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CONTENTS Volume 2 Issue 2

FEATURES PUBLISHER’S PAGE ................................................................... 12 WELCOME ............................................................................... 14 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................... 16 SUN COAST ............................................................................. 18 KEY ROYALE ANNA MARIA ISLAND/Engel & Volkers ............... 24 CULTURAL COAST ................................................................. 30 PARADISE COAST .................................................................. 44

DEPARTMENTS REAL ESTATE LAW by Laurel Kohl it takes a village to buy a home ................................................... 56 INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE by Carla Rayman canadians flocking to florida ......................................................... 60 CROSS BORDER ESTATE PLANNING by David Altro selling your u.s. vacation home .......................................................... 64

ADDY

R

THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE

2009 ADDY Award Winner

gobal glo

.com mag s e hom rida o l f . www


Our International SEO Strategy

FROM THE PUBLISHER

A tremendous amount of effort has gone into improving our internet visibility and broadening our global audience.

About the Publisher: Canadian-born Mike Mattina has a passion for the Florida Gulf Coast lifestyle. A successful entrepreneur, his personal search for a home in Florida exposed a great need for area information not easily attained, and has propelled his present desire to assure comprehensive relocation, vacation and real estate information is readily available to international buyers seeking the Florida lifestyle.

Florida Homes Magazine takes on a more aggressive and holistic approach to our SEO Strategy. Florida Homes Magazine sets long term and short term SEO goals that are both very focused on bringing in a high level of targeted readers to read our magazine and online content. We are very active on Twitter (http://twitter.floridahomesmag.com) and Facebook (http://facebook.floridahomesmag.com) and have grown our social presence to over 20 social media networking groups. Many companies are still using outdated strategies when it comes to search engine optimization, Florida Homes Magazine has embraced the changes and continues to keep the pulse on ever changing search algorithms. We fully utilize popular social networking platforms, blogging outlets, social bookmarking website and much more. This is one of the main contributing factors to why we dominate our market on the web, targeting the international home buyer to bring more highly relevant targeted traffic to our website and blog. More than 67% of our websites monthly traffic comes from outside of the USA, this includes Canada and across seas, and over 78 countries have stopped by and visited our site. Twentyseven percent of all homes sales are coming from Canada alone and in most cases paying cash for their properties, this also stands true for most foreign buyers. During this day and age, many people only optimize for Google. Although they own the largest percentage of search traffic out there, Yahoo and Bing are still used by millions and millions of people every single day. Therefore we have chosen not to ignore the smaller guys on the totem pole. In fact, even Yahoo has embraced us! We actually rank on the front page of Yahoo for such search terms as "Luxury Florida Homes" and over 50 other real estate related terms. There are now over 1 billion different websites on the web today. With our Alexa Traffic Ranking of 946,243 we are considered in the top 1% of all websites on the world wide web.

Florida Homes Magazine is the most socially active Florida real estate publication out there by far, utilizing social media networks with a world-wide following of thousands and thousands of prospective home buyers. We have integrated a commenting system into our blog that gives people the ability to leave a comment on our blog using their Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo or Open ID username. This also creates a threaded commenting stream where people can reply and respond to each other. Florida Homes Magazine stays on the cusp of new ways to connect and grow our networks. Florida Homes Magazine takes full advantage of WordPress's highly advanced pinging system so that within minutes of when we publish a new article, WordPress's pinging system "pings" over 150 different search engines including; Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Dogpile,Technorati, Feedster, Syndic8, Pingomatic, Feedburner, MSN and more. When these search engines are essentially "notified" that there is fresh content on our blog, their search engine spiders come to crawl and index our content so they can display us in their search results page, for this reason alone we have over 50 # 1 results on the front page of the Google Serp's (Search Engine Results Pages) and over 150 Top 5 rankings on the front page, we also show up on the front page of Google search results for over 250 real estate related terms, and we are finding the same success on Yahoo, Bing ,Ask and others! Our highly aggressive international SEO Strategy for FloridaHomesMag.com is proving to be an effective one. Florida’s International Buying Interest The 2009 National Association of REALTORSŽ International Buyers Profile states well over a third of REALTORSŽ in Florida indicated an increase in international clientele during 2009. The majority of international clients were from a relatively few number of countries. Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, India and China accounted for a large share of foreign real estate purchases. International buyers focused their attention on the Southern region of the US, which comprised 47.1 percent of foreign purchases. With favorable currency exchange rates and attractive pricing, our non US buyers have some of the best Florida home buying opportunities imaginable. As we continue to see positive signs in Southwest Florida real estate, we are grateful to our business partners and advertisers for their continued support of our effort to bring you the best of Southwest Florida Lifestyles.

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Volume 2 Issue 2

ATCHLEY

INTERNATIONAL REALTY

Alan Atchley Broker-Associate, GRI, TRC, e-PRO

R

9040 Town Center Parkway Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 Office 941-782-1202 Cell 941-720-1641 www.AtchleyRealty.com

beyondreal estate FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

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WELCOME

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Your Paradise Lifestyle Awaits

Welcome to the life and lifestyle of endless sunshine and swaying palms that is the allure of Florida's Southwest Coast. Where near perfect weather year-round, the romance of sun swept beaches and magnificent sunsets attract visitors and seasonal residents alike. Consistently ranked in the TOP destinations, as well as one of the best places to live work and play, this area offers first-class accommodations, nationally ranked beaches, a rich history and a glimpse into the majestic wildlife that makes this region of the country so special.

Allow us to guide you on your ultimate Southwest Florida excursion. Featuring the vibrence and nightlife of the SUN COAST (Tampa, St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Tarpon Springs) the rich history and performance mecca of the CULTURAL COAST (Sarasota/Bradenton, Punta Gorda, Venice and Boca Grande) and the world-class amenities, artfully co-existing with untamed wilderness of the PARADISE COAST (Naples, Cape Coral, Marco Island, Sanibel/Captiva, Fort Myers and the Florida Everglades).

Award-winning communities, top-ranked golf courses, endless waterways and the relaxed Florida lifestyle create a unique harmony and global appeal. Since the late 1800's, Southwest Florida has been a popular destination for those seeking a warm therapeutic climate, resort amenities and sophisticated recreation. Her earliest “snow-birds” were industrialists and aristocracy. Today, their vision of the ultimate paradisiacal lifestyle lives on in the array of resort hotels, museums, worldclass restaurants, recreational and professional sports, first-rate boating and fishing opportunities, world famous beaches and extraordinary cultural amenities.

Whatever your lifestyle, or passion, Florida's Southwest Coast will offer abundance at every turn. You can experience the ultimate thrill at amusement parks, or on an air boat ride through the wilderness of the Everglades; seek sanctuary on a remote and unspoiled island retreat, or spend countless hours wandering the tranquil tree-lined streets of the quaint downtown districts. Opera or Osprey, hip and trendy, to soulful seaside exploration…your options are as endless as the regions pristine waterways and days of sunshine.

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

Find your Perfect Piece of Paradise.


Going Coastal Home to some of the finest destinations in the world such as Naples, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Boca Grande and Sanibel Island, Florida's Southwest coast is most often noted for its majestic barrier islands and gorgeous gulf beaches, which lure millions to the local shorelines annually. Named for the Spanish feast of flowers, Florida's lush, exotic foliage flourishes throughout this Southwest region, filling the surrounding scenery with brilliant colors and intoxicating scents. Glistening waterways wrap around the region's miles of coastline providing peaceful passageways for dolphins, manatee and other aquatic life. Equally famous for historic districts, intriguing architecture and landmarks, the cultural attraction of Naples, Sarasota and Tampa include theatre, seasonal ballet, the symphony, and countless distinctive art galleries, along with a large population of local artisans. While festivals year-round such as the Gasparilla Festival in Tampa, the Sarasota Blues Festival and the Taste of the Islands in Sanibel and Captiva, awaken your spirit, foster your imagination and feed your soul. Nature enthusiasts are enamored with the plethora of natural treasures of the region. Camping, canoeing, hiking, the Vince Rookery, Corkscrew Swamp, and, of course, the famous Florida Everglades, with intriguing airboat excursions, provide outdoor educational and recreational adventures for all ages. The region's temperate climate, ample sunshine and southern breezes create the perfect backdrop for any type of outdoor recreation. Each area boasts a variety of public and private golf courses, many associated with gated communities and resort-style amenities. From the tranquil elegance of Lansbrook and the exclusive Cypress Run (Tarpon Springs) to The Founders Club (Sarasota) and the distinguished Olde Cypress Golf Community (Naples), discriminating homeowners and discerning golfers enjoy 12 months of glorious tee times, unhurried play and award-winning greens.

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SUN COAST

tampa

clearwater st. petersburg

bradenton sarasota CULTURAL venice COAST punta gorda boca grande cape coral ft. myers PARADISE COAST naples marco island


SUN COAST The Tampa Bay area begins our journey of the coastal experience. A cosmopolitan flair, with incredible natural resources, the Tampa area offers an array of attractions, professional sports, a rich history, cool bay breezes and miles of open waterway. The Sun Coast is comprised of various barrier islands and 35-miles of white-sand beaches, encompassed by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater offer a tropical setting and hold year-round appeal for the angler, golfer, the arts and water sport enthusiasts. Home to award-winning beaches, including Caladesi Beach, America's number one beach in 2008, you're close to everything, yet you'll feel as though you're miles away from anywhere. In addition to award-winning beaches, the area offers attractions, recreation and aquatic educational opportunities. Visit a marine aquarium, experience a dolphin encounter, discover unique shops and boutiques, or sample the coastal cuisine. From elegant dining and moonlight dinner cruises, to completely casual barefoot beach relaxation, there's a perfect experience awaiting you on Florida's Sun Coast.

