SW Florida Real Estate Tour

Thank you everyone that tuned into my Hometalk LIVE Facebook tour of Flip 3. It was so fun interacting with many of my readers and meeting so many other people from other states and countries! It was such a neat experience!

I recently returned from SW Florida, and let me tell you….I’ve never had a better Monday!


I just love the southern part of Florida. By heart, I’m a snowbird, and I just can’t get enough of their beaches. I stayed in a smaller town near Sarasota called Venice. If you’re looking for a cute town full of old-town shops, amazing beaches, and 15 minute drive to Sarasota, Venice is perfect.

Even though this wasn’t a work trip, I made sure to squeeze in some work related research! What else would a vacationing Realtor do but visit open houses and model homes?! I love exploring new markets and discovering what is and IS NOT trending in those markets. Needless to say, the SW Florida market is entirely different than NW Arkansas.


I’m sure many of you have rented homes with VRBO, and I have several times before. I discovered this spacious home on the golf course and lake on VRBO, and it was even better in person! I know some people have been burnt using VRBO, but I’ve always had wonderful experiences!

I’ve obviously been investing in primary residences in NWA to pay off student loans, but I’m [FINALLY] nearing the finish line on that, so I’ve been debating about my next real estate investment endeavor. While my parents really like the world of rentals, I just don’t have the desire to tackle that. But, I’ve been really curious lately about purchasing a 2nd home–a vacation home–but utilizing VRBO to rent it out for most of the year. I’m not sure that I’m sold on that option, but I wanted to do some research while in SW Florida.


It’s pretty much standard that every house has a pool—which is honestly my love language! Due to critters–like alligators that live in the lake behind this pool!–it’s also standard to have pool cages. Every house we saw had a pool cage. Some are screened in and some are glassed in.


Venice, in particular, is full of country clubs and golf courses, so many of the homes either sit on the golf course or within viewing distance. Also, many of the neighborhoods surround lakes–which usually have alligators!


I spent most of Sunday touring open houses. While we have open houses here in NWA, it’s nothing like down there. Streets were full of them and lots of people were touring them. I found one particular home that I fell IN LOVE with and if I could have, I would have written the check right then and there. Unfortunately, it was $400,000…almost $200 sq/ft. Let me tell you, NWA market is great but it’s not $200 sq/ft yet!


Maybe it’s because I love The Golden Girls so much ,but I seriously loved this etched glass door! I was sold before I ever even walked through the door!


Many of the homes, including this one, had direct view of the pools from the second you opened the door. It made the space look like it was never ending! This space had been very tastefully upgraded with modern neutrals and no carpet.


This glass cage pool area had a fountain, separate pool area bathroom, and lots of lounging space. Not to mention, those palm trees! I could look at palm trees all day, every day!


I encountered a new concept I’ve never heard of in real estate. We toured what they called a duplex, but it wasn’t attached to the other living quarter. It reminded me more of a shotgun style house–very long and narrow. But what was odd is that when you purchase the home, you only own from the sheetrock in. Everything outside of the sheetrock {stucco, 2x4s, grass, roof, landscaping, driveway, etc) you DON’T own. We don’t even have anything kind of similar to that here–unless it’s a condo. From how the Realtor explained it, the POA (or deed restrictions) “control” everything else, and your dues cover lawn maintenance and utilities. In this particular neighborhood, the dues ran about $400/month…on top of your mortgage payment.


And I’m hoping some of you guys can help solve this riddle…in the $400,000 house I really wanted to buy, the cabinets were beautiful. They were high gloss white cabinets, but upon closer inspection, the exterior was not wood–but it wasn’t cheap laminate. The inside of the door was wood, but there was almost like a heated on cover–pretty thick– that made the exterior feel like plastic or fiberglass? I don’t know how to describe them and the Realtor knew nothing about them, but they were great! Extremely durable, low maintenance, and the high gloss looked fabulous! I’d love to know what the process or material is called, so if you happen to know–please pass it on!


If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen this picture before. This master bathroom was in a model home I toured, and I wanted to get my readers’ opinions on this bold wallpaper. Overwhelmingly, you all did NOT like it. But, it’s very tame compared to the laundry room!

I know that wallpaper is making a comeback with a vengeance, but I just can’t get on board with it. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent too many countless days/nights/weekends cursing and peeling wallpaper to ever put someone else through that!


People don’t do tile roofs here in NWA, but, gosh, I think they’re just charming. I saw several colors of them- clay, white, brown, tan, and gray. We toured a planned community, and many of the houses were really designed and decorated well. Although, I always think of white and bright for Florida houses, many of these had warmer tones.


Most of the single family homes that we looked at had higher end finishes, and none of them were fixer uppers. If I ever tackled one down there, I’m not sure it would be at the level of my typical fixer uppers, but I wouldn’t mind doing some minor updating. Although, turn-key in another state has its appeal too!


One of my favorite accents was this variation of the standard board and batten. I’m a total sucker for board and batten, and I know I HAVE to put it in one of my flips soon. But I loved the angled boards in this design–just slightly different than the standard, but I loved the effect.


If you live in the southern part of Florida, let me hear your tips! I’m really, really drawn to the Venice area, but I want to hear about your expertise in the Florida markets. What was your experience?  Does anyone own a vacation home that they utilize for VRBO or similar? Have you had a good experience? I need all of your thoughts and tidbits!





6 thoughts on “SW Florida Real Estate Tour

  1. Venice is a cute town but if you are looking for bungalow flips try Daytona Beach. It has lots of run down bungalows just begging to be fixed. You would probably get some good deals.

  2. The wainscoting looks to me to be right out of the barn door fad, just not beaten with a chain, a hammer and sanded for a worn effect!

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