Canadian looking to purchase a vacation home...

Asked by Gef_m, Sarasota, FL Sun Jan 26, 2014

Hello. My wife and I have decided that we would like to start looking for a simple vacation home in Florida. We have decided that in/around Sarasota is where we want to be. We both know Sarasota and like the general area. Basically, we’re looking for something that we can travel down to when we want but don’t nee i to be a palace. We don’t want a condo/townhouse as we don’t want to be paying condo fees and HOA fees the rest of our lives. We also have 2 large dogs which on a rare occasion my come with us and Condos wouldn’t allow them. We are mid 40's/early 50's in age and make a modest income. We don't want anything extravagant. We've been looking at a few homes that are priced around $40k-80K which would fit in our budget. I'm in the construction industry and therefore am not afraid of a place needing some work. I've been reading up on Short Sales and now understand a little more about them and their potential headaches. (more to follow...)

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Diane Christ…, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Mon Jan 27, 2014

There are some neighborhoods within Sarasota that might have something within your price range if you are willing to consider smaller, 2 bedroom homes.

There are a number of neighborhoods that are popular neighborhoods with both renters and buyers and may have something within your budget, although some of the properties may need work. These would include South Gate (34239 & 34231), South Gate Ridge (34233), Sun Haven (34231), Sarasota Springs/ Ridgewood/ Brentwood, Colonial Gables (34232), Alta Vista (34237 & 34239), Paver Park (34237), Kensington Park & Desoto Lakes (34235). The Sarasota Springs and South Gate Ridge neighborhoods are further east of the beaches. Gulf Gate, Sun Haven and parts of South Gate would put you closest to the Siesta Key bridges. Woods of Whitfield (34243) is north of the airport so closer to St Armands and Lido beach.

Just south of Sarasota - Nokomis, Osprey and Venice may also provide affordable options. Nokomis & Osprey are very close to south Sarasota, Venice will be a longer commute to Sarasota. North Port, 30 miles to the south of Sarasota, does offer more homes in the $80k price range, but keep in mind that if you want to enjoy the shopping, restaurants, events, etc of Sarasota it is a 60 mile round trip to North Port. Many of the cheaper options there are also on well and septic tanks.

Within your price range you might also look into Bradenton - NW Bradenton has a number of more affordable options, Bayshore Gardens in SW Bradenton is another neighborhood to consider.

I understand you are not looking to select a real estate agent now, but if you do have questions about neighborhoods or would like me to suggest more options than I have listed here, please drop me an email. I have helped a number of Canadians purchase property in our area and know the ins and outs.


Diane Christner, Realtor, GRI, SFR
Realty Executives Solutions
Sarasota, FL
cell: (941) 726-7109
2 votes
Tammy Hayes, Agent, Port Charlotte, FL
Mon Jan 27, 2014
I can provide you with a detailed description of short sales and bank foreclosures. I have worked with Canadian buyers and can provide you with some assistance and can send you information about buying a home in this area of Florida. You may want to look in southern Sarasota County in North Port. You would be able to find a home within your price range in that area. Right now short sales and bank foreclosures are selling pretty close to the price of normal sales, so you should be looking at all of your options. I would be happy to help you or answer additional questions you may have.

Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Re/Max Palm Realty
2 votes
Randy and Vi…, Agent, Punta Gorda, FL
Tue Jan 28, 2014
Here is a link to some homes in the Venice and North Port area from the MLS, that might interest you. Venice and North Port are both in the southern part of Sarasota County and as a general rule the prices a going to be lower than in Sarasota. Many of the homes do need varying degrees of work as you can see by some of the photos. I'd be happy to email additional properties as they come up for sale, just contact me with you email address. Thanks, Vicki

P.S. I've also included a link below to a really handy interactive map that will help you identify the different areas, it's a great tool.…,cfips,015,c…

Vicki Biehl, Realtor
Century 21 Aztec & Associates
“No Transaction Fees”
1 vote
Andy Richard…, , Sarasota, FL
Mon Jan 27, 2014
Gef_m, You've gotten some great feedback on here already. Like some others have said, it will be difficult to find something in that price range, but if you are willing to do the work, you can certainly find the project. .... If you would like FREE MLS access (no sign up or registration required), please visit ..... and just to elaborate on short sales......If you are interested in a property that is listed as a short sale (behind in mortgage payments, pre-foreclosure, code words: Listing Price may or may not be sufficient to cover all encumbrances, closing cost, or other seller charges and sale of Property at full listing price may be conditioned upon approval of third parties), please be aware that the seller must obtain approval from his bank to sell the property. Negotiating with a bank can be quite complicated and requires a great deal of patience. Often there are additional expenses involved such as tax implications. The seller negotiates with the bank and you will be notified if they have come to an agreement. That usually takes more than one month and it can take over four months. .............. If you would like to speak or need more info, please contact me 941-276-5997 or
1 vote
michael beni…, Agent, bradenton, FL
Mon Jan 27, 2014
In Sarasota you can buy a home for that price but it will not be very nice just being honest you should consider going a little bit away from here North Port Palmetto, get more for your money in some of the smaller towns. Sarasota is expensive it has a lot to offer. If you want I can send you homes from the entire county to view I need your email to do it.

Michael Beninato
cell: 941-4749-2777(2SRQ)
1 vote
Ronald Gerdes, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Sun Jan 26, 2014
I would honored to be your realtor of choice from the great country of Canada. I am originally from Minnesota and spent over 25 years of my vacations in the Minaki, Ontario area, northeast of Kenora.
We can work together on the best time to buy in the U.S. when the exchange rate favors the Canadians. I work full 10 hour days 7days a week to make sure your winter home on the Florida Sun Coast fulfills all your dreams.
1 vote
mrphillipsmx, Both Buyer And Seller, Mexico, MO
Wed May 21, 2014
One other option to consider is the Mexican Caribbean, specially Puerto Aventuras, this is the site for a very nice place
0 votes
Gef_m, Home Buyer, Sarasota, FL
Thu Jan 30, 2014
Thank you all for your replies and links. I will be sure to contact you when the time to purchase gets closer. I'm still a little ways off before I can do this and still have homework to do with regards to finding the best area. I will be down in November 2014 and will be sure to find and talk to you with hopes of finding an agent.

I am pretty sure though that Venice would probably be the furthest South we want to look and probably no further North than Bradenton.

Thanks again, Geoff
0 votes
Gef_m, Home Buyer, Sarasota, FL
Sun Jan 26, 2014
My questions are...If a listing shows "Bank Owned" but not "Short Sale”, what is the difference between the 2? Is it more difficult for a Canadian to purchase and insure a Florida home? I understand that a foreigner pays more in tax; is there an average % that can be considered when looking at the property tax for a certain home. I’ve noticed a few homes in Vamo; is this a decent area of Sarasota? I will be working with an agent when we get closer to our time to purchase but we don’t have one yet and appreciate any answers and additional info anyone can provide. Thanks, Geoff
0 votes
Thanks Bejamin and Ronald for snswer the short sale question.
Flag Thu Jan 30, 2014
A bank owned or REO is a home that has completed the foreclosure process and is now in the possession of the lender itself. A short sale is when a lender is willing to forgive an amount, with their approval, between the value of the home and what is still owed on the balance of the loan. It provides the homeowner a chance to sell the home and to avoid foreclosure. This is the nutshell version.

If you would send me an email, I would be glad to provide you with some important links to assist you in researching our area. As a Realtor we are bound by our license with the inability to speak of certain aspects, but these links can help you find those answers. I would also suggest using Google Earth to get a feel for what an area looks like. Florida is a Homestead state and anyone who cannot designate their Florida home as a primary residence will pay higher property taxes because you do not receive the exemption and also do not have a cap. Again the nutshell version.
Flag Mon Jan 27, 2014
When a home owner has a mortgage with the unpaid balance more than the value of his home and wants to sell the home, it is considered a 'Short Sale.'
The home owner must have a document signed by his mortgage lender giving him/her authorization to sell the home for less than the balance of the mortgage. If the home owner discontinues making payments on the home, the mortgage lender forecloses on the mortgage and becomes the holder of a Deed to the property.

I would be glad to work with you on the timing of your transaction in the United States. We would want to watch the exchange rate between the Canadian dollar the and U.S. dollar. When the Canadian dollar is worth more than the U.S. Dollar, it would be the time to close on the property here in Florida. The amount of property tax is determined by whether you homestead the property. Homesteading means it is your primary residence.
Flag Sun Jan 26, 2014
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