CULTURAL COAST A European style city, Sarasota is home to an abundance of outdoor recreation, cultural amenities beyond compare, awardwinning beaches, outstanding cuisine and world-renowned shopping. The Cultural Coast includes Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice accompanied by surrounding communities. Beyond the allure of the over 35-miles of stunning beaches, you'll find a rich history, magnificent architecture, award-winning communities, miles of boating water and lush golf courses. Home to a world-class ballet company, numerous playhouses, the Florida West Coast and the Venice Symphonies, along with a plethora of art galleries, the region plays host to festivals, visiting artists and exciting exhibits year-round. Each area of the region reflects a unique personality. From Boca Grand's tropical island ambiance, waterfront dining and the feel of “Old Florida,” to Bradenton and Venice, with their friendly, small-town allure, historic ambiance and tranquil pace. Loose your self on sun swept beaches, aboard your boat, in a museum, or on the green. Take a dinner cruise, bike or hike the grounds of one of the area's nearby State Parks. There is something for everyone on Florida's Cultural Coast.

PARADISE COAST Nestled between the calm azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the subtropical wilderness of the Florida Everglades, Naples and surrounding communities boast miles of unspoiled beaches, incredible wild life, upscale amenities, award-winning neighborhoods, over 130 highly acclaimed golf courses, culinary delights, cultural events, art exhibits and exquisite sunsets. Snorkel, stroll, shop or shell. Tantalizing island fare and local bounty, or international cuisines, an abundance of dining options are available in the region. Naples, Marco Island & the Florida Everglades comprise The Paradise Coast. Neighboring communities include Fort Myers, known as “The City of Palms” and Fort Myers' beaches, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, with their laid-back island culture. Here you'll discover a gentle pace and tropical ambiance. Home of the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, the unsurpassed natural beauty of this region and strong nature conservancy focus captivates the outdoor and wild life enthusiasts. From upscale to economical, whether you prefer fishing, shelling, tennis, nature hikes or swamp buggy excursions…this quintessential Florida community welcomes you.


SUN COAST

SUN COAST

TAMPA, ST. PETERSBURG, CLEARWATER, LARGO, MADEIRA BEACH, TREASURE ISLAND, TARPON SPRINGS, PALM HARBOR

The Sun Coast, also recognized at the “Nightlife Capital of Southwest Florida” is also known as a boating and fishing paradise. Home to three award winning beaches, this region is geographically defined by the Tampa Bay area and numerous barrier Islands. For families, entrepreneurs, artists, nature enthusiasts, retirees, as well as beach goers and boaters, longing for the endless sunshine and enviable lifestyle of Florida's Southwest Gulf Coast, the Sun Coast is beyond compare. The Sun Coast includes the communities of Tarpon Springs to the north, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, and St. Petersburg, recently regarded among America's Top Livable Cities.

The Tampa Bay area, rich with natural resources, unmatched beaches, endless waterways and marvelous attractions makes this region of Florida's Southwest Gulf Coast one of the top destinations for visitors, as well as those looking to relocate to the Sunshine State. Boasting the largest performing arts center in the southeast, the largest science museum in the south, 2008's number one beach in America, tens-of-thousands of acres of natural preserve, the number one zoo in the country for children, along with a vibrant business climate, the life and the lifestyle are unsurpassed on Florida's Sun Coast. Experience award-winning beaches and gorgeous waterways, where you can lounge, fish, swim, sail or shell. Take a

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magnificent moonlit dinner cruise, visit the Henry B. Plant Museum, with its fine furnishing and incredible architectural presence, schedule a tee time on one of the Tampa Bay area's gorgeous golf courses, or watch some of the world's best performers at the Tampa Bay Arts Center, one of the largest performing art centers in North America. The Sun Coast's natural bounty is expansive in their nature parks and preserves. The regions commitment to the preservation of natural resources and dedication to protecting vulnerable marine and avian life is seen in the area's vast wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitative, rescue and research aquariums.

Wild Adventures…choose your venue. Sensational roller coasters at Bush Gardens and the interactive wildlife expositions at the Florida Aquarium, or visit the Lowry Park Zoo offering close encounters with over 2,000 animals housed in natural habitats. Invigorating professional sporting events, big game fishing, or a night on the town at one of Tampa's trendy hotspots, whatever your skill or thrill, the Sun Coast promises to engage your senses and capture your heart. Tampa's Latin Quarter, has a reputation of “party central” in Tampa Bay. One of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida, Ybor (pronounced Eebor) City's quaint streets, trendy galleries, live music and exceptional cuisine


draw thousands to its energetic atmosphere and old-world charm. This particular destination has also given rise to Tampa's recognition as “the Nightlife Capital of Florida's West Coast” and offers an exotic blend of scents, sights, sounds and flavors. A tropical climate of quiet and calm draw visitors and residents to the prominent destination of Clearwater/St. Petersburg. Award-winning beaches, a rich history, a thriving economic base, numerous attractions, along with a host of special and sporting events offer a wide variety of activities in this quiet coastal community.

In addition to marvelous beaches and amazing Gulf of Mexico sunsets, you'll find endless boating opportunities, with yachts, sightseeing boats, dinner cruises and even a pirate ship at the Clearwater Marina. Be amazed by the work with rescued and vulnerable sealife at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, or experience St. Petersburg's infamous Sunken Gardens.

Location Florida's west coast , Hillsborough County, just north of Sarasota, 25 miles in from the Gulf of Mexico. Geography Hillsborough County 1,050 square miles of land area Temperature 82° F average high temperature 61° F average low temperature 73.1° F annual average temperature Annual Precipitation 44.8 inches Average Annual Sunshine 346 days Population 336,823 residents Airport Tampa International Airport is located just five miles west of downtown Tampa on the east shore of Tampa Bay General Information: 813870-8700. St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is located on State Route 686, Roosevelt Blvd. 4 miles north of St. Petersburg.

Boasting the Henry B. Plant Museum, a Children's Museum, Museum of Fine Art and a History Museum, along with various cultural venues including St. Pete's Florida Craftsmen Gallery and Mahaffey Theatre complex, the cultural amenities of this community are impressive. Live theatre and performances are featured at Ruth Eckerd Hall and The Palladium Theatre, home of the St. Petersburg Ballet Company. Tarpon Springs is home of the world-famous Sponge Docks, graceful mansions and a Mediterranean heritage peacefully coexisting with casino cruises, championship golf and deep sea charters. The historic downtown features a vibrant city center of galleries, restaurants, antiques and specialty shops.

SUN COAST

Clearwater Beach is consistently ranked as of the best Florida Beaches and one of the most popular with families. Secluded Caladesi Island holds the title as “America's Number One Beach” in 2008. A largely undeveloped barrier island, Caladesi is only accessible by boat. This little piece of heaven offers a 3mile nature trail, dockage for your boat and ferry access to the nearby Honeymoon Island.

Tampa, along with its neighboring communities of Clearwater and St. Petersburg, are located midway down Florida's west coast. Surrounded by miles of waterway, the region offers world-wide appeal as a resort destination, as well as a comfortable place to live.

Sea Port Port of Tampa 1101 Channelside Dr., Tampa, FL 33602 (800) 741-2297 Cost of Living Index 98 (U.S. average is 100) Median Resident Age 41.24 Years

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DON’T MISS

SUN COAST

THERE’S A SUNNY SIDE TO THIS AREA OF FLORIDA’S WEST COAST THAT MAKES IT A HOT SPOT AMONG THE WORLD’S DESTINATIONS. FUN ‘N SUN LOVERS COME FROM AROUND THE GLOBE TO THE BEACHES OF ST. PETERSBURG AND CLEARWATER EARNING THIS REGION THE TITLE OF FLORIDA’S “SUN COAST”. Savor the Flavors After a day at the beach, the museums, on the course, or at any of the host of attractions throughout the Sun Coast, escape to a tropical paradise for a marvelous meal at Fish Tail Willy's, or tantalize your senses with the meticulously chosen menu at Jorge's Seafood Grille. Satisfy the most discriminating taste with exquisite meals at Savant Fine Dining, or experience old-school cuisine and professional service, dinner and dancing at the Wine Cellar in Redington Beach. Voted one of the “20 Best New Restaurants” in Florida, by Florida Trend Magazine, Middle Grounds Grill, at Treasure Island, features the freshest in local fare, while Britts Laguna Grill serves up sunsets almost daily in the coolest tropical paradise location on Clearwater Beach. For the epitome in European allure, try St. Pete's Cafe Alma, celebrating community, art and intellect with live entertainment. Notable Nightlife The Tampa Bay area sizzles with chic nightlife locations and tropical retreats. Bay Area bands crank out jazz, blues, rock, country and salsa at clubs and restaurants throughout the region, The “Soul of St. Petersburg,” BayWalk is an open-air entertainment complex sure to please in the heart of downtown. Let loose at Y'bor City's Green Iguana, or try a famous “martooni” at the Chic-a-Boom Room in Dunedin, serving as a haven for those looking to relax and enjoy mingling. New York New York, in Clearwater, serves up an entertaining ambiance and great local bands. A “must visit” is the highly popular Shephard's Tiki Bar, right on Clearwater Beach. This raucous establishment is a favorite of fun-loving souls. Come by boat, or by car, but don't miss it. Water Wonders With miles of endless shimmering waterways, lakes, rivers and secret hidden backwater, you can fish to your heart's desire. Whether you prefer a pier, or the deck of a deep sea charter, the Sun Coast is sure to thrill you. Hubbard Marina at John's Pass, in Madeira Beach Florida is West Florida's Leader in Deep Sea Fishing for 40 years, offering all types of water excursions, including sightseeing tours. While you're there, don't miss the Pirates Cove Bar. Exhilarating lunch or dinner cruises are sure to please in Tampa and St. Pete. All aboard for a Dixieland lunch, or a glamorous dinner cruise with

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stunning water views. Watch the dolphins cavort from the Dolphin Encounter® Cruises and view these graceful marine mammals along with the gorgeous shoreline of Caladesi Island. Native Adventure An unsurpassed abundance of parks, nature preserves, estuaries and exhibits will have you on a first name basis with many of the true Florida Natives. Few destinations offer the opportunity to visit sanctuaries specifically focused on rescue and rehab of Florida's vulnerable wildlife. Located in Indian Shores, The SunCoast Seabird Sanctuary is dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of injured avian life, with an on-site hospital. The Lowry Zoo, the Florida Aquarium and the Tarpon Springs Aquarium offer experiences with marine and wildlife most will never forget. Or, strike out on your own adventure at one of the many preserves. Brooker Creek Preserve's 8,500acres are sanctuary to over 50 reptiles, 40 mammals, 160 bird species and 20 amphibians, of which many are rare or listed as protected. Shell Key Preserve is a 1,755-acre preserve, whose unique habitat provides a sanctuary for vulnerable and protected wildlife species. Moccasin Lake Nature Park, a 51acre preserve, or Boyd Hill Nature Park located on Lake Maggiore, a 245-acre preserve, will bring you up-close to many of the endangered plants and rare wildlife of the Tampa Bay area. Botanical Bounty Not only is the region rich in botanical beauty, but also features the added benefit of a rich history and culture. The signature destination of St. Petersburg's Sunken Gardens, first opening in


1935, offers rare foliage, along with a magnificent butterfly garden. The beautiful Palm Arboretum sits on two-acres of bounty offering hundreds of botanical specimens. Florida Botanical Gardens features 90-acres of protected wetlands and endangered scrubland, along with an abundance of spectacular color throughout the year, and a very special Children's trail. A member of the National Register Of Historic Places, Weedon Island Preserve, situated on Old Tampa Bay, was once home to at least four prehistoric cultures who thrived on the area's natural abundance. The Cultural and National Historic Center features a creative blend of environmental education infused with the Weedon Native American Indian culture.

