Mandatory Electronic System Travel Authorization for foreign travelers

On line forms needed for Visa Waiver ProgramIn 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

Sign of the Mermaid in Anna Maria CityOpen 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 Sign of the Mermaid on Anna Maria Island, FLaccommodates 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

Sign of the Mermaid Anna Maria City, Florida

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

Duffy's Fireplace
Duffy’s Fireplace

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.

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:

Duffy's in Holmes Beach
Duffy’s fireplace

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

Duffy's frontage
Duffy’s frontage

3rd Quarter Real Estate Snapshot for all Anna Maria Island

Larry Chatt here, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer? Real Estate on Anna Maria Island has been a mixed bag of results for buyers and sellers for the last six to twelve months. If you are a buyer looking for product that is 5+ years or older and may need a renovation here or there then life is grand. There is plenty of great real estate for sale on Anna Maria Island and sellers are recognizing demand is low which requires reducing price as needed. Of course a great situation for buyers but not so good for sellers.
On the other hand, if you are a buyer looking for new construction you are likely becoming frustrated over the high demand of new real estate. High demand correlates with little negotiating room for buyers and sellers know it. Sellers are still negotiating but very little. New construction prices are being driven higher and higher and appear no relief in sight. At least for the last five years one thing is true, if you are a buyer of new construction, the sooner you buy the less it will cost.
Our local naughty 7 letter word, Red Tide, did impact real estate on Anna Maria Island last year. This is evidenced by inventory absorption for the last quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019. Inventory absorption often provides a leading indicator of the health of supply and demand for real estate in an area. Our chart measures how many months of real estate is for sale during a given snapshot in time. The chart shows for the first time in almost 10 years we saw two data points of Anna Maria Island real estate inventory exceeding 12 months. The good news is that in the second quarter of 2019 demand has bounced back and we seem to be back in normal territory.
If you have any questions about Anna Maria Island Real Estate please call on any of our full time real estate sales professionals. We would love the opportunity to help!

Harrington House Bed & Breakfast

While searching for your perfect Anna Maria Island property, it’s nice to have a “home base” to relax and enjoy everything our special paradise has to offer. The Harrington House Beachfront Bed and Breakfast offers island hospitality and comfort in order to help you decide which AMI place is “the one” for you! When you’re making your reservation, make sure to tell them you are working with an Island Real Estate Sales Professional for VIP treatment!

The Harrington House is a fantastic direct Gulf Front Bed and Breakfast located on Anna Maria Island.  They offer nightly accommodations and they provide a perfect get away from the busy life.  Each morning you will be awakened by the smell of in house chef made breakfast, breads and coffee. Each bedroom has a charm all of its own, it’s best to speak to one of the very knowledgeable staff to determine which room would best meet your expectations.

Harrington House Breakfast

They also serve breakfast by appointment only for locals and visitors alike.  Sit outside and listen to the Gulf of Mexico while you enjoy one of several specialty breakfasts.   You can also dine inside in the dining area with direct views of the Gulf of Mexico.  Either way, the breakfast is fantastic and the views are free.  If you have a special occasion be sure to stay at Harrington House or at least visit them for breakfast but please be sure to call ahead. Reservations are always required and seating is limited.

One last note, Harrington House will also host a tea party, wedding, or wedding reception so be sure to call them if you have a need for a special group outing.

Harrington House
5626 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 778-5444

Baby Toddler equipment rentals

ABC Baby Toddler equipment rentals is a fabulous resource for Anna Maria Island.  They deliver equipment and pick it up on the day of your departure.

Baby Toddler Equipment Rentals

Be sure to ask for baby toddler linens when renting beds. Island Real Estate only offers standard bed linens. They are integrated into our office and deliver items to your vacation rental.  Anything required is set up in your vacation rental home or condo.  You can rent toddler beds, cribs, baby seats, strollers, swings, and toys.   In addition to renting legos to life jackets for toddlers, they also rent bicycles, joggers, kites, beach umbrellas, and beach chairs.   All items can be rented daily or weekly and most rentals are less than $40.   ABC does have two locations, one in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island and one location in Sarasota.

ABC Rentals
4519 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL, 34231
(941) 929-1850

2018 Market Summary for Anna Maria Island by Lawrence Chatt, Broker

Results are in for Anna Maria Island Real Estate for 2018. I would like to discuss each category of real estate then will move on to the overall health of Real Estate on Anna Maria Island.

Single family homes on average were flat for 2018. The amount of single families sold (234), average sold price ($1,050,000), and days on market (135) are all flat as compared to results from 2017. One notable difference this year is the amount of single family homes on the market at 179 versus end of 2017 at 139. Average for the last 4 years has been 170 single family homes on the market in December. While a big jump from last year the inventory of 179 falls right in line with a normal year.

Condos for sale on average improved versus 2017. Condos have lagged single family home results so not big surprise condos caught up a little in 2018. More specifically, on average condo prices were up 3%, transactions were flat (131), Days on the market flat (138) and inventory was down 15% (73). If you have been considering selling a condo, now might be a good time to throw your hat into the ring since the average inventory in the last 4 years has been 85 and currently our supply is low.

