There’s an App for that! Track the Free Island Trolley with the myStop App

The day where you can track the Island trolley in real-time is finally here! There is now a phone application, called myStop, that will provide you with real-time Anna Maria Island trolley info. The days of guessing your pickup time are over with this FREE app you can download easily.

myStop Mobile is an awesome tool to get trolley stop details, and to see if the trolley is on time or late to its next stop. Make sure you pick the “5 AMI Trolley” option to get our specific trolley’s information. A map will display stop locations – remember that north destinations pick up on the east side of the road and south destinations pick up on the west side.

If you for some reason don’t have a smart phone on you, but are near a computer, juts visit this site to view the trolley info/times.

As if the free trolley here on Anna Maria Island could get any better! Tip from a local: make sure you have your shoes ON, not just in your beach bag when getting on the trolley, the drivers are very strict!

Dog Park at Central Park in Holmes Beach

If you have traveled to AMI with your furry friend before, you have probably been to the dog park before! But if you and your dog are Island newbie’s, you may not be aware of the small dog park in Holmes Beach.

Let me give you the run down. There is a park on Flotilla Drive in Holmes Beach called Central Park. Here, there is a small area just for dogs to run around and do dog stuff.

It’s nothing much, but there are benches to relax at and some shade. And with dogs being NOT PERMITTED on the Island beaches, it’s nice to have a place just for them.

*This park is managed by the City of Holmes Beach*

Market Update: Taxes!

Tis the season, Property Tax Season that is! I wanted to provide a little information on Anna Maria Island property taxes for this newsletter.  Let’s discuss the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice that is normally sent out Mid-August each year.  It is critical within a few days that you check your TRIM statement, as the deadline for appealing your property tax assessment is 25 days from the date of the notice.  For those that do not receive the TRIM notice real time I suggest you make arrangements to receive the TRIM notice electronically or late August sign in to ManateePAO.com to review your TRIM notice.  Over the years I have appealed my property assessment twice and have found compromise with the County both times.  Once using and attorney and once on my own.

Using an attorney to help is not inexpensive, the service can run $3,500 and up.  In most cases an attorney is utilized when a comprehensive market price analysis of similar properties is complicated, the building is newly erected AND the potential property tax savings exceeds the attorney fees.  In my case there were less than a handful of similar properties on Anna Maria Island and the market value of the property is a combination of income generation and real property value.  The attorney helped the most with the process of how to appeal however I would not suggest using an attorney if you want to save your own time on the appeal.  I found I did a great deal of the heavy lifting as it related to the analysis of comparing similar properties and making a case why the market value of my property was excessive. 

My second appeal was much less complicated so I handled the appeal on my own.  I would hazard a guess most Anna Maria Island owners can handle an appeal on their own if needed.  Reminder, your property taxes are calculated by taking millage rates multiplied by your Assessed value.  Millage rates are determined by local governments and are passed via public budget meetings you can attend.  The below process is to determine if your assessed value has been improperly estimated and should not be confused with the total proposed property tax increase.  Assessed value and property tax are apples and oranges.  Here is my suggested process for determining if an appeal is even worth your time: 

1. Compare your assessed value last year to this year as a percent increase.

2. Is your Anna Maria Island property Homestead? 

YES, then the assessed value increase is CAPPED by the 1995 Save Our Homes act.  Skip to #3

NO, ok likely you are seasonally renting your property so Homestead is not available.  Skip to #4

3. Congratulations, your assessed value is normally CAPPED around 3%.  The CAP DOES change from year to year based on the Consumer Price Index.   Is your year to year change more than the CAP?

If the answer is YES, Skip to #5. If the answer is NO, Skip to #6. 

4. Ok, your Anna Maria Island property is not homestead.  The challenge now at hand is to determine what the average increase is for most other Anna Maria Island similar properties.  You can do that by calling me, talking with a few friendly neighbors, or staying in tune with market appreciation on the island by reviewing our newsletters.  The most important part of this analysis is to ask if your assessed value percent increase from last year is within reason? 

If the answer is YES, skip to #6.    If the answer is NO then move to #5.

5. Ask yourself in the last 18 months or so, have you performed renovations to your property that required a permit?  For example, adding a pool, adding square footage under AC?  Permits add value and hence your assessed value may increase more than the CAP or more than your neighbors increased year over year assessment.  Renovations made?  Considering the cost of the added PERMIT value does your assessed value increase now make sense? 