Creative Expressions An exciting array of annual festivals, street performers and events can be found year-round on the Sun Coast. Live theatrical, orchestra and ballet performances are featured at Ruth Eckerd Hall, The Mahaffey Theatre and The Palladium Theatre, home of the St. Petersburg Ballet Company. St. Petersburg regularly tops the nation among art destinations. The Museum of Fine Arts, along with the Salvador Dali Museum offers examples of paintings, glass, decorative objects, photography, and antiques. The Gasparilla Festival of Arts attracts hundreds of artisans and art enthusiasts to the exhibits of photography and jewelers, sculptors and painters.

Thrills and Spills With exhilarating attractions like Busch Gardens' Gwazi, a double wooden coaster, boasting the title of the Southeast's largest, and The Serengeti Plain, featuring hundreds of exotic African animals, to professional baseball, professional football and hockey, you're never far from the action on the Sun Coast. Sunscreen Required Known for award-winning beaches, this region offers a plethora of pristine shore line. Home to America's number one beach in 2008, Caladesi Island State Park, which is dog friendly as well as family friendly, Clearwater offers a cornucopia of top-rated sandy destinations including the Number one beach in 2005, Fort De Soto Park. For a high energy beach excursion try Clearwater Beach, with hotels, beachwear boutiques, a marina and the infamous Pier 60. Relaxing on the beach, with no highrises in sight, Pass-A-Grill on the lower end of St. Petersburg Beach offers a tranquil respite, or for those seeking a more “secluded” approach try Shell Key Preserve, no structures, just palms, dunes, white sandy beaches and resident wildlife. Ambient Accommodations From modest to magnificent, the accommodations on the Sun Coast are as unique as the communities themselves. Five-star resorts, boutique hotels, or bed and breakfasts offer a restful environment to soothe the senses. One of the most famous, situated on a 22-acre bluff overlooking Clearwater Bay, the Belleview Biltmore, built in 1897, is a private, waterside, fullservice resort offering golf, tennis, spa and beach club. Discover distinctive personal service and heartwarming ambience at the Quorum Westshore Tampa, or loose yourself at the highly acclaimed Innis Brook Resort, Palm Harbor, a 900-acre impeccable resort offering top ranked golf courses, tennis, a host of restaurants, lakes and trails. Don't miss Ybor City's beautifully restored boutique hotel, The Vincente de Ybor Historic Inn, built in 1895, and the true centerpiece of Ybor City's historic district.

SUN COAST

Niche Excursions Lively, quaint, fragrant and scenic effectively describe the many hidden treasures of the Sun Coast. Tampa's Hyde Park Village provides a perfect backdrop with its tree-lined streets, brick courtyards and fountains. You'll find an array of dining, shopping and entertainment options from The Channel Side Bay Plaza to Ybor City's historic Seventh Avenue, named as one of 2008's “Nation's Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association. Discover an eclectic urban village in the heart of St. Petersburg at the Grand Central District, or immerse yourself in the ambiance and a rich history at The Florida Orange Groves Winery. John's Pass Village offers the feel of a unique fishing village, with shopping, dining and entertainment for the whole family. Scenic boardwalks, great restaurants, specialty wine making, and even a streetcar will transport you to the enchanted sites, sounds, aroma and rich culture of the region.

Clearwater annually hosts their four-day Jazz event featuring street performers, crafts and music. In Largo, visit the Gulf Coast Museum of Art, featuring the work of Florida artisans, or Heritage Village where Florida History comes to life. Known for its small intimate atmosphere, don't miss the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center hosting Broadway musicals, plays and concerts year-round. Don't miss the Henry B. Plant Museum, housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, an architectural majesty and a designated National Historic Landmark.

Days on the Green There are plentiful manicured greens in this Golfer's Paradise, with over 300 semi-private and public golf courses, along with an average of 346 days of sunshine. Host to major golfing events, you'll find challenging courses readily available, along with golf academies to assist you sharpen your skills. TPC Tampa Bay has recently received the number 18 ranking of the top 50 public facilities in the country, by Golf World Magazine in their annual 'Reader's Choice: Best Places To Play' edition.

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SUN COAST

HAPPENINGS Year-round outdoor festivals, with tantalizing fare and spectacular sounds can be explored on the Sun Coast. Indoors, the live performances command audiences at the Mahffey Theatre January through May, and the Tampa Bay Performing Art Center almost year-round. Spectacular shows and concerts at the St. Petersburg Times Forum offer more than 150 events, annually, including ice shows, the circus and indoor sports. Enjoy year-round walking tours of the Downtown St. Petersburg Historic District, or party in Palm Harbor during their First Friday's events, when the historic district transforms into a large block party, with live entertainment and art exhibits.

Fair taking place in Tampa's trendy downtown area with courtyards and tree-lined streets. Spectacular surroundings augmented by amazing sculpture, photography and one-of-akind jewelry. May brings the Annual Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races in Garrison Channel featuring team paddling in a fiercely competitive fashion.

In January, convene with colorfully costumed Pirates during the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in downtown Tampa, or explore over 100 area artisans at the Dunedin Fine Art Festival.

Things begin to crank up come October with the NSRA Southeast Street Rod Nationals where vintage auto collectors from around the globe gather at the Tampa Florida State Fairgrounds. This show features over 1,400 pre-1949 vehicles in the “largest street rod show in the Southeast.” In the Lively Latin District “Guavaween” the annual celebration in Ybor City attracts thousands from around the world to the spirited parade and magnificent music venues.

February brings one of Tampa's signature annual events celebrating the Latin Heritage of Ybor City during the Sant'Yago Knight Parade and Family Festival. Experience the best of Seafood and Blues at the Annual Sea Blues Festival in Clearwater's Coachman Park, or “Mardi Gras on Main Street” in Downtown Dunedin. March plays host to the annual Gasparilla Festival of Arts where hundreds of sculptors, photographers and various artisans, from around the globe, display their work in downtown Tampa. Just in time for the onset of April, St. Petersburg gears up to host it's Annual Folk Fair featuring ethnic villages, and authentic costume, with demonstrations of time-honored craftsmanship and ethnic cuisine. In April and May the three-week Clearwater Fun N' Sun Festival plays host to over 40 events, with musical venues ranging from classical and jazz to that cool Latin beat. This is also the month for the highly anticipated Hyde Park Village Art

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In June and throughout the summer months, spend a night under the stars with some of nature's most amazing animals at the Lowry Park Zoo's Summer Safari Nights.

Sample the freshest seafood fare in November, with vendors and restaurants treating visitors to their famous seafood specialties during the Ruskin Seafood and Arts Festival, or if you're so inclined, sample some of the finest Cigars in the world at the Ybor City's Annual Cigar Heritage Festival. This festival brings amazing aromas, great food, live music, drinks and fun for the whole family. A host of parades, both on and off the water, holiday concerts and seasonal performances are featured, annually, during the holidays on the Sun Coast. Experience the charm of the 19th Century holiday at the Tampa Bay Hotel during the Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum, chosen one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events in December.


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listen very carefully and you might hear . . .

a five star o p portunity is whisperin g

Nestled along the pristine coastline of Longboat Key on Florida's West Coast, Bleu Claire brings a new level of exclusivity to beachfront condominium living, with only 11 to be built estate residences from 4,000 square feet. Inspired by the villas of the French Riviera, the community’s understated elegance reflects the beauty of its natural surroundings and the enchanting views of the Gulf of Mexico while offering environmentally green construction and surprising amenities.. From the $3 millions USD. Penthouses from the $5 millions USD. Call 941.744.7441 or visit www.BleuClaire.com.

4765

GULF

OF

MEXICO

DRIVE

LONGBOAT

KEY

FL

34228

ORAL REPRESENTATIONS CANNOT BE RELIED UPON AS CORRECTLY STATING REPRESENTATIONS OF THE DEVELOPER. FOR CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS, MAKE REFERENCE TO THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED BY SECTION 718.503, FLORIDA STATUTES, TO BE FURNISHED BY THE DEVELOPERS TO A BUYER OR LESSEE. PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE IS AN ARTIST'S RENDERING AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE.


