Many of us dream of living steps away from the white, powdery sands of Siesta Key beach, Lido beach, Nokomis beach, Holmes beach, or any of the beaches along our islands here in Sarasota. While it’s fun to think about having quick and effortless access to the beach, there are other factors to consider that may make it worth your while to explore homes and condos a few miles inland.
1) Traffic. On the keys in high season (Dec. through April) it can take a bit longer to get on and off the Casey Key, Siesta, Lido, Longboat and Anna Maria Island. You’ll need to plan an extra 20 minutes or so to get on and off the key.
2) Insurance. Depending on the flood zone and whether you’re in a house or a condo, insurance can be significantly less just a mile or two inland vs. on a key. Keep in mind with condos, normally your association dues cover insurance to the building and you’ll buy separate insurance for the interior of your own unit.
3) Parking. During high season on the keys, parking can be difficult to find or very limited particularly if you own a condo and it comes with just one parking spot. Some condos have guest parking; others don’t. Off the islands, parking is usually easier to find.
4) Cost. A general rule of thumb that I go by is that a condo on an island is at least twice the cost of a similar condo two miles inland. So a $300,000 condo in, let’s say the second floor of Soleil would be at least $600,000 if it were on the second floor of Lido Beach Club for example. Of course, many other factors come into play such as view, condition of the building and grounds, etc. Houses can vary much more.
5) Space. Want a yard? If you’re thinking about buying a house rather than a condo and want your own patch of land, you’ll save significantly by buying a mile or more inland. Lots are generally larger off the islands as well, so not only will you get more land, you’ll pay significantly less.
If you have a boat, love to wake up and have coffee on your lanai overlooking the gulf or just love the idea of planting yourself on the beach, the islands may be well worth the cost for you. If, on the other hand, you like a mix of off-the-water activities and don’t mind driving a couple of miles to the beach, you could save yourself some green by buying in one of Sarasota’s many beautiful neighborhoods.
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