If the answer is YES, Skip to #6. If the answer is NO, move to #7.

6. Move on to more productive matters like going to the beach.  Filing for an appeal this year will likely not be a productive exercise.

7. So after all your analysis your TRIM notice still seems to high.  Call (941) 741-4058 and with your percent increase of assessed value at hand ask for details on why the increase is so high this year.

I hope this information is of help.  Here is the 2019 TRIM supplement offered by the County. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to call me or your Anna Maria Island Sales professional.  We can help! 

Publix – Anna Maria Island Grocery store

Publix is located in central Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. It is the only major grocery store on Anna Maria Island. The prices are normally 5% more however most locals save a half an hour round trip off the island to visit the Publix found on 7310 Manatee Avenue in Bradenton, Fl.

Publix located on Anna Maria Island
Publix located in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island

Publix of Holmes Beach is located on 3900 East Bay drive next to CVS. You can load their mobile app to order deli orders or subs before-hand to make the most of your Anna Maria Island vacation. The lines for making sub sandwiches at lunch can get lengthy. Publix sells beer and has a large wine selection. They have typical deli selections with a small hot section usually including chicken nuggets, fried potato wedges, mac-n-cheese. They do not have a cold deli with salads etc.

For a quick visit, Publix offers pre-made salads, sandwiches, sushi and cold varieties of pasta salad, potato salad, etc. Publix of Anna Maria Island has a fairly large produce section, frozen section and all the staples you would need. Publix has a bakery where you can pick up bread or preorder cakes, they have a seafood section as well as a floral section. If you are looking for specialty items you may need to visit the off the island Publix which is significantly larger and offers more varieties of groceries but most of the time unless you are a chef you will find what you need at the local Publix.

Publix is on the free Anna Maria Island Trolly route if you want to leave your car at home or your vacation rental. Publix does offer grocery delivery visit the Publix page for more information.

Pharmacies on Anna Maria Island

Both Anna Maria Island pharmacies are in the central portion of Holmes Beach. You’ll find Walgreens at the corner of Gulf Drive and East Bay Boulevard. CVS is at the corner of Manatee Avenue and East Bay Boulevard. CVS also offers a one-hour photo center. Both CVS and Walgreen’s offer the normal variety of miscellaneous beauty supplies, minor groceries, and beach toys.

CVS
611 Manatee Avenue
Holmes Beach, Fl, 34217
(941) 778-1411
Store #: 3953

Walgreen’s
3248 East Bay Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 778-0451
Store# : 1801

Walgreens on Anna Maria Island
Walgreens in Holmes Beach, FL

November Sales Market Update

Hope everyone is enjoying the Fall? Thought it would be interesting to compare some details about single family real estate for each city on Anna Maria Island.

DEFINITIONS: “For Sale” column provides a snap shot of single family properties for sale In the corresponding city as of the middle of October. “Sold” column are number of single family properties sold in the last 12 months for each City. “Absorption” is a measure of how many months of inventory are on hand based on the sold pace for the last 12 months. “Percent of Market (Listed)” provides the percentage of total properties on Anna Maria Island listed and same with percent sold. So for example Bradenton Beach has 10% of the properties listed on all of Anna Maria Island currently and in the last 12 months Bradenton Beach represents 8% of the total number of single family homes sold on Anna Maria Island. “On Market” displays numbers of cumulative days on the market. “Average List – OCT 15th” is the average list price of the properties currently for sale in the middle of October. “Average Sold” provides the average sold price by city. “Average List” shows the average list price of the sold properties for the last 12 months and “average $/Sq ft is the average per square foot for all properties in the City sold in the last 12 months.

A few conclusions can be drawn from the above information. Firstly, Anna Maria City is a hotter market given the percent sold is significantly higher than the current percentage of inventory of properties for sale in Anna Maria City. This can also be drawn from 8 months of inventory on hand for Anna Maria City versus Holmes Beach at 10 months and Bradenton Beach of 12 months. Another important detail is while inventory absorption is 8-10 months, the time properties that have SOLD is much less, more like half that time, 4-5 months. This points us in the direction that properties that are priced right will sell much quicker.