CULTURAL COAST

CULTURAL COAST

S A R A S O T A , L O N G B O A T K E Y, L I D O / S T. A R M A N D S , S I E S TA K E Y, V E N I C E , ENGLEWOOD, CASEY KEY, BOCA GRANDE, ANNA MARIA ISLAND, MANASOTA KEY, BRADENTON, LAKEWOOD RANCH, OSPREY

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The cultural capital of Southwest Florida, the Sarasota area is a haven for art patrons, musicians, and writers, performing artists, sculptors and painters. With two symphonies, an opera house, world-class ballet company, numerous playhouses and a plethora of art galleries, the region hosts festivals, visiting artists and exciting exhibits year-round. Art patrons will enjoy The Asolo Theatre Company, Florida Studio Theatre, Island Players, Lemon Bay Playhouse, or Theatre Works, and of course the Sarasota Ballet. Experience the melodic offerings of the Florida West Coast Symphony, Key Chorale, the Sarasota Jazz Club, or Venice Symphony. Sarasota and her distinctive barrier islands are home to awardwinning beaches where you can snorkel, shell or stroll through the warm azure Gulf waters. Loose yourself in the gentle

breezes and the soothing sound of lapping waves, or be completely awestruck by magnificent sunsets. Lido Beach provides a picture postcard setting along with sugary soft white sands. Enjoy the sun, or build castles in the sand while the family can stroll along the shore to St. Armand's Circle, a distinctive designation in itself consisting of upscale shops and boutiques. Don't miss one of the top beaches in the world at Siesta Key. Voted as One of “America's Best Beaches;” “Third Best Walking Beach in the USA,” by USA Today International Edition; and “The Best of the Best Sand,” by Conde Nast Traveler. To experience "Old Florida" at its finest, visit Casey Key, just to the south of Siesta Key. Picturesque winding gulffront roads make for an incredible ocean-side journey. Whether by car, or scenic bicycle ride, you'll be among some of

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

the finest homes Sarasota has to offer. Little traffic, on this remote stretch of pristine paradise, quaint inns and Old Florida resorts transport you to a simpler time with gentility and grace. Bradenton and the tropical paradise of Anna Maria Island offer a unique sense of Old Florida Charm, lush golf courses, cultural attractions and historic ambiance, along with white sand beaches and stunning sunsets. Bradenton offers a unique historic and cultural flavor, along with award winning planned communities such as Lakewood Ranch, while Anna Maria takes you back to a simpler unhurried pace and stretches a mere 7.5 miles in length and less than one mile wide. Venice abounds in natural beauty, with a quaint downtown area, tremendous live oak trees and magnificent Old Florida

appeal. A designated “Florida Main Street” community, Venice is also a cultural Mecca, with its annual festivals, galleries, live theatre and of course the Venice symphony. Also know for white sand beaches Venice's Caspersen Beach is especially appealing to naturalist's offering an unspoiled and secluded area, left primarily in its natural state. The essence of the Old South is found in the historic waterfront town of Punta Gorda. Palm-lined cobblestone streets, Victorian mansions, wide verandas and street lamps capture the spirit of a different era. The barrier island of Manasota Key offers uncrowded beaches and an ideal environment for shelling, golf or fishing in a serene setting.Located on Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande offers the perfect setting for quiet coastal living. This


unique island sanctuary features a rich history and abundant natural beauty. Peacefully nestled between Charlotte Harbor and the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico, Boca Grande reveals miles of white sand beaches, abundant parks, exceptional dining and lodging, in an intoxicating atmosphere of barefoot elegance. The Cultural Coast is well known as a golfer's paradise, boasting magnificent golf courses both public and private. Beautiful weather year-round, lush greens and tropical foliage create a perfect backdrop for the avid golfer. Many of the golf courses are associated with award-winning country club communities featuring vast acreage of natural beauty, wildlife, lakes and resort-style amenities.

Sophisticated St. Armands Circle, in Sarasota, features over 130 fine shops and gourmet restaurants. A world-renowned location, St. Armands is a market place of charming European-influenced

Location Florida's west coast between Tampa to the north and Ft. Myers to the south. Sarasota County is between Manatee County (north) and Charlotte County (south). Located on the Gulf of Mexico. Geography 571.75 square miles of land area 35 miles of beachfront Temperature 82.8 F (28.2 C) average high temperature 61.9 F (16.6 C) average low temperature Annual Precipitation 55.18 inches Average Annual Sunshine 361 days Population 325,957 residents Airport Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (941359-5200) is located at the intersection of US 41 and University Parkway.

elegance. Gracefully blending the past and the present, courtyards and treasures accompany contemporary architecture and lush tropical foliage to create an enchanting atmosphere of continental appeal. Home to world-class dining, shopping, sophisticated amenities, theaters, galleries, a symphony and the Sarasota Ballet, along with 35-miles of beaches and six barrier islands...for a while, or a lifetime, The Cultural Coast is a perfect piece of PARADISE. Don't miss Crescent Beach an 8-mile stretch of pristine beach and warm Gulf waters. A popular escape for lovebirds, the magnificent backdrop creates an ideal location for beach weddings, but also holds a peaceful allure for writers and artists. Crescent Beach holds claim to the official title of “The Worlds' Finest, Whitest Sand”.

Cost of Living Index 85.8 (less than average, U.S. average is 100) Median Resident Age 41.1 Years

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The Gulf of Mexico invites a wealth of boating opportunities, from rentals, cruises and deep-sea fishing trips, to sightseeing and sunset tours. Take the helm of a watercraft, or let another direct your boating destination, the choices on The Cultural Coast are endless. Dolphin runs, eco-tours, kayak, or canoe, this region has the best-of-the-best in fishing and boating. Regardless of the size of your water craft, there are ample marinas to welcome you along the way. Dock for the night, or for a while. Featuring fine dining experiences, live entertainment, incredible natural beauty, and a host of aquatic wildlife, find your senses tantalized by the rich abundance of the water and the region.

Sarasota, together with its neighbors to the north and south, Manatee County and Charlotte County, form the 7th-largest market in Florida.

A magnificent array of professional theater, opera, ballet and symphony performances, home to Ringling fame and a host of yearround art and music events, this region has earned the title of Florida’s “Cultural Coast."

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BEING HOME TO PROFESSIONAL THEATER, OPERA, BALLET AND SYMPHONY, ALONG WITH A VARIETY OF ART AND MUSIC EVENTS, THIS REGION HAS EARNED THE TITLE OF FLORIDA’S “CULTURAL COAST”. Savor the Flavors After a great day of exploration, or before you embark, there are great restaurants in the region to satisfy any taste. The Bay View Bar & Grill at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, offers full bay views and uncomplicated cuisine in a Florida Casual outdoor setting. Try the Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant, Venice's waterfront landmark since 1976 and voted "Venice's Best All Around Restaurant," or The Monkey Room on Longboat Key featuring a spirited ambiance and creative island-influenced cuisine. Don't miss breakfast at Siesta Key's Broken Egg, or the magnificence of Chef Paul Mattison at Mattison's Riverside at Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton, sunset at The Sandbar on Anna Maria, or The Captains Table at Fisherman's Village, in Punta Gorda, with exceptional local seafood fare and some of the best Florida views available. Notable Nightlife When the sun goes down, the fun's just begun on the Cultural Coast. Live music, dance floors, mild breezes, twinkling white lights and tiki torches are all components of the silk & sandals nightlife. Don't miss the Five O'Clock Club, the Gator Club, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, The Beach Club on Siesta Key, Blasé' Café' or Mattison's City Grille where you're sure to find great food, outdoor dining, exotic beverages and magnificent music. Water Wonders If it's fishing that interests you there are more than 1000 species of fish, along with endless bays, rivers and streams to keep you reeling-them-in on Florida's Southwest Coast. Tarpon enthusiasts find the months of May and June offer adventure in the world famous Boca Grande Pass. And, don't forget about the Redfish, Snook and Trout. Check out the action on Anna Maria City Pier, or have all of your fishing needs met at Englewood Bait House. The warm Gulf waters are not just for fishing, try snorkeling or scuba at Crescent Beach's Point-ofRocks, kayak or canoe at Myakka River State Park, or dock your vessel at one of the regions marvelous marinas. Native Adventure For a real native adventure, the wildlife, avian life and flora of the Cultural Coast can be found in the state parks, along the beach, or at one of the aquariums, botanical gardens or museums. Don't miss the Crowley Museum and Nature Center, Mote Marine, The Parker Manatee Aquarium, or

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Sarasota Jungle Gardens where you can convene with Florida's greatest natural assets, alligators, manatee, flamingos, deer and armadillos. Botanical Bounty The natural bounty of the area will amaze you. From the worldrenowned Marie Selby Gardens to the Rose Garden of Mable Ringling, take a stroll through lush gardens throughout the area. Don't miss Historic Spanish Point a window into 5,000 years of human history, Oscar Scherer State Park or Caspersen beach, where you can hike, bike and search for shells or sharks teeth. Niche Excursions From St. Armands Circle, Downtown Sarasota and Main Street to the quaint offerings of Downtown Venice and Englewood's Dearborn Street, shop and discover the neighborhoods rich in cultural as well as historical flair. Palm-lined streets, renaissance architecture, secret gardens, casual outdoor cafes, along with intriguing boutiques will have you wondering what's around every corner. Curtain Call So much to experience…live performances at the symphony, the ballet, or theatre. All along the cultural coast you'll find performing artists waiting for their next encore'. Not to be missed Sarasota: Opera House, Florida Studio Theater, Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Venice Little Theatre, The Asolo Repertory Theatre, The West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, Banyan Theatre Company, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, Venice Symphony and Lemon Bay Playhouse.


Circus Enthusiasts A tremendous component of this region's heritage is attributed to John and Mable Ringling. The region boasts romantic gardens and Mansions to the infamous Sailor Circus. Don't miss the Tito Gaena Flying Trapeze Academy in Venice or Circus Sarasota, The Ringling Museum of Art, The Ringling Museum of the Circus offering the history of the Greatest Show on Earth, or the Sarasota Classic Car museum featuring four vehicles used personally by John Ringling.

Sunscreen Required World renowned beaches await on the Cultural Coast. Pristine and unspoiled, surrounded by natural bounty and sunlit splendor, each area of the coast offers a unique experience. Quiet North Lido Beach, the action of Siesta Beach or the petfriendly Brohard Park offer something for everyone in the family. Try shelling on Turtle Beach, near the southern end of Siesta Key, or on Caspersen Beach in Venice, where you'll find much of the area in its natural state. Longboat Key features magnificently manicured communities, as well as tropical havens tucked away in a traditional “Old Florida” style. For a true Old Florida adventure, Gasparilla Island holds the allure of a quaint Florida village, with abundant wildlife, or ferry to Little Gasparilla Island, accessible only by boat, offering the tranquility of a remote island paradise.

