Alta Vista and Paver Park are two neighborhoods that are closer to downtown. The homes in these areas range in terms of age (many built in the 1950s, but some have been renovated), as well as price. As for what is around there, you will find grocery stores (Publix), banks, gas stations, and restaurants. The best thing is that you are only minutes from downtown at these locations.
The old railroad tracks run on the south and west borders of Paver Park. This means that if Sarasota completely connects the Legacy Trail, it should one day connect to Paver Park. This would mean miles of biking and walking trails in Paver Park and connecting to Alta Vista. Good thing for you is that if you aren't planning a move until at least a year from now, you will be able to monitor any changing plans to Legacy Trail and then make the decision as to if Paver Park and Alta Vista are locations that you would consider. Also, Alta Vista provides a very good elementary school system. As a matter of fact, the fourth graders at Alta Vista created a mural for the Sarasota Chalk Festival that took place the past week.
I took a look, just to see what was available in Paver Park and Alta Vista and there were only two active listings in those areas: http://mfr.mlxchange.com/DotNet/Pub/EmailView.aspx?r=1134269
As for your question about rent in Lido... There are condos there (under 1,000 sf) that are available to rent for under $1,500.
Here are some rental sites that I recommend:
My Florida Homes - http://myfloridahomesmls.com/
Ebay Classifieds â€“ http://www.ebayclassifieds.com/
Florida Rental Ads â€“ http://www.floridarentalads.com/
Real Rentals â€“ http://www.realrentals.com/
Rentals.com â€“ http://www.rentals.com
Rent Range â€“ http://www.rentrange.com
Vacation Rentals by Owner â€“ http://www.vrbo.com
Sarasota Herald Tribune - http://www.heraldtribune.com/
Sun Herald â€“ http://www.sunnewspapers.net
Craigslist â€“ http://www.craigslist.com
Please let me know if you have other questions or if there is another way that I can assist.
Sarasota is widely known for its artistic culture and some of the best beaches in the US (Siesta Key was the #1 Beach according to Dr. Beach rankings in 2011). There are also many great parks in Sarasota. If you like the outdoors, Sarasota has many good, scenic walking trails including Red Bug Slough Preserve (off of Beneva Road), Oscar Scherer State Park, and Myakka State Park (20 miles southeast of Sarasota) -- Just to name a few.
As for neighborhoods that offer a "small town feel with an energetic vibe," I would recommend you visit Sarasota and take a look at the different areas so that you can be the judge of the area. What I consider small town and energetic, you might not. On the whole, Sarasota has the amenities of a big city with a small town feel.
Since you are looking for guidance, I am happy to offer up my suggestion on starting points for you.
The closer you live to downtown, the more of the "arts" culture you will get to experience. That's not to say that you won't find it in other areas, it's just that downtown Sarasota has events, such as the Chalk Festival or the Arts Fair on Main Street that offers that artist vibe. Now, you can find properties in or near downtown that are in your price range, but you will be looking at more condos rather than single family homes.
You might also want to try Gulf Gate. This is a neighborhood that is south of Clark Rd and between Beneva and US 41 and is in very close proximity to the Siesta Key Beaches. This area is close to shopping, the mall, the beach, and is about a 10-15 minute drive to downtown. Gulf Gate is unique in that it has its own nightlife section, full of bars, cafes, restaurants, etc. The "nightlife" in Gulf Gate is isolated from the neighborhood, so you won't be interrupted in the middle of the night, but it is close enough so that you can enjoy a night out and be close to home. I would consider Gulf Gate a very walkable area with its many sidewalks and tree lined streets.
You could find a home in your price range that is in the Southgate area, as well. Southgate is in central Sarasota, closer to the art scene in downtown and the beach (about a 10 minute drive to both). As Tammy mentioned, Southgate (roughly) goes from Bahia Vista to Bee Ridge and is between Tuttle and Beneva.
If you are not turned off by the idea of a villa or condo, Palmer Ranch could even be an option. It would be difficult to find a home in the $175,000 range in Palmer Ranch. Palmer Ranch is a nice development that is south of Clark Road to Preymore and between Beneva and I-75. This is a very walkable community, though the prices on properties are higher than what you are looking for right now. Palmer Ranch is a planned development, made up of many deed restricted and non-deed restricted neighborhoods.