Let’s dig more into the data of pricing property correctly. Using the same 202 single family properties that sold on Anna Maria Island in the last 12 months, I segregated the sold properties into sold within 6 months and sold after 6 months had elapsed. The data is very enlightening. There were 64 properties that sold beyond 6 months or almost 1/3 of all single family properties sold beyond 6 months. Average sale price was $1.119M, $501 per square foot and get this, the AVERAGE time the property sold, 292 days! 139 properties sold within 6 months or 2/3 of the inventory sold within 6 months, sold price is $1.076 M, $577 per sq ft and the AVERAGE time the property sold was 61 days!! That is two months. WOW! Almost an 8 month difference!

Of the current inventory for sale, about half has been on the market more than 6 months and half has been less.

Moral to the story, price your property right and on average it will sell in less than 2-3 months. Price it too high and the property may sell after 10 months. One caveat to make matters worse, currently half the single family properties for sale have been on the market 342 days. What does that mean? A seller that prices their property too high has a 50-50 shot at selling in 10 months, otherwise appears it could go much longer!

Mandatory Electronic System Travel Authorization for foreign travelers

In 2008 Congress enacted legislation to expand the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The new law required that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) develop an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to gather biographic information from nationals of the soon-to-be 34 VWP countries traveling to the U.S. in advance of their visit.

ESTA is mandatory for all VWP travelers beginning January 12, 2009. Information required through ESTA mirrors the data travelers already submit through the I-94W paper form currently filled out upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry; however, it simplifies the process by allowing visitors to complete the form online prior to arrival.

Question and Answers about the program

Sign of the Mermaid Anna Maria – CLOSED as of 2019

Open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner the Sign of the Mermaid Anna Maria offers a unique dining experience.

Sign of the Mermaid Anna Maria – Closed as of 2019

Sign of the Mermaid is located in the city Anna Maria on Gulf drive. The restaurant is in a quaint house renovated to accommodate dining guests.  Built in 1912 this restaurant is an old home. Creaking floors, artwork, and fabulous antiques are just a few of the items that define the decor of this unusual home.

The food

Meal at the Sign of the Mermaid Anna Maria tend to be larger. They offer seafood, pasta, chicken, lamb, steaks, wonderful appetizers, and out of this world desserts. For breakfast try out the Eggs Andrea. A delicious spin on a traditional Benedict. The dinner menu also has tons of classic favorites with a unique twist. Additionally, in season we recommend reservations, and the atmosphere accommodates children. Sign of the Mermaid has mixed reviews mostly due to the age of the restaurant and the decor. If you prefer the journey to a dining experience we would suggest Sign of the Mermaid.

Sign of the Mermaid – CLOSED
9707 Gulf Drive
Anna Maria, FL, 34216
(941) 778-9399

Need more choices of Anna Maria City restaurants and fine dining.  No fear, Island Real Estate is here.  Take a look at our Top Ten Anna Maria Island restaurant information page.

Duffy’s Tavern has great hamburgers and COLD beer

Holmes Beach – Duffy’s Tavern is an Anna Maria Island landmark and has been since it first opened in 1958. Family owned and operated, “Miss Duffy” and her 5 daughters proudly serve their “world famous burgers and the coldest beer this side of heaven” from a two-story cracker shack located across the street from the Manatee Public Beach on Anna Maria Island, Florida. In March of 2003, Duffy’s relocated across the street from the Holmes Beach City Hall and skate park. Now with air conditioning and a fireplace, it is a great place to hang out where you are never too hot or cold and can mingle with the locals. You can still expect the same service and quality in both the beers and the burgers. Everything comes with chips, never fries.

scavenger hunt at Duffy's Tavern
Get the best burgers and beer at Duffy’s Tavern!

Duffy’s has fabulous cheeseburgers and try one with everything on it.  There is a bar as well as spots to sit down.  They have an outdoor eating area under roof as well as one out the back which is not under roof.  The regular dining area can be opened up with garage door size screens to let the breeze in on balmy breeze days.  On cold days they get the fireplace roaring and it offers a nice cozy eating spot.  Walk up to the bar and put in your order and Duffy’s will bring the food out when ready.  Plenty of cold beverages at Duffy’s, beer, soda all with Televisions behind the bar to watch your favorite sports team.

Duffy’s hours as of this posting:

Monday – Saturday: 11am – 8pm
Closed on Tuesday
Sunday: 12pm – 8pm
No credit cards, CASH only!

Duffy’s
5808 Marina Dr,
Holmes Beach, Fl 34217 – Anna Maria Island
Phone (941)  778-2501