80 years of experience in the Sarasota and Bradenton real estate market and is ready to help you find the home of your dreams. Give us a call today to streamline the process and get the exceptional service you deserve!




The Art of Brunch

When you think of brunch, do you think of sweet and savory Sunday mornings breezing into early afternoons in your living room? The smell of fresh coffee? Mimosas and Bloody Marys? Eggs Benedict and French toast? What about family and friends gathered around your kitchen as you grill the final strips of bacon? Brunch is not just a meal; it’s a national pastime enjoyed in our dining rooms, verandas and kitchens.

No one has more of an appreciation for the morning-meets-afternoon food ritual than Sarabeth Levine, the reigning “queen of brunch.” After all, the James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef has an entire book devoted to the topic: “Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch, and Baking”. Her eponymous New York City restaurant has been a wildly popular weekend brunch spot for over 35 years, along with her four other Manhattan restaurants and Florida and Japan outposts.

We recently asked the acclaimed chef and restaurateur to share her secrets for mastering the art of the brunch. Refreshingly candid, Levine covers a lot of territory in our hour-long conversation — including how to make her magically fluffy scrambled eggs, how to put a sophisticated twist on standards like pancakes and what kind of brunch she would make for her late mom on Mother’s Day.

Previews Inside Out Why do you love brunch so much?

Sarabeth Levine When I was a kid, the weekend breakfast was a big event. I was one of five kids. My mother would make us French toast or hot cereal. She was not the best cook – but she was a good cook. When she came home from work, we’d have breakfast for dinner too. So, I always thought of breakfast as a time of being together as a family. It was also the first meal of the day and our first moments of the day together. Breakfast has always held special meaning for me. Even to this day, the morning is my time.

Previews Inside Out What are some easy ways to elevate the concept of breakfast or brunch at home?

Sarabeth Levine  I’m a big believer in getting the basics down first. Chefs typically don’t think like I do. They are much more free-spirited. I’m a baker, and I’m incredibly precise. I can only be free-spirited once I’ve mastered the recipe. My motto is, play by the rules first, then play. Once you’re comfortable with a dish, have fun! Take the Basic Pancake Recipe in my book, for example, and throw some popcorn and blueberries on top. 

Previews Inside Out Is it true that “the only thing better than brunch at one of Sarabeth’s restaurants is brunch in her home”? What does a brunch at your house typically look like?

Sarabeth Levine Yes! [Laughing] It can be unnerving, though, especially when all of the grandchildren are together. It usually involves my playing the role of a short order cook, since everyone has different tastes and times they get up in the morning. I usually give the early risers fruit snacks to tide them over until the last person gets up, then I will usually make pancakes and a side of eggs all at the same time.

When I have guests over for brunch, I love doing Gravlox. It’s the silkiest cured salmon you’ve ever eaten. I almost always have Eggs Benedict on my table. I have a poacher that does 16 eggs side by side. I make the English muffins the night before. I might put some juices on the table, or greet guests with a Crunchy No-Booze Bloody Mary, which is in my book. But how much more do you really need to put out on the table? I like to keep my brunches simple.

I don’t like to make a lot of different dishes. I make one dish as a focal point and some little side dishes. When it’s 11 in the morning, it can be heavy to mix a lot of different foods together. To me, less is more.

Previews Inside Out Speaking of less is more, do you have a twist on your famous Eggs Benedict?

Sarabeth Levine I am a purist when it comes to hollandaise sauce. But you can do almost anything with the rest of it. Add a crab cake, or put your poached egg on top of a burger or pork slider. You can put the egg on top of anything.

Previews Inside Out Which one of your recipes at your restaurant is fairly easy to adapt at home?

Sarabeth Levine There are quite a few recipes from the restaurant that are in the book, everything from French toast to Eggs Benedict.

Previews Inside Out Thinking beyond the mimosa… do you have a favorite cocktail that’s appropriate to drink before noon? 

Sarabeth Levine Try the Four Flowers Mimosa. It’s a signature drink…

For the full story and for Sarabeth’s famous Eggs Benedict and Four Flowers Mimosa recipes, visit

Photos courtesy of Quentin Bacon



577 S Spoonbill Drive, Bird Key, Sarasota


Your dream home awaits on highly sought after Bird Key, known as “the jewel of Sarasota Bay”.  This beautiful corner lot garden home has undergone a complete renovation, leaving no corner unperfected. Meticulous interior and exterior updates will immediately impress you throughout this three-bedroom, three-bath pool home. A stunning foyer entry leads to the open living/dining room with cathedral 14′ ceilings and oak wood flooring. The large gourmet kitchen boasts Jenn Air Integrated stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, an oversized island, wine fridge and Quartz counter tops.

The open and flowing floor plan in this home offers flexibility for personal use and is perfect for entertaining. Outside, the new brick-pavered deck and resurfaced swimming pool  with spa were made for the ultimate family cookouts. The lushly landscaped yard also has a privacy fence, making this home feel even more like a quiet little oasis on Bird Key.

Located in the heart of the community, Bird Key Yacht Club offers boating, dining, tennis and ample social activities. with just a two-minute drive or a quick bike ride to the beach or to downtown, you can’t go wrong with a perfect home like this on an island in the middle of paradise!

