Archive for September, 2013

Punta Gorda History: Ever Wonder How Punta Gorda Got Its Name?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Punta Gorda means ‘fat point’. It is a perfect description of our small town, which protrudes out into the water where Charlotte Harbor and the Peace River meet. Yet, in the late 19th century, Punta Gorda was named “Trabue.”

Isaac Trabue was an attorney from Kentucky. In 1883, Trabue came to the Charlotte Harbor area to start his own town. At the time, the Native Americans had long called the area Punta Gorda. However, after purchasing 30 acres from a homesteader, Trabue decided his own name would serve the town better.

While some believe Trabue sought out a simpler way of life, many people believed the town of Trabue to be a haven for bums and criminals. All of that changed when the Florida Southern Railroad came to town in August of 1886. Trabue became a town where men could find jobs and prosper.

punta gorda fat point

In 1890, Florida Southern tracks reached Charlotte Harbor. Eventually, they would end in what is now Punta Gorda Isles. The tracks brought in more business. Ambitious investors started work on the Punta Gorda Hotel. Over 200 carpenters built the hotel and another 200 constructed a pier.

Trabue would never see the end of the railroad. By the time it was finished, he had lost his town. In 1887,  a group of 34 men gathered in Hector’s Billiard and Parlor to incorporate the city. One of the men was Kelly B. Harvey, the surveyor of the town who had previously written that the town was not well maintained, void of streets, sidewalks and ditches, and subsequently filled with mosquitoes. Harvey and Trabue had had their disputes. The group of men meeting in that parlor had a different vision for the town. Perhaps they couldn’t imagine the manicured lawns of today, but they knew Trabue could be a beautiful, wide point on the harbor. When it came time for the men to vote on the town name, Trabue was out and Punta Gorda was back in.

After the meeting, Trabue went back to Kentucky where he died in 1907. Kelly B. Harvey lived in Punta Gorda until 1924 before moving to New York. The Punta Gorda of 1924 would have been much different from the town of Trabue he once surveyed. That same year Barron Collier and Cornelius Vanderbilt saw enough potential in Punta Gorda to purchase the Punta Gorda Hotel, renovate it, and add a large swimming pool.

Today, many Punta Gorda residents know little about Trabue. Yet, without him, Kelly B. Harvey and other settlers may have never looked twice at the little, wide point quietly jutting out into the Harbor.

PGI/BSI Real Estate: Is the Market Back in Boom?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Nine years ago, real estate in Punta Gorda was booming. Home sales were up all over Florida. Then, like the rest of the country, we hit a blip. Real estate fell. While we never had it as bad as some areas, 2006 was a lot quieter around the office. Many speculated on whether the market would ever come back. Skepticism was understandable. In 2012, lines started lighting up again on our buyers’ agent’s phones. It felt like we had made it out of the fog and back into the sunshine. Yet, real estate markets are about more than what we feel as agents. The best way to discern what is going on in the market is to look at the numbers.

PGI/BSI real estate annual pending contracts


Back in the pre-recession days of 2004, PGI and BSI developed 337 pending contracts. (A pending contract indicates that buyer and seller have reached a formal, written agreement.) The next year that number dropped to 201–a 40% drop. 2006 and 2007 were dismal, but then you see a little upswing in 2008. For three years, the numbers stayed steady. Then, the market jumped. You see a 53% increase between 2011 and 2012.

Interestingly, the difference between the number of contracts in 2004 and 2012 is a mere 12.5% decrease. Last year looked much more like those boom days than it did the seven previous years.

For more insight, the following chart shows monthly averages and total pending contracts month by month. What you learn from the chart is when we traditionally see the most activity in the Punta Gorda real estate market. Keep in mind that over the past three years, the average number of days a listing has stayed on the market has hovered around 230 days or 7.5 months. With this information, you can estimate that many of the 290 listings, which went under contract in March, listed their homes in the fall of the previous year.

PGI/BSI real estate monthly pending contracts


Overall, these charts can only tell you where the market has been. No one can predict the future. As agents, we try to arm you with the best information we can, so you can make the right decisions for you and your family.

Remember our Heroes: Visit Punta Gorda’s Military Heritage Museum

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

060417-N-8157C-162Today is Patriot day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. Most of us still refer to it as 9/11. We will never forget that day.

It is difficult to write a blog on a day like today. It’s nearly impossible to capture the collective sadness this day conjures for our country. However, whenever tragedy strikes, we take solace in remembering that with every tragedy there are heroes who stand up, risk their lives, and fight for others.

In the spirit of honoring our country’s heroes and keeping true to this blog’s purpose of showing you all things we love about Punta Gorda, this week we look at the Military Heritage Museum in Fisherman’s Village.

Step into the museum and you can view over 30,000 military artifacts. From medals to newspaper articles to uniforms, each piece carries with it the stories of heroes who fought to keep our country free. Every major American conflict dating back to the Civil War and extending up to the conflict in the Middle East is represented. The museum obtains most of its valuable memorabilia through donations from veterans and their families.

