By Jane Bartnett
Siesta Key’s well-known Key Solutions Real Estate Group has a new name and a new owner.
On Aug. 2, the Connecticut-based William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance company acquired the luxury Siesta Key real estate firm that boasts 44 professional sales associates and two Sarasota offices — one on the Key and the second in Lakewood Ranch.
Both offices now bear the William Raveis Real Estate name.
Following the acquisition of Key Solutions’ two Sarasota offices, there are now 14 William Raveis offices in Florida.
Additional Florida west-coast locations include Naples and Bonita Springs. On the state’s east coast, offices are in Delray Beach, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach, and Wellington. To date, there are 134 Raveis real estate offices operating in eight states ranging from Maine to Florida.
The firm has more than 4,300 agents and compiled $16 billion in production in 2020.
In discussing his company’s entry into the Sarasota market, Bill Raveis, chairman and CEO who founded the company 47 years ago, said that “Florida is hot in more ways than one.”
He noted that “More and more people from the northeast buy primary or vacation homes in Florida. We plan to expand throughout Florida for many years, further strengthening our luxury network.”
Prior to its sale last month, Key Solutions was recognized as a leading luxury and family-owned brokerage. Susan Saltalamacchia, along with her son, Brian Tresidder, and close family friend Keith Redding, spent a decade building Key Solutions into a successful business that specialized in the sale and rental of properties throughout Siesta Key and the Sarasota region. Since the company’s inception, Key Solutions generated close to $1 billion in sales.
Discussing the sale of his company, Tressider said “We knew this was a company we wanted to be working with and not against.”
He noted that the Ravies company and leadership team “have the same values we embrace.”
Its focus,” he explained, is based on “agent success and training to ensure the customer experience is second to none.”
Matt Lane, general manager of William Raveis in Florida who is based in the Naples office, reported that his company’s research shows that Sarasota County’s growth is being fueled by residents from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
Lane said that the company views the west coast of Florida as a strong growth market, as recent record sales reflect.
“We don’t see demand stopping here,” he said emphatically.
Current inventory, Tressider stated, is very low. His advice to buyers looking for properties on Siesta Key is to be “ready to buy.”
He stated that intense competition and low availability, coupled with cash-ready buyers, makes for quick sales.
Siesta Key’s enduring appeal, said the veteran Realtor, is that the island continues to offer easy outdoor living, access to the Gulf Coast’s unique natural habitat, and mild weather.
“Properties are selling at list and above with many properties never reaching the Multiple Listing Service and real estate websites,” he said.
Condominiums, both Tressider and Lane agree, continue to have great appeal for those looking for a vacation property or retirement home.
Last year, many vacationers delayed their returns to northern climates due to COVID-19, creating an extended winter season. Lane noted that the trend continued again in 2021.
“We’re seeing a shift in how long people are staying during the winter into spring months,” he said. “Many are deciding to make Siesta Key or the Sarasota region their permanent home.”
Tressider said that in the next five years “our research shows that growth will remain strong, here on the Key — ownership remains dominated by the second-home, retired home buyer.”
Prices in the Siesta Key market are continuing to climb, Tressider added.
“On the low side,” he reported, “one-bedroom, one-bath condominium units are selling in the area of $350,000 to $400,000. Prices for two-bedroom, two-bath units are starting closer to $500,000, and single-family homes are starting at about $600,000.”
Also, just over the Stickney Point Road bridge, the Gulf Gate area is attracting buyers interested in what Tressider calls “old Florida homes.”
As is the case in the rest of the Sarasota region, the Gulf Gate community has also become “a hot area” due to its single-family homes with yards and a 10-minute or less drive to Siesta Key beaches.