This NEW listing won’t last long, so check out the full property details here and contact TEAM BUKY to set up your private tour today.

34236 (Sarasota) May Market Update

Being experts in our local real estate market gives us the opportunity to educate clients and friends about current market conditions and the competition. This information is key to positioning your home at a price that makes it sell quickly, or on the flip side, making a smart purchase decision. Our responsibility is to keep you updated on your community, changing market conditions and emerging trends. We share monthly Market Watch videos for different areas of Sarasota and Bradenton with our clients as a valuable resource for this type of information. In each collection of data for the month, we will share how long different property types are staying on the market, how much inventory is currently available and any sales trends that have emerged recently. This data is also compared on a month to month and year over year basis to paint a big picture of where the market is headed.

This month, one point that we’ll cover is the increase of luxury properties on the market in the 34236 area, covering Lido Key, Downtown Sarasota and the Laurel Park is the increase in luxury properties on the market by 16% year over year. Take a look at this Market Watch update covering luxury properties sin the 34236 area and contact us with any questions. We would love the opportunity to talk with you about your home or what these market updates mean to you as a potential buyer. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.


Longboat Key – May Market Update

Real estate, especially in our beautiful Sunshine State is all about location, location, location. So, we’re giving you the local facts you need to make informed decisions when it comes to Longboat Key real estate.

This monthly video market update details sales trends, inventory details, days on market and emerging trends in the area. In watching the video, you’ll find that homes are moving much faster than compared to this time last year, with an average number of 88 days on the market – a vast 45% fewer number of days than this time last year. You’ll also find that number if units sold has increased by 60% month over month and 31% year over year. As experts in the local real estate market, we know how important it is to be aware of what is happening with inventory and pricing and we are here to help you navigate your options. What do all of these numbers mean for you? Now is the time to SELL on Longboat Key if it’s been something you’ve been considering.

Whether you are looking for your dream home, or considering putting your home on the market, Team Buky has you covered. Contact us today for a confidential meeting. We look forward to hearing from you!

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 2.42.03 PM

Living on Lido Key, Sarasota

Perfectly located just a short drive from downtown Sarasota and the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, the barrier island of Lido Key offers plenty to keep residents busy, yet still feels like an island getaway.

The beaches along this stretch of the Gulf of Mexico are some of Sarasota’s most interesting and varied locations. Lido Key can be what you make of it – a quiet place to enjoy your surroundings with deep-sea fishing, mangrove kayaking, dolphin watching, sailing and sunset cruises. Mote Marine Aquarium is located right on the island and aside from offering visitors everything to see from sea urchins to sharks, it’s also known for its research programs and initiatives.

On the busier end of the spectrum, there are ample opportunities to get out and socialize. Renowned St. Armand’s Circle is located in the center of the island and boasts chic boutiques, fine dining, eclectic galleries and more. There are art shows, car shows and other events that take place on the Circle through the year and the Sarasota Yacht Club is located at one tip of the island for those who enjoy social events and clubs.

Love the beach lifestyle, but can’t decide if a single family home or a condominium is more your speed? Not a problem! Lido Key boasts some of the most impressive single family homes in the area, designed by well-recognized architects such as Jonathan Parks, Guy Peterson and Clifford Scholz. It also has a wide range of condominium options based on your needs – anything from a single bedroom low key beachfront unit to a residence at a Ritz Carlton managed luxury condominium can be yours. Waterfront properties on Lido have access to frontage on Pansy Bayou, Sarasota Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, New Pass, or canals that provide direct deep-water boating access to the Gulf of Mexico or Sarasota Bay.

Why not live where the seafood is as fresh as can be and the sunsets are unbeatable? Check out our website today to get started on your Lido Key real estate search and contact us for more information.




Market Snapshot – ANNA MARIA

Anna Maria Island is one of Florida’s best-kept and most enjoyable secrets. Here – you’ll find some of the freshest seafood around, local fine dining, a free trolley around the island, relaxing beaches, live music at venues fishing pier and more.  Whether your speed is a rustic old Florida bungalow, or a million dollar beachfront oasis, you can find it here on Anna Maria Island. Just be sure to bring your flip flops!

The total number of available Anna Maria listings has increased year over year as of April 30, with 74 available listings now as compared to 52 in 2015. The number of new listings in April 2016 was 11, down -21.4% from 14 last month and equal to 11 in April of last year.

April property sales were 10, up from 8 in April of 2015 and 11.1% higher than the 9 sales last month. April 2016 sales were at their highest level compared to April of 2015 and 2014. April YTD sales of 26 are running 18.2% ahead of last year’s year-to-date sales of 22.

Below is quick look at the current listings and sales over the previous 3 months on Anna Maria (34216). As we approach summer, sales in our beautiful area remain strong, so now is still a perfect time to sell. If you are considering putting your home on the market, contact TEAM BUKY today for a private consultation and market analysis.

The property information provided is derived from the Multiple Listing Service and may include approximations. Although it is believed to be accurate, it is not warranted and should not be relied upon without personal verification. If your property is currently listed, this is not a solicitation to list your residence. Coldwell Banker is operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC.