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Welcome to Island Real Estate Local Scene Blog! Find Anna Maria Island Information, top ten lists, area activities, the best restaurants, shopping, and much more. Select a Category below to get started!

Anna Maria Island and COVID-19

BREAKING NEWS! ANNA MARIA ISLAND ISLAND IS NOW OPEN FOR SHORT TERM RENTALS! Visit our Island Real Estate Information Page for more information.

Our Island Real Estate office has reopened, taking extreme precautions to keep visitors, sales professionals and staff safe. Our office is open to the public Monday through Friday with staff in the office on Saturday answering any and all telephone calls.

Anna Maria Island restaurants are open to 50% capacity and hair-nail salons were opened May 11th. Vacation rentals continue to be closed to guests with under 30 night stays for the entire Island. We are seeing irresponsible management companies as well as vacation rental owners putting their guests at risk by allowing immediate arrivals less than 30 nights. Code enforcement IS actively pursuing guests checking in and ARE evicting guests. There are a great number of theories regarding when Vacation Rentals will be opened however one thing is certain, no one yet knows for sure. One additional challenge vacation rental owners are finding is their local management companies have no staff on hand and thus properties during this epidemic are not actively being managed. Of course Island Real Estate Vacations continues to have our full staff on hand to continue with monthly maintenance and any owner requests. Visit our newly formed property management information page if you are considering a change.

Surprisingly, Anna Maria Island Real Estate Sales continues to remain healthy. We have seen a few closing delays and cancellations due to COVID-19 but the lion share of contracts have closed. Real Estate professionals are beginning to hold open houses with lack luster results. What we are seeing is the serious shoppers are still viewing properties physically or reviewing a virtual walk through. New contracts on real estate property are occurring albeit at about a 60% pace. Look for our June/July newsletter which will provide statistics on the pace of real estate sales on the Island. March and April closings have remained steadfast and on pace for a normal 375+ real estate closing year.

For up to date COVID 19 information visit our Island Real Estate Information page. If you need anything give us a call. We are here and ready to help if you think we can. Stay safe!

Wind Mitigation Inspection: What is it & do you need one?

A Wind mitigation inspection (also called a windstorm mitigation inspection) is when a certified inspector looks over a property for specific weather withstanding features. These features can be anything from door/window coverings to the way your roof is attached to your home and how your roof is sealed to prevent water from entering. Though a wind mitigation inspection is not required to get homeowners insurance in Florida, it can result in substantial savings on your annual premium.

This inspection can affirm whether your home has features that drastically decrease the severity of property loss from hurricane wind. All the windstorm-withstanding features the inspector looks for may seem like minor details, but they make a world of difference when a windstorm or hurricane strikes. The appropriate wind mitigation features can be the difference between your home weathering the storm and a total rebuild.

Along our Anna Maria Island coast, savings can range from a few hundred to well over $1,000. Keep in mind that the average cost for a wind mitigation inspection is about $100. Though that may seem like an investment, the inspections are typically valid for five years.

After the wind inspection is complete, the inspector will offer suggestions that could improve the sustainability of your property. You can then make changes to your property or simply submit your wind mitigation report to your insurance agent. If you think you’ve had one done, you can look over your current policy and see if you received any sort of windstorm credits. If so, you can ask for a copy of the inspection from your current carrier.
You’ll likely receive the most savings if you take the inspector’s suggestions, which will also add to the value of your home and is never a bad thing! If you do decide to make structural changes to your home, make sure you work with a licensed engineer and contractor.
Keep in mind that the wind mitigation inspection has to be current. If it’s older than five years old, it’s time for a new one!

How to find the elusive sand dollar on Anna Maria Island.


Sand dollar on beach




Sea cookies, snapper biscuits, sand cakes, pansy shells, or cake urchins. It doesn't matter what you call them, we all want to leave the beach with at least one perfect specimen to add to our shell collection.






While many visitors come to Anna Maria Island for the ocean breeze, the turquoise water, and the sunshine, you can also add shell collection to the list. The Florida waters are home to thousands of different forms of sea life that wash up on our shores, but few are more sought after than the elusive sand dollar. They adorn frames, vases, candles, necklaces and so much more. It is often said that the sand dollar is worth more than the real dollar.





I find the best beaches on Anna Maria Island for sand dollars is Bean Point. With some good detective work you can find them on Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach or Anna Maria City Beach and everywhere between.





Rule #1~ Know and love your tide chart. Sand dollars are often found just slightly beneath the mean low water line. In other words, the lowest level reached by the sea at low tide. They can be found on top, or just beneath the surface of the sand in those areas.





Rule #2~ Use your very best sleuthing skills. Scour the sand for round patches or depressions in the sand. The natural holes around petal shaped middle will allow sand to fall in, creating just a hint of a round depression.





Rule #3~ Gently dig to the very bottom of the natural piles of shells. When the shells aggregate on the shore there is usually at least one hiding in there somewhere.





Groups of live sandollars
And you thought your house was crowded!




Rule #4~ Look for the spare change. (That's what my family calls the little broken pieces of sand dollars.) Living sand dollars love to hang out together. According to the brilliant folks at The Bishop Museum of Science and Art there can be as many as 600 in a single square yard. If you find a lot of broken pieces in the same place then look a little further out into the water. There just may be an intact sand dollar that hasn't washed up yet.





Rule #5~ Never, EVER, take a live sand dollar (or anything else living for that matter) from the beach. There are many cities where it is illegal and the fines are substantial. The legality aside, it would be a poor environmental choice. The ocean is a very delicate ecosystem. The clear, clean water we enjoy is brought to you in part by the living sand dollars. Sand dollars feed on small food particles in the sand, typically microscopic algae and tiny fragments of other dead animals. You wouldn't want to go body surfing in that! If the sand dollar still has spines and feet then gently place it back in the water.





Sand dollars can somewhat tricky to find, but that is why it is so exciting when you find one! Hopefully you learned a trick or two that will help you in your hunting. Worse case scenario~ you spent a great day at the beach!