United Country Real Estate | Gulfland Real Estate is positioned to best accomplish buyers and sellers lifestyle and investment property goals. Our team in Southwest Florida is eager to assist and we encourage you to contact us today.
We provide real estate services for Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, as well as the throughout Southwest Florida and a growing list of communities, attractions, activities to give you the best real estate choices available.
Stretching from Sarasota/Bradenton to the north down Florida's Southwest Coast to the Everglades, this area includes Punta Gorda, Boca Grande, Arcadia, Lakewood Ranch, Babcock Ranch, Barrier Islands. Its home to dozens of delightful tropical Gulf Islands, small historic towns found inland and unique wilderness destinations.
Whether you are looking for the best beaches, eco-tourism, parks & recreation, shopping, fishing or dining and entertainment, you'll find it all here. It's also an ideal place to just kick back and relax.
United Country | Gulfland Real Estate, will specialize in coastal and waterfront properties, farmland, golf properties, ranches and citrus properties in Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties. The real estate professionals bring years of experience and an extensive background in the business to the buyers and sellers in Southwest Florida. “There are a lot of people in the 50 mile radius surrounding us and there are so many different types of properties. It’s a cool mix,” said Martin. “I’m looking forward to offering our services to those who are selling or buying these specific property types and who want superior marketing and customer service.” United Country | Gulfland Real Estate offers an advertising reach unmatched by other real estate offices in our communities, including a unique website strategy of not only local office and agent websites, but also hundreds of national, state and regional top rated, owned and exclusive property type websites. This exclusive website strategy achieves top (page 1) results on Google searches when buyers from all over the world are looking for property found in this area.
The subtropical landscape of Southwest Florida has long attracted those seeking a second home. They are drawn to world-class golf courses, boating and water sports on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as fine restaurants and shops.
A variety of towns and cities line the coast — from laid-back Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach in Manatee County at the mouth of Tampa Bay, to the “Cultural Coast” of Sarasota; from Sanibel Island’s shell-rich beaches. The flavor, and even the weather, varies significantly from Bradenton to Naples. In Southwest Florida they brag that when a cold front blows through in winter, their temperatures are 10 or 15 degrees warmer.
Yet despite the threat of hurricanes, the cost of home insurance and other problems, about a thousand people move to Florida each day, many of them to Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and DeSoto Counties.
Linked by the Tamiami Trail (Route 41) , since the 1920’s and Interstate 75 since the 1980’s, the dominant cities are Sarasota are going north to Sarasota, where the prices are lower and the cultural amenities are more numerous.
Between these two pricey markets, Charlotte County is the affordable alternative. Bargain-seeking investors and second-home buyers discovered it after Hurricane Charley hit in August 2004. Waterfront prices are still half those found in Sarasota and Naples.
In booming Lee County, where real estate prices are lower overall than in both Sarasota and Naples, luxury golf-course communities seem to be going up on every corner in the southern half of the county. Fort Myers’s downtown, which is now undergoing a makeover, is attracting high-rise condominium developers. And once-sleepy Bonita Springs is sprouting luxury high-rises. Here’s how it looks, going from north to south:
A historic town where Hernando De Soto is said to have landed in 1539, Bradenton has a small-town feel, yet is just a 30-minute drive from the big-city amenities of Tampa and St. Petersburg to the north. A Saturday farmer’s market is held on Old Main Street, which has several restaurants. In March, the Pittsburgh Pirates move into McKechnie Field, a vintage ballpark, for spring-training baseball.
The Promenade at Riverwalk condominium project, with units from $405,000 to $751,000, links downtown to the Manatee River. Riverview Boulevard, which runs along the river, is west of downtown and has large homes on big lots with prices reaching close to $4 million. Bradenton’s disadvantage is that it is a seven-mile drive, sometimes taking 30 minutes, from downtown to the beaches of Anna Maria.
Anna Maria/Holmes Beach/Bradenton Beach
These coastal communities on Anna Maria Island have a beach-town feel. Prices range from $300,000 to $1.9 million for condos and $400,000 to $2.3 million for houses. Boating and water sports are the main attractions, and the beaches are wide and long. Bradenton Beach is not at all pretentious; witness these T-shirts in a boutique on Historic Bridge Street: “Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder,” and “Bradenton Beach: A quaint drinking village with a fishing problem.”
It is doubtful that buyers at the proposed Boca Del Mer condominiums will be picnicking with their families under the shady Australian pines at the nearby public beach — the 14 luxury units, in the ubiquitous Mediterranean revival style, will be priced from $1.7 million. But they will still be surrounded, at least for a while, by beach motels and rentals serving a different market.
Facing Bradenton on the north side of the Manatee River, Palmetto lies between the river and nearby Tampa Bay to the north. It does not have a wealthy reputation, and it is beach-less, but it is moving on up: A dolomite-mining pit has been converted into an 80-acre yacht basin with 400 slips at the Riviera Dunes development. It mixes new, water-view, mid-rise condominiums (Laguna at Riviera Dunes), two new high-rises (Bel Mare) and new luxury single-family homes. In downtown Palmetto, one can enjoy a stroll along the Manatee Riverwalk, past the 1899 J.A. Lamb House, a Queen Anne Victorian that was restored in 1996. Palmetto has the feel of a small, old Southern town that is on the rise.
Ellenton and Parrish
To the east on U.S. 301, the Ellenton and Parrish communities are booming with single-family home construction around Prime Outlets, a regional shopping destination. Homes here are among the most affordable, starting in the mid-$200,000’s. Residents in the new subdivisions going up around this rural village tend to be year-round families.
For those who want the golf lifestyle, East Manatee is appealing. At Heritage Harbour, houses in the golf-course community range from $300,000 to $800,000. Waterlefe Golf & River Club offers golf and “grand estate” homes of 4,600 to 5,800 square feet. Prices are about $2 million to $3 million. The golf course at the Concession, a new development, has been rated by the Florida State Golf Association as the toughest in the state. The Nicklaus family is developing an enclave of 33 houses there, Nicklaus Manor, priced in the mid-$2 millions. Nearby, the Ritz-Carlton Members Club gives members and guests of the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, a chance to play a Tom Fazio-designed golf course.
Lakewood Ranch is a 7,000-acre planned community. It attracts many seasonal residents with homes that range from low-rise condominiums to large new estates priced at up to $6 million. With 6,500 homes sold in its first 10 years, the Ranch is home to a number of professional athletes because it is a short commute for players with Tampa Bay’s three professional sports teams, and athletes in general like Florida’s lack of a state income tax. But perhaps the best-known celebrity resident is the bombastic college basketball commentator Dick Vitale. His 12,000-square-foot mansion on two lots in the Country Club section has been the scene of some notable fund-raising parties.
The 1,500-acre Lake Club is the newest addition. The clubhouse will house a day spa and a concierge.
Lakewood Ranch has two golf courses, one private and one public, both designed by Arnold Palmer. The new Main Street at Lakewood Ranch has attracted top restaurants and upscale retailers from nearby Sarasota.
Sarasota is the magnet that brings countless newcomers to the area for its sandy beaches, water sports in Sarasota Bay or the Gulf of Mexico, pristine golf courses and an arts scene that includes the respected Sarasota Opera, the Asolo Theater and the Sarasota Ballet of Florida.
“Sarasota is a small community where you know your neighbors, yet you have all the attributes of a much larger city “Second-home buyers are adventuresome,” They may have a vineyard in France, they may have something in the Hamptons, they have something in Sarasota. So it’s not unusual. It’s the same group.”
An ever-increasing variety of people from around the world are discovering Sarasota, and have been doing so since Bertha Palmer, a Chicago socialite, built a winter home here about 1910. John Ringling, the circus magnate, led the development boom of the 1920’s, and established the city as the winter quarters for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1927. Ringling died bankrupt in 1936, and the circus left for Venice 25 years later, but Sarasota’s image as the Circus City has faded only slowly. Upon Ringling’s death, the state of Florida inherited his museum (now the official state art museum) and his 22,000-square-foot Venetian palazzo on Sarasota Bay, Ca’ d’Zan.
Sarasota has a booming downtown with new condo towers dramatically altering the skyline. The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market on Lemon Avenue at Main Street is the place to be seen. Crescent Beach (Siesta Public Beach) has fine white sand, like powdered sugar.
Sarasota has been described by Money magazine as the “best small city in America,” and by Fortune as the most romantic city for well-off older singles. It is difficult to find a new downtown condominium priced below $600,000, but some units, needing to be rehabbed, in older buildings along Gulf Stream Avenue can be had for about $400,000.
South of downtown, the area known as “West of the Trail” is much sought-after, with bayfront neighborhoods, like Harbor Acres and Cherokee Park, among the most prestigious. Between the bayfront at St. Armands Key is Bird Key, an island dredged and filled by Arvida in 1960. It has some of the most opulent new waterfront mansions in town, listed at $9.5 million.
East of Sarasota, the Founders Club is a new upscale golf community of 262 homes, averaging $1.5 million to $2 million, with a top-rated course by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Longboat Key/Lido Key/St Armands
These barrier islands are the prime locations for Gulf-front real estate. Longboat Key has a combination of elite estate homes and condominiums on both the beach and the bay shore. On Longboat, there is not much on the market below $1 million. New condo projects are being built where hotels or estate homes have been torn down. One of them is Positano, where the Holiday Inn once stood; luxury units are priced from about $3 million.
Realtors estimate that 80 percent of the Longboat market is made up of part-time residents — second- or third-home buyers or sellers. “It’s staggering the few people who are here in the summer,”. “Almost everybody goes some other place. Come out here at night and you’ll see my light and two others.”
Lido Key is the better key for beach-going and shopping. Lido Beach, offering hard-packed sand for joggers and brilliant sunsets, is close to downtown Sarasota and has plenty of free parking, while the adjacent St. Armands Key offers the Met spa, Hemingway’s and the Columbia restaurants, many upscale boutiques and a number of T-shirt shops.
Lido Beach Toward South Lido Park, wealthy second-home shoppers will find two new points of interest: the Ritz-Carlton’s Beach Residences and U.S. Assets Group’s Orchid Beach Club, priced from $1.7 million. They stand alongside a number of older condo towers, including L’Elegance.
Settlement of this large barrier island started in earnest around 1910, when boats were the major mode of transportation on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Known as Sarasota Key at the time, the name became Siesta when the island established a reputation as a place to go to rest and relax. Over the years, artists and writers, including the painter Syd Solomon and John D. McDonald, the novelist, made the key into something of a colony for the creative. While the north end of the island is strictly single-family, with prices in the $500,000’s for canal-front homes and well into the millions on the beach and bay, condominiums line Crescent Beach both north and south of the village.
Connected to the mainland by an ancient, one-lane, steel swing bridge, Casey Key is an enclave for the very wealthy. A single road, barely wide enough for two cars to pass safely, winds past grand estate homes of 10,000 square feet or more and a few remaining beach cottages. The key is skinny as a snake, but it is fairly high, so it has largely survived the pounding from the passing tropical storms. The most coveted estates cross the island from Gulf to bay, and prices of $3 million, $5 million and more are common; the record sale is $9 million. Stephen King and Martina Navratilova have homes here. Off the key in Osprey, the Oaks Club on U.S. 41 offers elegant, upscale living and a first-rate golf course to go with a stately Georgian clubhouse. It was South County’s first high-end golf-course community, and remains one of the most prestigious in the region. Prices in the millions are common.
Downtown Venice is known as “island of Venice” because it is separated from the rest of the mainland by a man-made canal that is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. It is a delightful place for strolling because of John Nolen’s 1920’s, pedestrian-friendly street layout. The island has shops and restaurants, and lacks the pretension that can be felt in other wealthy towns along the Gulf Coast. Venice Avenue is the main street and as it gets closer to the Gulf, it becomes a divided boulevard separated by a park for walkers and joggers. The city has mandated that downtown buildings be built in the Mediterranean revival style.
Once considered a place for value-priced real estate, the island has seen home prices soar in recent years. Off the island and east of town, Venetian Golf & River Club offers new homes priced from $400,000 to $900,000.
This long barrier island draws people who want seclusion in a natural setting with abundant wildlife.
“It’s about the only place left on the west coast that resembles the Old Florida and the way that it used to be back in the 1940’s and 1950’s — the trees and the way people have kept things natural,” said “There are not so many mega-mansions, which we love. It makes it very private and makes it very special.”
The northern half is almost exclusively dotted with houses on large sites, some with Gulf-to-bay views, priced from $1.5 million to $7.5 million. Zoning prohibits condominiums. There are many homes on the market just south of the public beach.. “There’s no rhyme or reason to that,” “That will happen from time to time. There’s no unusual beach erosion there or any negative things going on in the neighborhood that would cause people to want to sell.”
The rules are much less strict on the south end in Charlotte County, where condos and rental lodging are plentiful.
With several low-rise condominiums and beach rentals, it’s closer to the mainland town of Englewood and has a family-friendly atmosphere with casual shops and restaurants.
Manasota Key is also home to the Hermitage, an artists’ retreat housed in vintage cottages. International artists are invited to live, work and share with the local community for months at a time.
This is traditional coastal Florida, with relatively low waterfront prices to boot. Here there are two waterways, Lemon Bay and the Myakka River, that are excellent for fishing, and Dearborn Street, a charming area devoid of chain stores. West of Dearborn Street is a village-like cluster of older ranch homes. Some of them are on the shore of Lemon Bay with barrier-island views. Currently a home on the market here is listed for $1.1 million.
“Englewood is still that Old Florida. It’s more laid-back. In old Englewood, your views are probably the biggest views on the Intracoastal for miles,” “People don’t just stumble across it. You’ve got to get off the beaten path to find it, and once you do, it’s charming.”
Charlotte County/Punta Gorda
With its elderly population — 33 percent are 65 or older — and modest housing stock, Charlotte County has always had a reputation as a haven for retirees on fixed incomes. But prices are rising as riverfront and canal-front areas are redeveloped. The pace of redevelopment has quickened since Hurricane Charley in 2004, with the modest older waterfront houses being replaced by more expensive new ones. Unincorporated Port Charlotte, north of Charlotte Harbor, is growing, but plenty of empty lots are still available, left over from the 1960’s development boom. But with its strip-mall lined U.S. 41, it lacks the charm of Punta Gorda, the county seat.
On the south side of the Peace River, Punta Gorda has a delightful historic district along Marion Avenue just west of downtown. Residents enjoy the parks along the river on either side of U.S. 41. The wide, shallow Charlotte Harbor, still lined with plenty of undeveloped shoreline, is renowned as a magnet for sport fishermen.
In Florida, few towns are more secluded and unchanging than Boca Grande. At the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande is on remote Gasparilla Island. Wealthy people go to Boca Grande to be themselves, and the locals let them. No gawkers, no paparazzi, just the elite riding around on golf carts. Although the island has seen development on the south and north ends, the historic town of Boca Grande remains firmly in the past — a very rich past. Privacy is highly valued. For visitors, the century-old Gasparilla Inn is a vintage hotel with guest cottages and a reputation for attracting aristocratic guests. But it speaks to the seasonal nature of the community that the Inn is closed during the summer tarpon season. Boca Grande’s deep-water pass is home to “The World’s Richest” tarpon tournament in June.
Boca Grande real estate prices are among the region’s highest north of Charlotte Harbor. Its not unusual to find a $6 million listing on the Gulf; the top of the market is $16 million. Even the old wooden cottages in the historic downtown district have been rebuilt virtually board by board and are selling for a half-million dollars. With condos from $700,000 to $1.7 million and houses from $600,000 to $6.5 million, an oft-heard lament is, “The billionaires are chasing off the millionaires.” The other big problem on the island: What to do about the iguanas, once a charming oddity when few in number, but now a nuisance.
You don’t earn the title of Florida’s Best Hometown Dining unless you know a thing or two about recipes. And here in DeSoto County, that includes the recipe for the perfect travel package.
It starts with the right ingredients: Like variety the whole family will love, from fun under the sun - boating, swimming, canoeing, camping, golfing - to the city delights of treasure hunting in Florida’s Best Antiquing Town, feasting your eyes on our historic architecture and yes, simply feasting on our award-winning dining.
Come for a day, a week, or a week-end. Stay in a historic inn, or a charming b&b. Take home a trophy - a century-old Tiffany vase, perhaps, or a two-thousand-year-old shark tooth from our fossil-rich river beds. Maybe you’d enjoy Florida’s oldest rodeo, or our exotic animal refuge. Of one thing you can be sure: Life is always sunny side up, here in a natural paradise and a friendly city steeped in history and charm.
So take a look over our menu of options to find the just-right blend of fun and relaxation, and always unbeatable hospitality, that’s exactly to your taste.