On The Green Some of the finest golf courses in the US are located on the Cultural Coast. Area resort accommodations often include outstanding golf courses. Try the course at the Boca Grand Resort, or the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. You'll find public play at Sarasota's Bobby Jones Golf Complex, SunCoast Golf Center, Sunrise Golf Club, Lake Venice Golf Club in Venice or the Manatee County Golf Course in Bradenton. Voted among the “Best Places to Play” by readers of Golf Digest 2008-2009, The Legacy Golf Club at Lakewood Ranch offers a level of service and greens found at world-class private facilities. This Arnold Palmer Signature 18-hole golf course is open to the public and was also voted one of America's Top Golf Courses by ZAGAT Survey 2007-2008. Consistently noted as one of America's best places to live work and play, the list of accolades for this area is long. Best Places to Live “Top 100 Places to Live and Launch/Money Magazine” The Great weather and cultural climate, in addition to a strong retirement and tourism market placed Sarasota in the Top areas to Live and Launch a Business (2008). Countless activities and clubs geared toward singles, and organized around interests from wine tasting to ballroom dancing led Fortune Magazine to rank Sarasota as one of the Top locations to” Retire In Style.” The endless parade of black-tie events means lots of opportunities for a night on the town with your date (2006). Excellence in Health Care For the second year in a row, Sarasota Memorial Hospital was listed among “America's Safest Hospitals” by Forbes.com (2009). Widely accepted as the gold standard of patient care, Sarasota Memorial Hospital received re-designation as a "Magnet" hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) (2008). Sarasota Memorial Hospital received a Sliver Performance Achievement Award from the American Stroke Association recognizing their commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care (2007).

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Creative Expressions An intrinsic component of the areas culture that has drawn international recognition, art is a mainstay of the region. From the Ringling Museum of Art and the Historic Oslo Theatre to the countless galleries in our Downtown districts, you'll experience one-of-a-kind sculptures appearing seasonally along Sarasota's Bay front. A Stroll down Venice Avenue is an art enthusiast dream. Visit the Collector's Gallery with the bold sweeping canvases and the work of Maryanne Jacobsen, or the Venice Art Center, the oldest community art center on Florida's Culture Coast, offering ongoing exhibits and workshops for the community. Don't miss Village of the Arts in downtown Bradenton featuring artisans representing an eclectic mix or mediums including photography, pottery, jewelry and furniture makers.

Ambient Accommodations Magnificent downtown Sarasota and Sarasota Bay views await at the world renowned Ritz-Carlton Sarasota featuring the finest of resort amenities, golf, fine dining, tropical resort pool, Jacuzzi and even programs for the kids. Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel located on Lido Beach, offers a storybook seaside setting, with 600 ft of private beach on the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico. The Lido Beach Resort is a tropical beachfront location on Lido Key, with warm hospitality and top-notch service in a casual tropical venue. Relaxation, with personalized and friendly service, is what you can expect from the Inn at the Beach in Venice. The Seaside Inn Beach Resort on Anna Maria features a casual appeal in a boutique hotel environment. Try tennis, golf or take a romantic retreat at the Gasparilla Inn and Club on Gasparilla Island, a premier destination on Florida's Gulf Coast since 1913.

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HAPPENINGS On the fourth weekend in January the Annual Arts and Crafts Festival is held at the Venice Municipal Airport. The Venice Symphony begins its season in January and has concerts on the first Friday of the month through April. The Venice Little Theatre runs from October through May, while the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre features year-round performances. Each January brings Sarasota Arts Day, a celebration of the local artists, on the streets of downtown Sarasota, along with the St. Armands Circle's Winter Art Festival, Punta Gorda's Sullivan Street Craft Festival and the Annual Downtown Venice

Craft Festival. The official opening of the Opera Season includes a Sarasota extravaganza and the Winter Concert Series of the Jazz Club of Sarasota. January also plays host to Circus Sarasota Opening Night and the Southwest Florida Heritage Festival at the Crowley Museum. In February, when our northern counterparts are shoveling snow, we are continuing to enjoy outdoor recreation and numerous festivals including the Anna Maria Island Art & Craft Festival, Venice Craft Festival and Siesta Fiesta Craft Fair. March winds bring the Annual Downtown Venice Art Classic, while live performances continue this month at Florida Studio Theatre and The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, along with many others throughout the area. April offers up the 17th Annual Sharks Tooth Festival, along with the Florida Winefest & Auction at the Longboat Key Club. The Sarasota Jazz Festival held this month brings great bigband, blues and more to the heralded week-long event.

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In May and June, we're closing another cultural season, but the art doesn't stop on the Cultural Coast. Theatrical performances continue at FSU/Asolo Conservatory, Venice Theater Cabaret Series and Asolo Repertory, while The Sarasota Opera hosts its annual Summer at the Symphony. Outdoor activities and events include the Annual Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest and Historic Burns Square Artists' Market. During the summer months the area hosts legions of fishing tournaments, along with local art festivals and exhibitions. The fall is ablaze with vibrence and brings a host of outdoor

festivals to tantalize the senses. Music, cars, local fare, crafts and so much more at The St. Armand's Circle Annual Art Festival, Annual Sarasota Craft Festival, Anna Maria Island Bayfest, The Annual Sarasota Blues Festival, The Venice Art Festival, Annual Taste of Manatee, St. Armands' Circle Classic Antique Car Show and Annual Siesta Beach Holiday Arts and Craft Shows. The holiday season is jam-packed with activities. Holiday parades, Winter Festivals, and of course ART…always. December brings the Art Walk at Towles Court, The Annual Festival of Trees, Holiday Night on St. Armands Circle, Anna Maria Island's Annual Winter Festival, The Annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights, The Sarasota Holiday Parade, The Lighted Boat Parade at Bradenton Yacht Club and The Venice Christmas Boat Parade. You'll be entertained right up till the time of The Pineapple Drop at Midnight on New Years' Eve in Downtown Sarasota.


PARADISE COAST

PARADISE COAST

NAPLES, MARCO ISLAND, SANIBEL, CAPTIVA, BONITA SPRINGS, FORT MYERS, CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA EVERGLADES

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The Paradise Coast, comprised of Naples, Marco Island & the Florida Everglades, offers unsurpassed natural beauty, a strong nature conservancy focus, upscale neighborhoods, over 130 highly acclaimed golf courses, fine dining, along with renowned cultural events and art exhibits. The surrounding communities of Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, Bonita Springs and Cape Coral augment this fascinating region along Florida's Southwest Coast. Art enthusiasts, nature lovers, boaters and golfers are drawn to the magnificence of the area, with opportunities to explore Florida's “wild side” in the Everglades, or experience distinctive culinary delights in Naples. The finest in resorts, award-winning restaurants and luxuries abound, while romantic islands beckon with white sand beaches, crystal clear Gulf waters, swaying palms and some of the best shelling in the world.

Naples' European charm and tropical climate invite residents and visitors to rejuvenate, recreate and explore year-round. Named the best “Small Art Town” in 2005's publication of the 100 Best Art Towns in America, Naples shimmers in the art and cultural arena. Venues include over 130 galleries, historical attractions, the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, home of the Naples Philharmonic, and the Naples Museum of Art. Explore the shopping districts of Fifth Avenue South, with restored historic city center buildings and sidewalk cafes, or Third Street South with its small-town aura, tree-lined streets, chic boutiques and European bistros. The Naples downtown waterfront district features the exceptional Bayfront Marina, unique shops, galleries, or try the local sea fare at one of Tin City's restaurants with beautiful views of Naples Bay.

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Naples sets the standard for Golf in Southwest Florida. Over 140 golf courses can be experienced in the Naples-Marco Island area. Surrounded by nature's abundance, you're assured each day on the green is a unique experience. Worldclass courses and pristine greens, under the watchful eye of eagles, osprey or alligators are sure to stimulate the senses. Thirty minutes to the south of Naples is the world-class resort destination of Marco Island, with distinctive dining, miles of pristine beaches, cavorting dolphins and uninhabited tropical islands. The largest of Florida's “Ten Thousand Islands” Marco Island has retained much of its natural beauty. Gulf waters invite fishing, manatee excursions, dinner cruises, shelling and snorkeling. Relax in the sun, or thrill to an Everglades airboat adventure. Surrounded by protected areas, Big Cypress

National Preserve, 10,000 Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Everglades National Park assure Florida's fragile wildlife, eco-systems, coastline and natural bounty remain the state's greatest treasures. Magnificent Royal Palm-lined streets have earned Fort Myers the celebrated title of the "City of Palms." Trustees of the winter estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, poised upon the Caloosahatchee River, this pristine community has become an intoxicating blend of old and new. Boasting highly acclaimed golf courses, magnificent architecture, and a thriving arts community. Take in a show at the Florida Repertory Theatre, The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, or experience some of Broadway's finest at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.


The laid-back Fort Myers beach has gained recognition as the “World's Safest Beach”, with its calm waters and pristine beach stretching the length of the 7-mile island. A splendid destination for family fun, exceptional dining, lots of silky sand, sun and water sports. Fort Myers Beach provides the gateway to the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva. Sanibel and Captiva feature 15-miles of unspoiled beaches, 22-miles of bike path and no stop lights. The quaint island lifestyle offers amazing alfresco dining, two, Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, 18-hole golf courses, live performances at Big Arts cultural center of the islands, along with the acclaimed annual Sanibel Music Festival each March.

Referred to as “The Gateway to the Gulf of Mexico,” Bonita Springs lies between Fort Myers and Naples, along the gorgeous Gulf. Sparkling white sand and clear waters, along with the amazing natural beauty, this Paradise Coast community offers quiet seclusion as well as outdoor recreation and resort amenities.