Multi-family/ Duplexes and Land are all relatively flat as compared to 2017. There is relatively no movement for duplexes however for vacant land there are two noticeable results for 2018. The first is appreciation on average of 6% versus 2017. Fairly significant however the “mix” of sold vacant land could be the culprit as only 9 vacant lots were sold versus an average year of 19 and 2017 of 18. Of course as vacant land becomes more and scarcer on the island this stat is expected to continue to reduce slowly. However I believe escalating building costs and the fact land plus build cost in most cases exceeds the price of relatively new product on Anna Maria Island has contributed to the slowdown in 2018.

Finally where would be in this world without charts? Below is a chart that provides the quarterly sales since 2005. Of course this is the demand side of the Anna Maria Island absorption rate. Sales for the 4th quarter of 2018 is low and the last time we saw transactions for the 4th quarter hovering around 60 was in 2011. 2018 transactions, (397) ended a little higher than the 4 year average of 390 so 2018 for demand was an average year. Red tide is likely the culprit of the 30% drop in sold properties for Q4 and its encouraging our new governor of Florida is taking red tide seriously and within weeks of being sworn in is taking some progressive steps towards ensuring red tide is stamped out. Definitely something we will all keep our eye on for 2019.

As always, email or call if you have further questions. We would love the opportunity to help find your “peace” of paradise on Anna Maria Island or its surrounding areas. Here’s to a prosperous, healthy and red tide free 2019. I very much appreciate your business!

Local Lawn Care – Shady Lady Horticultural Services

Founded in 2012 by Anna Maria Island resident Joan Bowling, Shady Lady Horticultural Services provides service with a focus on the specific and unique needs of island properties. For example, sea spray can end up with plantings looking rather plain. The simple addition of salt tolerating colorful shrubs and moisture holding mulch make for a much nicer view.  A nice balance of form and function.

Shady Lady Horticultural Services prides themselves by offering turnkey solutions for island residents. Shady Lady offers landscape design, construction and maintenance services with both native plants and custom designs.

Shady Lady’s design services are unmatched, offering both residential and commercial solutions. They use a “Best Practices Approach” to construction and provide service worthy of their island neighbors.

Local Lawn Care – Stewart’s Landscape Management

Stewarts Landscape Management has been serving locals since 1980 with full service residential and commercial landscaping and maintenance. They provide design and construction services, grounds maintenance, plantings, holiday decorating, and specialty outdoor spaces, comprehensive all season maintenance services.

Stewarts Landscape Management has a single focus – to be Extraordinary FROM THE GROUND UP. Complete customer satisfaction is what they are all about. The entire staff is committed to ensuring that the job is done right the first time, on time. They are recognized as one of the premier landscape companies in the area, and this did not happen by chance, rather they earned it as a result of dedication and hard work. At the end of the day, when the job is done, the quality results speak for themselves – customers understand that Stewarts Landscape Management is beyond a doubt Extraordinary FROM THE GROUND UP.

Their success begins with a team of experienced professionals. Many employees have been with the company for years and are knowledgeable in all aspects of landscape construction, installation and maintenance.

Stewarts provide complete project management, designed with each client’s unique needs in mind. This has made us one of the most respected landscaping companies in south Florida. The staff at Stewarts Landscape Management looks forward to working with you on your next residential or commercial project.
In a world of mega marts and multinational corporations it’s nice to know that at Stewarts Landscape Management you can still get personalized service. They can customize a maintenance program that meets your needs and fits into your budget.
For our commercial customers your business partners they know the importance of “Curb Appeal”. Your landscape is the first thing a customer sees as they arrive at business and the last thing seen when leaving.
Whether it is a residential home or a multi-million dollar commercial property, as a full service landscape company you can rest assured that your property will always look its best.
Reach Stewarts Landscape Management at 941-778-6036.

AFTER CLOSING – NOW WHAT? Lawn Tips

AFTER CLOSING: So your Island Real Estate Sales Agent has been there with you through the closing, but the work isn’t done! You’ll need local vendors for both routine maintenance and special projects. Critical to keeping your curb appeal is choosing a landscape maintenance vendor that is right for what you envision your property to be. Some homeowners prefer a precision trimmed yard and others love to have the native plants grow lushly for a more tropical feel. It’s important you both are familiar with any currently installed irrigation systems at your new home and ensure the timers are set around local watering rules, if any.

Discussing fertilizer and pest control spray procedures and schedules is important too so make sure to add that to your list when interviewing landscapers. Keep in mind growing seasons are unique in Florida where we are considered a sub-tropical zone for planting.

We have had good experiences with: Stewarts Landscape Services; 941-778-6036, Chad’s All in One; 941-713-3790 and Shady Lady Horticultural Services, 941-704-9025.  Continue reading AFTER CLOSING – NOW WHAT? Lawn Tips