Questions for a Pro: Sarasota-area Realtor Susan Noah


Susan Noah taught special education in New York City until her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, got a job in Venice in 1994. Now a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Co., she will celebrate her 15th year in her second career this summer. She has sold homes and condos throughout Sarasota County, from University Parkway to North Port, and all of the islands, except Casey Key, working mostly with buyers. Correspondent Chris Angermann interviewed her at the South Tamiami Trail office.

Q:Is there a connection between your teaching experience and your real estate work?

r4questions25A:Absolutely. You'll find a lot of former teachers in real estate right now. It's especially helpful in working with buyers, because you get to learn the needs of a client and formulate a path to fulfill those needs. So it's very similar to teaching, when you focus on students rather than subject matter. The path they need to follow may not be the regular path, so you have to have an alternative to get them to the same goal.

Q:Who are the buyers you work with?

A:They are anyone from 50-ish investors looking for a home to retire to later and using it as an investment property now, to young families coming into the area to start up businesses and practices. I've had retirees from other states come to be near their family or retire. I've had quite a few foreign buyers — Canadian, British and Germans — and also Americans living abroad buying investment property for when they come back here.

Q:How have buyers changed in your time as a Realtor?

A:They are more informed, because they can go on the Internet prior to coming. They've done much more research than they used to. In many cases, they know a lot about the property before you take them to it. So it's a matter of getting them inside and looking at the neighborhood, so they can decide if it's a place where they want to live.

They rely on us for additional information and insights — especially if they come from out of town and don't know the area. They might have an idea of a neighborhood they would like, and I might have an idea of a neighborhood they would like even better.

Many don't realize what all Sarasota has to offer — the Ringling Museum, the ballet, opera, theaters ... That's an education we as agents can give to our clients as well.

I get a lot of people who've been to Naples or Orlando and say, "I've never been to Sarasota, but people tell me it's nice," and that's all they know.

The groups that are most surprised are families with children. The parents don't think there is going to be anything for them in Sarasota, because they view it as a retirement place. So when they find out that we have good schools and that there are so many things for children to do — Mote Marine, the different zoos and parks, GWiz, summer programs — they are surprised that it's such a family-friendly town.

We also have a lot more neighborhoods now that have basketball courts and jungle gyms. I was recently in a condo community that had a swing set put up, which is unusual. There are two condo communities now in the Palmer Ranch area that have children's playground equipment, so they're saying, "Yes, we welcome children." It's a nice change.

Q:What other advice do you have for home buyers?

A:I think the market is very active. If you see something you like and you're a serious buyer, it would be wise to move on the property, because inventory is low and we're getting multiple offers.

At the same time, you shouldn't feel you need to rush in and buy the first thing you see. There is a property for everybody. If you're patient and continue to search, you will find it. Even when you're under time pressure to move, those properties still come up — it's not a matter of waiting five or six years.

I had a female client who was looking for acreage in Venice. We had found a property she liked, but it wasn't quite right, and in the time she hesitated, it sold to somebody else. She was very disappointed, but I assured her that if we were patient, the right one would come along. And it did. We jumped on it, and she got it. Today, she couldn't be happier because it was the perfect property for her.


Last modified: May 24, 2013
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