Location Florida's west coast , Collier County is just south of Sarasota on Highway 41 and Florida's Gulf Coast. Geography Collier County 2,025.5 square miles (making it the largest county in the State of Florida, based on land area). Temperature 91° F high temperature 54° F low temperature 77° F annual average temperature Annual Precipitation 51.3 inches Average Annual Sunshine 324 days Population 21,377 residents Airport Naples Municipal Airport is located minutes from downtown Naples and Interstate 75, serving as the gateway to "paradise.” 239643-0733 Cost of Living Index 130 (U.S. average is 100)

From the epitome in refined European elegance to unpretentious barrier islands, theatrical performances, or swamp buggy races, the Paradise Coast will embrace you with her charm, mesmerize you with her natural beauty, and tantalize the senses with her chic boutiques, luxurious resorts and culinary delights. The Florida Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands, at the tip of South Florida, is an impressive ecosystem, rugged, beautiful and intricately diverse. From the marine life of Florida Bay, to cypress swamps and topical hammocks, there's something magical about this enchanted and yet fragile area that provides recreational as well as valuable environmental resources.

Median Resident Age 44.4 Years

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Sanibel Island Beach is on of the best that Florida has to offer. Still largely a well-kept secret, the tranquil surroundings are popular with windsurfers and wildlife. Captiva Island Beach, near the Bahia Honda Channel, features stunning reefs and marvelous snorkeling.

Naples, Marco-Island, Fort Myers, along with the neighboring barrier islands and Florida Everglades offer a beachside location, vibrant arts scene, high-end shopping and nature preserves. In 2005, Naples was voted the “best beach in America” by the Travel Channel as well as the number one “small art city in America”.

Don't miss Lover's Key Beach, ranked among the “Top Ten Florida Beaches" by the Travel Channel, this peaceful respite offers an intriguing island getaway for sunsets and stargazing.

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PARADISE COAST

MILES OF PRISTINE BEACHES, UPSCALE AMENITIES, ALONG WITH THE ABUNDANCE OF PICTURESQUE WILDERNESS AND WETLANDS DEPICT THIS AREA AS “FLORIDA’S LAST PARADISE” AND HAVE EARNED THIS REGION THE TITLE OF FLORIDA’S “PARADISE COAST.”

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Savor the Flavors Dining options on the Paradise Coast are a true culinary delight. Open-air, international cuisine, steak house, or local seafood, the delectable local fare is a tantalizing component of this refined community. Upscale, or casual, a wide range of culinary influences and award-winning chefs, create the ultimate dining experience. The Turtle Club Restaurant at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort offers a magnificent beachfront dining experience. Their outstanding cuisine and gracious service earned them the honor of Naples “Best Waterfront Dining,” by the Naples Daily News in 2007. Bayhouse Restaurant, overlooking Osprey Bay and the Cocohatchee Wildlife Preserve, is one of the most respected seafood restaurants in the area, while picturesque bay views and continental cuisine compliment the M Waterfront Grill. The Dock at Crayon Cove is an open-air restaurant with ideal views of Naples Bay. Informal, you'll feel like you've arrived at a special island retreat. Fort Myers' Varanda provides a charming atmosphere at its circa.1902 location, specializing in regional flavors and marvelous seafood. Bokeelia's acclaimed dining at the Tarpon Lodge & Restaurant features spectacular water views, sunsets and cuisine. In Bonita Springs try Doc's Beach House Restaurant, a local landmark, steps from the Gulf, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or, for some of the best seafood around, try Pinchers Crab Shack. In addition to the restaurant, there's a fresh seafood market, with the days local catch. Notable Nightlife When the sun goes down, the nights heat-up on the Paradise Coast. The Tiki Bar at Sam Seltzer's, Fort Myers features a huge tiki bar, live music and spirits. Naples' Shane's Cabana Bar is a spectacular outdoor destination, directly over the water, featuring a full bar, tropical specialty drinks and martinis. If you're looking for jazz, Sanibel's Ellington's Jazz Bar & Restaurant books a fantastic array of pianists, saxophonists, guitarists and more. This old-school jazz spot hosts Ellington's signature white grand piano. At its marvelous Venetian Bay location, M Lounge features spectacular views, spirits and a full calendar of live weekend music. Take an evening cruise, with live music, aboard the Big M Casino at Fort Myers Beach. Try your hand at Las Vegas casino-style gambling aboard a 162-foot yacht, with black jack, roulette, shot machines and dining.

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Water Wonders Beyond the abundant fishing options and venues, there are numerous water adventures on the Paradise Coast. Snorkeling, challenging deep-sea charters, air boat excursions and dinner cruises offer something for every water enthusiast. Marco Island Sea Excursions offer water adventures to fish, sail, or tour the islands. While you're so near the exhilarating Florida Everglades, don't miss the opportunity to take an air boat ride. Captiva Cruises offer a Dolphin Watch excursion, the Sunset Serenade Cruise, with live entertainment, as well as shelling cruises to Cayo Costa. Native Adventure The Paradise Coast takes its nature conservancy role seriously with environmental activities and tours that highlight the area's rare, exotic and fragile wildlife. Everglades-fringe ecology reveals a private world of wetlands, salt and freshwater marshes along with an extensive system of backcountry mangrove estuaries. Abundant nature preserves, wildlife sanctuaries and protected habits offer tremendous opportunities to view native wildlife whether on water, or on land. In the upper segment of the Fakahatchee Strand of the Big Cypress Swamp, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge works fervently to protect, preserve and repopulate the endangered Florida Panther. Big Cypress National Preserve protects over 720,000 acres of the vast Big Cypress Swamp and contains a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida Panther. Everglades National Park, is the only one of its kind and the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, protecting rare and endangered species.


Botanical Bounty On a hiking trail, via canoe or by island tour, the vast array of State Parks on the Paradise Coast will provide scenic journeys into the secluded sanctuaries of exotic plants vital to the survival of local wetlands and wildlife. Discover the unique plants and animals that make this coastal ecosystem so valuable. Visit Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park for an introduction to beach ecology, Cohatachee Nature Center for kayaking, or canoeing the fascinating estuaries, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park with a marvelous collection of wild orchids, Bald Cpress and native Royal Palms, with a boardwalk to a virgin cypress strand, or Rookery Bay

Niche Excursions Palm-lined streets, European bistros and historic treasures of the Paradise Coast offer avenues of enchantment. Spend the day at Naples City Dock at Crayton Cove. Featuring the largest fishing and sailing charter fleets in the area, you'll find sightseeing excursions, shopping, restaurants and lodging. Naples Tin City Waterfront Marketplace recalls the area's nautical past, with unique boutiques and great restaurants. Visit the estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in the heart of Fort Myers for an exploration into the fascinating history behind two of the world's most remarkable men. A trip to the tip of Sanibel reveals the Sanibel Lighthouse, a beacon to nautical navigators since 1884. Curtain Call The Paradise Coast glistens with a refined appreciation for the performing arts. The Philharmonic Center for the Arts is the premiere performance hall in the region, and home to the Naples Philharmonic. Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre accommodates 450 guests, and features eight professional

Creative Expressions Creative talent and art patrons are enthralled by the galleries and exhibits of the Naples area. From the collection of over 130 galleries, outstanding permanent collections and traveling exhibits at the Naples Museum of Art, to the eclectic galleries of Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. Throughout the year there are hundreds of art and cultural events in the area monthly. Sunscreen Required The Paradise Coast is a prime location for beach goers. Naples' features 10 miles of silken sand and one of the most beautiful beach parks in the state at Lowdermilk Park Public Beach. The Travel Channel's Beach Week Expert Panel selected Naples, Florida as “America's Best All-Around Beach� for 2005. Lovers Key offers an unspoiled state park to enjoy the magnificent Gulf sunsets and Marco Island's Tigertail Beach is picture postcard perfect. Fort Myers Beach is recognized as one of the safest beaches in the world and Sanibel Island Beach is undoubtedly one of the best Florida beaches. Ambient Accommodations Resort amenities, sumptuous surroundings and spectacular golf courses typify the amazing accommodations on the Paradise Coast. LaPlaya Resort is one of Florida's finest resort hotels. It's marvelous location between the Gulf of Mexico and Vanderbilt Bay offer guests the ultimate tropical experience. The Vanderbilt Beach Resort offers 5-miles of white sand beach, elevated tennis courts, a beachside infinity pool and award- winning full service restaurant. For a Tuscan inspired resort Bellasera Hotel, located in the heart of Old Naples, offers a distinctive ambiance, Italian architecture, courtyard fountains and marvelous amenities near Naples Fifth Avenue South. Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa boasts a haven of hospitality and refined luxury in an idyllic setting. Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa, nestled on 3-miles of sun swept beaches, transports you to a tropical and luxurious enclave. No passport required to be embraced by the peaceful Gulf waters, beachside tropical pool, luxurious spa and private golf course.

PARADISE COAST

Environmental Learning Center for a guided exploration of the bays and mangrove forests of Rookery Bay. At the Naples Zoo you'll find Caribbean Gardens. This historic tropical garden was founded in 1919 and offers 52-acres of botanical bounty and exotic plants. The Naples Botanical Gardens offers tropical gardens with beautifully restored natural habitats, and an interactive children's garden. At the conservancy of Southwest Florida, explore the vast natural habits via boat, conoe, kayak, or through one of the many hands-on exhibits.

productions each season January through August. The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers offers outstanding Broadway Series as well as dance productions January through July, while the Florida Repertory Theater features live theatrical performances October through June.

On The Green The Paradise Coast and the Naples area set the standard for golf in South Florida. Naples has more golf courses per capita than any other area in the world. One of the exceptional attributes of playing golf on the Paradise Coast is the amazing abundance of nature, natural water hazards and interesting wildlife. Numerous area resorts feature stunning greens, along with amazing amenities.

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HAPPENINGS You'll be enthralled by the leisure activities and abundant recreation, sun swept beaches, endless days on the green and tantalizing sunsets of the Paradise Coast. But there is much to experience when it comes to great music, art and festivals throughout the year.