Visitors are often treated to  much more history than what is on display. While you are there, take a moment to chat with one of the museum volunteers. Two employees and forty volunteers staff the museum. Most of the volunteers are veterans with their own stories exemplifying the museum’s motto: Freedom isn’t Free.

If you have been meaning to visit the museum but never seem to get there, perhaps it is time to put one of their events on your calendar. Throughout the year, the museum hosts events to remember our heroes.

The next event on the museum’s calendar is the “Never Forgotten” ceremony on September 21, 2013.  At 1:00 p.m., the museum will honor POW/MIAs in the center court of Fisherman’s Village. There will be a reading of names of Florida missing, a speech by SGM Martin Jordan, U.S. Army Retired, and commemorative ceremonies. A reception will follow in the museum.

The entire event and reception are free.

October 21 is the deadline for submissions for the museum’s “Wall of Warriors”. The wall salutes those that were honorably discharged and went on to do good in their communities at home. If you know someone who belongs on this distinguished wall, you can submit their name on this form or call the museum for more information.

As Punta Gorda residents, we are proud to have this museum in our town. We salute all of our nation’s heroes from our veterans to our first responders.

Military Heritage Museum
Fisherman’s Village
1200 Retta Esplanade Unit 48
Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Admission is free

Have you visited the Military Heritage Museum? What impressed you the most?

Top 3 Websites for Irresistible Home Decorating Ideas

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
From the Andreae Group Virtual Tour for 1443 Surfbird Ct.

From the Andreae Group Virtual Tour for 1443 Surfbird Ct.

Having a second home in Punta Gorda eliminates your shoveling and scraping obligations  for the winter, but it doubles your decorating duties.

Whether you love to decorate or simply love living in a beautiful home, you can find a wealth of tips on the internet. The trouble is with so much information out there, you can get lost in websites that aren’t really going to help you with your Florida home. Here are our favorite websites to help you find and keep up with what’s new in home decor.

While you are in the beginning idea stages, Pinterest can be a big help. To use Pinterest, you must create an account. Then, do a search for words that describe your project. You can be as general or specific as you need to be. You might start with a search  for ‘Kitchen decorating’. As your project moves along, you can switch to detailed terms, such as ‘kitchen faucets’. Pinterest allows you to create boards to help you organize your ideas. Create ‘boards’ for every room of your house. Then, pin the best ideas to the correlating board.

Pinterest Pros:

  • An infinite number of ideas. There are an estimated 70 million users on Pinterest. You will never be short on search results.
  • Simple search procedures. The site understands hashtags and other search tricks, but you don’t need to use them to get the results you want. Therefore, you can get the answers you want without learning a bunch of internet speak.
  • Easy to organize. The Pinterest boards make it simple for you to save the posts you like and forget the ones you don’t. This is a vital tool for you second homeowners who are trying to keep track of two homes worth of ideas.

Pinterest Cons: If you are a crafty person, you will love Pinterest. However, it is dangerous. You can go from clicking through bathroom mirror ideas to cakes-you-must-bake to dreamy knitting projects in seconds.

In addition, anyone can pin to Pinterest boards. A post that is ‘repinned’ several times may give the impression that the project is doable. In fact, if you’d like a good chuckle, do a Google search of  “Pinterest fails”.

Contrary to Pinterest, which can suck you into 3,000 craft ideas in five minutes, Houzz narrows the scope to decorating ideas. Like Pinterest, you can create an account, clip ideas, and save them to different folders.

Houzz Pros:

  • It is a wealth of specific design ideas. You never need to worry about fighting your attention span.
  • Houzz keeps an active and very useful blog with tips for getting things done.
  • You can find local professional on Houzz when you decide a project needs professional help.
  • You can find and buy products right on the site.

Houzz Cons:

Because the site produces ideas from all over the world, some of the styles you see on the site won’t work well here in Punta Gorda. Florida design styles are different. Floridians don’t need to find ways to keep the cold weather out. Add the word, ‘Florida’ to your search and you will often get better results.

The Andreae Group Virtual Tours

It may seem a little unorthodox to go touring homes when you are not looking to buy. Let’s face it, the best way to discover Florida style is to see what other Floridians are doing. That is the beauty of the virtual tour. You can see how your neighbor’s kitchen cabinets from the comfort of your own home.

Andreae Group Virtual Tours Pros:

  • See Southwest Florida Style. Instead, of sorting through dark-colored log cabins, you can check out what works in southwest Florida from your home in Michigan.
  • We update the tours regularly. Every new listing gets its own tour. You could spend hours searching through local kitchens, bathrooms, and great rooms.
  • Experience what your southwest Florida home could be. The tours are all real homes. Therefore, you know everything in them is a possibility for your next project.

Andreae Group Virtual Tours Cons:

The listings often don’t last long. When you see something you like, take a screenshot of it, because it might not be there tomorrow.

What is your favorite website for decorating ideas?