These are some areas to get you started. Based on the type of lifestyle you mentioned (small town feel, energetic, arts vibe) I would stick to Sarasota. While many cities around Sarasota are very nice, such as Venice, they don't offer you the lifestyle that you seem to desire. Venice does not offer the same artistic culture as Sarasota, nor does it have the variety of entertainment that Sarasota does.
Sarasota is known for the Player's Theater, the Ringling Museum, Mote Aquarium, and other theatrical and music venues that make this city so great.
Doing the initial research for home searching can be very difficult. I recommend that you visit the area and go around to see each of these areas so that you can hone in on what area you like best.
If you would like more information about properties or areas, want to see any properties/areas, have any other questions, or if there is something else that I can do to help you, please let me know.
I am happy to share my knowledge with you.
In the meantime, please visit sarasota.suncoasteam.com to conduct your own free search. We offer FREE access to the MLS so that you can search for properties. We do not take any of your personal information and do NOT require you to sign up or have an account with us. It is totally free.
If you like older, ranch style homes from the 60's - 70's, the Forest Lakes Country Club and South Gate areas are an option. These would be zip codes 34231 and 34239, south of Bahia Vista & north of Bee Ridge, running mainly from the Beneva Road area to west of Tuttle Ave. Families like this area for the more reasonable home prices, larger yards, you're close to Arlington Park with it's pools and recreational facilities (playground, gym, basketball & raquetball courts, tennis courts, walking trail), plus home owners in the actual South Gate neighborhood can join the voluntary HOA & pay just under $100 a year to have access to the community center and pool. The area is also a reasonably close drive to the north Siesta Key bridge and one of the area malls. Nearer to Arlington Park you'll find a mixture of home styles -- ranch, cottage, bungalow and 50's Modern styles. Most of this area does not have deed restrictions or HOAs.
Just east of I 75, south off of Bee Ridge is Lake Sarasota. Lake Sarasota has a mixture of 60's thru new homes, but most were built in the 1980's and have the more modern floor plans with split bedrooms and master suites with walk-in closets. The larger yards, reasonable prices are what make this neighborhood popular with families, although you are farther from the beaches.
Gulf Gate (34231) south of Clark Road and running between Beneva and US41, has older ranch style homes on larger lots. Gulf Gate has a mixture of families and retirees who like the location, close to shopping (2 malls) and the south Siesta Key bridge. Gulf Gate does have a HOA, dues are very reasonable, deed restrictions were put in place in the 1960's so not nearly as restrictive as newer subdivisions.
Rentals frequently pop up in the South Gate and Gulf Gate areas on the various rental web sites. Some owners just stick "for rent" signs in the yards. Others put ads in the local paper, the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Green Lion Realty
There are two websites for you to review:
The first website allows you to insert a zip code or neighborhood and see the crimes stats. The latter is a dynamic site and public forum where you can read and post questions regarding the area.
The real estate market, both sales and rental market are extremely active and if you are out of the area attempting to research the neighborhoods price points will fluxtuate based upon the ebb and flow of buyer demand.
If you work with an agent then you will be able to obtain more specific information.
Brock Realty Inc.
If you would like to search the MLS like an agent, visit our website and sign up for your free Listing Book account. This powerful search program allows you to set up your personal homefinder criteria and save your favorite homes, follow recent solds all in real time! Find the home youâ€™re searching for quickly.
I have just heard of Paver Park and Alta Vista as being potential locations that fit my description. Does anyone have feedback on either or anything else similar to them?
And one more question, is Lido beach area out of my reach rent-wise?
Yep, sounds like you should consider including and visiting the Venice area in your search. It's centrally located: 20-25 minutes from Sarasota, one hour and fifteen minutes to Tampa, less than 2 hours to Disney, an hour to Ft. Myers, etc. Your personal description fit the area perfectly.......
I'd be happy to share additional information upon request.
Michael Saunders & Company
Re/Max alliance Group