February is also the month for the Annual Everglades Seafood Festival in Everglades City, the Naples National Art Festival, the Naples Jazz Festival in Cambier Park, the Annual Mardi Gras Celebration downtown Naples and Annual Photography Exhibit at Rookery Bay, along with the Annual Art fest in Fort Myers.

Monthly events, exhibits and series welcome the entire family into the worlds of watercolor, history, great music and wildlife discovery. Exhibits and educational programs at the Museum of the Everglades, Naples Historical Society, Naples Museum of Art, Naples Botanical Gardens and the Collier County

March brings the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival, Annual Sanibel Shell Fair, Cape Coral Sounds of Jazz, The All Florida Championship Rodeo and Major League Baseball Spring Training with the Red Sox in Fort Myers. Into April Marco Island's Annual Film Festival includes elegant parties, as well

Museum continue throughout the year. Marco Island Center for the Arts features exhibits in the Lauritzen/Rush Gallery and MacFarland Atrium Gallery, while the “Art in the Park” exhibits showcase the talent of Naples Art Association members.

as film screenings. Fort Myers hosts its River and Blues Festival, while you can capture tropical delights at Sanibel/Captiva's Taste of The Islands. May serves up the Taste of Collier in downtown Naples, featuring the culinary talents and fare of local restaurateurs. The annual Great Dock Canoe Race on Naples Bay happens in May and July brings the Fort Myers Beach Annual Taste of the Beach.

January through July, you'll find Broadway Series productions at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers. October through June the Florida Repertory presents awarding winning theatrical performances, or be entertained year round at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's concert series and Off Broadway performances. In January, the music abounds at the Philharmonic, while the seafood and entertainment spice up the Goodland community at their annual Mullet Festival. In Fort Myers the Annual Medieval Faire and Thomas Alva Edison Regional Science & Inventor's Fair begin the year, while Cape Coral hosts its Annual Festival of Arts and Bonita Springs hosts is National Art Festival. From the end of January into February, the Edison Festival of Lights in Fort Myers includes a regatta, fireworks and three days of crafts along the river.

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FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

Come September it's time for Fort Myers' Fall Community Art Showcase, while October features the Southwest Florida Folk and Blues Festival in Pine Island. From the end of October to the first of November, the signature event of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival celebrates Southwest Florida's 190mile marked paddling trail, The Great Calusa Blueway. During November, Naples beams with Celebrate the Arts Month, along with the Naples Renaissance Fall Art Festival. Fort Myers Beach hosts its Annual Sandsculpting Festival, along with the Annual Taste of the Town. During the holidays…November to New Year's, festivities and lights dazzle throughout the Paradise Coast. The Annual Holiday Boat Parade and Holiday House at the Edison-Winter Estate are winter favorites in Fort Myers.


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REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS 56

Lauren P. Kohl, Attorney at Law Law Offices of Gibson, Kohl, Wolff & Hric, P.L. 1800 Second Street, Suite 901, Sarasota FL, 34236 414 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229 1.941.966.3575 www.SarasotaClosings.com

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO BUY A HOME By Lauren P. Kohl It takes a village to buy a home. Well, not really, but it is helpful to have a qualified team of professionals on your side to help you take advantage of opportunities and to avoid pitfalls along the way. The list of professionals you may engage throughout your purchase transaction includes: Attorney, REALTOR®, mortgage loan professional, home inspector, appraiser, surveyor, insurance agent and bartender. Actually, the bartender is optional. But if you choose the right team of professionals then any visit to your bartender will be to celebrate and not to commiserate. Generally, your REALTOR® will be the team captain coordinating the responsibilities of the other team members while keeping track of their progress. Your REALTOR® is the person who will take your calls on nights and weekends. Experienced REALTOR® are knowledgeable about the different types of neighborhoods, the homes within them and the prices thereof. After asking you a few qualifying questions they should be able to greatly narrow down your search, saving you countless hours of aimless meandering about town in the left lane with your right blinker on. Once your REALTOR® finds a home of interest to you he or she will provide you with “comps” (comparable homes that have sold recently). The comps will help you to determine an appropriate price to offer. Keep in mind that home prices are very difficult to determine in this market. If you are obtaining financing, your lender will require an appraisal as part of your loan approval process. If

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

you are paying cash, you may want to hire a licensed local appraiser to make sure you are not over-paying for your home. Your REALTOR® will also accompany you on your home inspection, request repairs if necessary, and attend the closing. Although your REALTOR® is the team captain I suggest that you retain an attorney to review your purchase and sale contract before you sign it. In Florida, REALTOR® are allowed to fill in the blanks on form contracts and addenda. They are prohibited, however, from drafting addenda and explaining the legal issues inherent in your contract. Most attorneys recognize that your transaction is time sensitive and will review your contract within one business day from receiving it. Another possibility is to have your REALTOR® speak with your attorney prior to drafting the contract. Under that scenario, attorney review wouldn't be necessary. I also suggest that you consult a local mortgage professional prior to entering into a purchase and sale contract. Local mortgage professionals know which condominiums present financing challenges and are aware of local closing costs. They will prequalify you for the loan program sought. After all, there is no reason to make an offer on a home if you are uncomfortable with the monthly payment and/or closing costs. Your mortgage professional will estimate all costs before you sign. If you intend to obtain a mortgage from your bank which has branches in your


home state as well as Florida, ask your REALTOR® for the name of a local loan officer with your bank instead of applying for the loan out of state. Or, consider using an experienced mortgage broker who has access to loan programs with several banks.

A land surveyor is hired when necessary to confirm that your home was built in accordance with subdivision and plat set-back lines. Surveys are only required if you are obtaining mortgage financing. Sometimes, a prior survey provided by the seller is sufficient. I do not recommend that you purchase a home without obtaining a survey. Surveys are not required on condominiums and in certain neighborhoods.

I mentioned earlier that you should discuss the terms of your contract with your attorney prior to signing it. Also know that your attorney will represent you every step of the way from contract to closing. He or she will even examine the chain of title, issue the title insurance and conduct the closing. Some real estate offices have in house title companies that can conduct your closing. Be advised that the cost to use a title company to conduct your closing is generally no less than the cost to have your attorney conduct the closing. It is true that the in house title company presents a convenience to your REALTOR®, but a title company cannot represent you. Alas, the bartender…to suggest a nice bottle of wine to enjoy in your new home!

OnOf The Your Side Closing Table Lauren P. Kohl Attorney at Law

Law Offices of Gibson, Kohl, Wolff & Hric, P. L. 1800 Second St, Ste 901, Sarasota, FL 34236 414 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229

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REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS

Most buyers hire a licensed home inspector to inspect the home. The inspection occurs shortly after the contract is signed. Your home inspector can arrange for a wood destroying organism report (termite) and mold inspection if you desire. If you have a particular concern about a major item such as the roof or HVAC you may wish to hire a licensed contractor to inspect that item in addition to your home inspector because the contractor can give you a repair cost estimate. A home inspector generally cannot.

It is also important to discuss the cost of hazard, wind, and flood insurance with an insurance agent early in the home buying process. The cost of insurance will effect your monthly payment. Sometimes you will receive a discount by using a company that you have other insurance policies with. Try that first then ask your REALTOR®, mortgage professional or attorney for a referral.

GKW& H GIBSON, KOHL, WOLFF & HRIC, P.L.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.

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57


INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE 60

Carla Rayman, REALTOR Director of International Development Prudential Palms Realty Sarasota, Florida 1.941.724.0519 1.941.487.5181 www.YourGlobalAgents.com

Prudential Palms Realty

CANADIANS FLOCKING TO FLORIDA By Carla Rayman Canadians have been flocking to Florida in the past few months.

low as 1.02. Oil prices crept above $80 per barrel, helping to

While always popular in the winter months, Florida has become

consolidate its gains.

particularly attractive this year due to reasons other than the

continued to grow and its real estate market is still flourishing. Due

weather. Due to four years of a suffering real estate market,

to their strong financial market, Canadians still have money to

prices are now attractive to those seeking their place in the sun for

spend. While the strength of the currency helps them buy more for

investment or a holiday home.

their money, most buyers don't investigate getting the best

Unlike the market in the US, Canada

currency exchange rate. The National Association of Realtors reported that Canadians account for 26% of all international home sales. In addition,

Transferring currency can be a hassle with the ever fluctuating

Canadian travel to Florida increased over 10% in the last quarter

rates. It is important that buyers explore options to give them the

of 2009 compared to the same time frame in 2008. It is evident in

best rate possible for it could substantially increase the amount

the number of Ontario license plates on vehicles across Florida

they can use to purchase or save.

highways. As certified international property specialists, the Your Global So what's the main driving factor? The Canadian dollar is now

Agents team has partnered with Moneycorp, Inc. (based in

almost one-to-one with the US dollar. The Loonie ended 2009 as

Orlando) which is the UK's largest non-bank provider of foreign

one of the best performing currencies and pushed the Dollar as

exchange services.

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE


to see how simple the process can be, visit the following site:

clients needing to exchange their local currency into Dollars. The

http://www.moneycorp.com/affiliates/microsite/index.cfm?agentid=

main benefit of using Moneycorp is that they can save clients money

10004136

by offering the most competitive exchange rates in addition to protecting against exchange rate fluctuations. Using Moneycorp is

If you are considering investing in any type of Florida real estate,

very simple. Clients will open a Trading Facility, which takes a

we welcome you to attend one of our seminars the first week of

couple of minutes, and then they are introduced to their own currency

May in the Toronto area. The Your Global Agents team along with

dealer who will work with clients to get them the best rate at the best

Moneycorp will be hosting seminars in various locations. If you are

time. Moneycorp facilitates same day transfers to Florida which can

a Canadian real estate agent, we welcome you to meet us at

save a lot of time for buyers with an approaching closing date.

Realtor Quest booth 1203.

Moneycorp streamlines the process for our buyers, makes wire

For more details or to register for a seminar, please contact me at

transfers easy, and helps our clients save money. To learn more and

Carla@CarlaRayman.com.

Carla Rayman, Director of International Business Development. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carla moved to Sarasota from Put-in-Bay, Ohio in 1996. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Communications and minor in Linguistics specializing in American Sign Language. Upon moving to Florida, Carla obtained her real estate license and focused on new home construction. Due to the diversity and adventurous nature of her clients, Carla created a niche in catering to international buyers, sellers, resorts, and destinations.

INTERNATIONAL REAL ESTATE

Moneycorp provides a foreign exchange and transfer service for

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

61


ON THE LAKE IN OYSTER BAY ESTATES Authentically appointed with only the finest quality in this Tuscan inspired home. Over 5800 square feet featuring 4 ensuite bedrooms, an expansive bonus room over the garage, a gourmet kitchen with an abundance of granite and stainless steel R

JANIS COLLIER, GRI, ABR, REALTOR Cell (941) 313-1212, Office (941) 951-6660 janiscollier@michaelsaunders.com www.janiscollier.com

appliances, wood and porcelain tile flooring, 3 fireplaces and 2 master suites. Venetian plaster walls and ceiling detail, a dramatic wrought iron staircase, ceiling sprinklers, a generator, 2 laundry rooms and 3 car parking. Enjoy entertaining on the gracious patio with a fireplace and summer kitchen or relax in the saline pool/spa overlooking the gorgeous lake in Oyster Bay. Close to downtown and the beaches. Price $1,999,000


WEST OF THE TRAIL WINNER!! 2005 built 2-story home has been upgraded and enhanced to the max with STUNNING appointments throughout. Near Southside Village. Priced to sell. $899,000

SIESTA KEY Stunning and sophisticated, over 5000 sq ft, 4 en-suite bedrooms, office/den, elevator, high ceilings, floating staircase, summer kitchen, pool with spa and short bike ride to the beach. $1,325,000

BAYPOINT HOMESITE Prime property located on Palma Sola with IntraCoastal & Bay views. Protected boat dock just across the street. Gated community near the delightful Cortez beaches. $259,000

DOCKOMINIUM AT PHILLIPPI HARBOR CLUB Boaters will enjoy the luxury of calling for concierge boat service! Your boat will be secure in its indoor berth. Bank-owned, reduced to $36,500.

R

JANIS COLLIER, GRI, ABR, REALTOR Cell (941) 313-1212, Office (941) 951-6660 janiscollier@michaelsaunders.com www.janiscollier.com


CROSS BORDER ESTATE PLANNING 64

David A. Altro, B.A., LL.L, J.D, D.D.N, Fin.Pl., TEP Florida Attorney and Canadian Legal Counsel David A. Altro & Associates LLP Montreal–Toronto–Calgary–Sarasota–Naples–Ft. Lauderdale–Phoenix 1-800-370-4860 www.altrolaw.com

CHAPTER 10: SELLING YOUR U.S. VACATION HOME An Excerpt of David A. Altro’s book, Owning U.S. Property – The Canadian Way By David A. Altro Reducing the U.S. Capital Gain Tax So, you're selling your condo in Boca Raton, Florida. You paid $500,000 and the sale price is $1 million... Nice work! RS Withholding under FIRPTA FIRPTA stands for Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act which is the U.S. federal law that states that, under section 1445 IRC, 10% of the gross sales price of the sale of real estate by a non-resident of the U.S. must be withheld by the closing agent on behalf of the buyer and remitted to the Internal Revenue Service. In our above example that would be $100,000. This is NOT a tax; it is simply a withholding whereby the IRS will apply it against the tax payable on the capital gain. In this case, the capital gain is the difference between the sale price of $1 million and the initial purchase price of $500,000. The U.S. Capital Gain Tax Rate If you own your U.S. property in a Canadian corporation, or even in a Florida corporation, the IRS will tax the gain at approximately 34%. Additionally, there may be State tax as well. In Florida, the Department of Revenue will tax the gain at approximately 5.5%. That totals roughly 40% tax rate on the gain, or $200,000 of tax. SM

However, if you have the property in the Cross-Border Trust (which we discussed earlier) or in your individual name for more than 12 months, you benefit from the IRS capital gain tax rate of approximately 15% on the net gain. In that case, there is no Florida Department of Revenue tax on trusts or individuals! Reducing the Gain Let's see how we can reduce the amount of the gain. Your initial purchase price of $500,000 is known as your cost basis. It can be adjusted upward by the amount of renovations, special assessments of your condominium association and/or homeowners association, and your closing costs and legal fees upon your initial purchase. Let's say that amount equals $100,000. Now you have an adjusted cost basis (known as the ACB) of $600,000. Now, let's look at your gross sales price of $1 million to see whether we can reduce it. Deductions include

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

broker's commission, closing costs, and your attorney's fees. Let's say that equals $50,000. Therefore the net gain is $350,000. That leaves you with a U.S. capital gain tax of $52,500 U.S. depending on how you hold title. How to Get Back the 10% Withholding In the above case, the seller's attorney was obligated to remit the 10% withholding of $100,000 to the IRS with Form 8288, although the net capital gain tax is only $52,500. Accordingly, the seller is entitled to the difference of $47,500 by filing a U.S. Income Tax Form 1040NR together with a duly completed W-7 Form requesting a ITIN number. This is a somewhat complicated package of documentation to be sent to the IRS office at Cincinnati, OH USA, 45999. Generally speaking, the tax return should be filed in January or February of the year after the sale. If you are an eager beaver and want to have it filed right after the sale, the IRS may actually refuse to review it and may actually mail it back to you with a letter stating that they are not reviewing 2009 Income Tax Returns until the beginning of 2010. Avoiding the 10% Withholding There is an exception to the 10% withholding rule where the gross sales price is less than $300,000 and the buyer signs a special affidavit attesting to the fact that he/she intends to use the subject property over the next two years for personal use at least 50% of the time that it is in use. BUT be careful with this exception! Firstly, if the price is over $300,000, the 10% must be remitted unless there is adequate time to file an application for a Withholding Certificate prior to the closing where there is little or no capital gain. Or, it could be filed concurrently with the closing and then the 10% maybe retained in the trust account of the closing attorney until the tax clearance certificate is provided by the IRS. Secondly, the buyer is not obligated to sign the affidavit. If they are unsure of their future intention or plan to rent out the condo they have the right to refuse to sign. Sometimes this takes a bit of delicate explaining to the buyer.


Is there a Credit in Canada for the U.S. Tax Paid? There may be a foreign tax credit available to reduce your Canadian capital gain tax by the amount of the capital gain tax paid to the U.S. This could be achieved by applying the U.S./Canada Tax Treaty. However, you are out of luck if your property is in a standard U.S. revocable trust or a standard U.S. living trust, since the Canadian Income Tax Act will not allow for the credit in such case. But should you have the title to the property in your Cross-Border Trust or individually, you will qualify for a foreign tax credit so that the $52,500 paid to the IRS as a capital gain tax will be a full credit against the Canadian capital gain tax of $66,500 minus the $52,500 for a total combined capital tax of $66,500 (unless further reduced by the currency exchange loss). If you, as the seller, reside in Alberta, the capital gain tax rate is a maximum of 19.5% of the net gain. In Quebec, the maximum taxable gain would be 24%, and in Ontario it is 23%. (Must be nice to live in the oil patch!) SM

Can you Defer the U.S. Capital Gains Tax? This is another area where there is much misinformation circulating, an area known in the business as the Like-Kind Exchange. Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 provides that the capital gain tax payable upon the sale of real estate may be deferred should the seller purchase another similar real property within a prescribed delay. Certain U.S. professionals, such as REALTORS , attorneys and CPAs, have suggested to Canadians that the foregoing capital gain deferment plan is applicable to the Canadian resident selling a personal U.S. vacation home, should he/she purchase another similar one within the prescribed delay. There are specialty firms that handle these types of “like-kind exchanges�. There is no IRS approval procedure required. R

But guess what? The IRS Code Section 1031 "like-kind exchange" does NOT work for Canadians for the following reasons: You must bebe a U.S. resident You must a U.S. resident. It must bebe a property with thethe purpose of investment It must a property with purpose of investment. TheThe Canadian capital gain Canadian capital gaintaxtaxis ispayable payableanyway, anyway,sosodeferring deferringthe thetax tax on on the the U.S. U.S. side side simply means losing the the foreign creditcredit against the Canadian capitalcapital gain tax. That simply means losing foreign against the Canadian gain tax.means That double taxation! means double taxation! So, even if the Canadian resident was able to defer the tax under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, it would ultimately turn into double taxation. That's because the Canadian capital gain tax would be payable to the Canada Revenue Agency upon the sale, and the U.S. capital gain would be deferred and then payable upon the subsequent sale of the exchanged property. So, please, beware of this type of information that works great for American residents but not for Canadians!

With over thirty years of combined legal experience, Altro & Associates, LLP is a boutique law firm providing sophisticated cross border tax, estate planning and real estate legal services to high net worth individuals. We have offices in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Phoenix, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota and Naples. Our firm regularly represents Canadians who have U.S. assets, Canadians with adult children in the U.S., Canadians moving to the U.S as well as Americans in Canada. We work together with investment advisors, accountants, attorneys, wealth managers and other professionals to develop and implement the best possible Tax and Estate Plan for the client. Cross border tax estate planning and real estate involves many complex issues and typically requires at least two firms involved, one with Canadian expertise and the other with U.S. expertise. At Altro & Associates, LLP we have Canadian and U.S. attorneys and notaries with deep Cross Border expertise to provide practical planning and recommendations and the implementation of the plan in accordance with the laws of the appropriate jurisdiction.

CROSS BORDER ESTATE PLANNING

Declaring the Gain to Canada Revenue Agency A Canadian resident is obligated to declare her worldwide gains or losses wherever they may occur. Accordingly, the above sale must be reported on the Canadian income tax return of the Canadian resident/seller. Here's how it works: You file your Canadian income tax return, all the U.S. numbers are the same - although converted to Canadian dollars.

FLORIDA HOMES MAGAZINE

65


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Florida Homes Magazine Vol 2 Issue 2  

Your guide to Gulf Coast luxury and lifestyle

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