Market Snapshot: Overbrook Gardens


PHOTO GALLERY:  Englewood's Overbrook Gardens


Overbrook Gardens in Englewood is a boater's haven.

Located on the north side of Forked Creek, west of State Road 776 to Greenlawn Drive, the 519-home neighborhood has several channels running into its interior.

Overbrook Gardens offers waterfront living at a relatively low cost by Sarasota County standards. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

Overbrook Gardens offers waterfront living at a relatively low cost by Sarasota County standards. (Staff photo / Harold Bubil)

As a result, 113 of the homes lie on waterways. The rest have access to the creek via a community boat ramp on San Remo Point. From there, it is less than 15 minutes to Lemon Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.

On the northern edge, 12 ranchettes are connected with long driveways to Keyway Road. Originally meant to be part of another neighborhood that never materialized, the 2- to 5-acre properties are not actually part of Overbrook Gardens. But some owners were asked if they wanted to join the Overbrook Gardens Homeowners Association.

Margaret Wypychoski is in her second year as president of the organization. She and her husband moved to Overbrook Gardens in 2010, although they had owned a house there since 2005.

"We are big boaters and like the community feel. We looked at about 40 other neighborhoods before we settled on this one," she said. "This has an Old Florida atmosphere with a strong sense of neighborliness."

She also likes that Manasota Beach is less than two miles away, accessible by a back route. "My husband and I enjoy riding our bikes on the key."

When the community was platted in the 1960s, eight lots were too small to build on and became community green spaces. A small park with benches is on one of the channels. Another park has 200 feet on a county-owned lake.

overbrookA few houses in Overbrook Gardens date from the 1950s, when much of the area was still dense yellow-pine forest and Florida jungle. The rest, most of them Florida ranch-style homes, were built from the 1960s through the 1990s. But there are some new homes and a smattering of empty lots.

One newer, 3,232-square-foot house, unusual for being a courtyard home, is listed for sale at 1501 Crest Drive. It has three bedrooms and two baths, and is priced at $205,000.

"When you step through the front door, you enter a courtyard with a swimming pool, and all the rooms open onto it," said Jane Mendola, the listing agent with Re/Max Palm Realty.

She said she likes Overbrook Gardens for its mature, relaxed atmosphere. "It's an older neighborhood with people who have lived there a long time, and it's nice to have the sense of longevity and tradition."

The neighborhood has a mix of retirees, snowbirds and families with children. Two school bus stops are on Overbrook Road, which bisects the community.

Some investors own two or three houses and rent them out.

"A lot of people buy homes in anticipation of their retirement, use them during their vacations, and, when the time comes, are happy to move here permanently," Mendola said.

Although not deed-restricted, Overbrook Gardens has a strong, active homeowners' association. Membership is voluntary and costs $50 a year. Some of the members have been involved for 20 years. "There is a strong core," Wypychoski said.

Of the 10 association committees, the largest deals with maintenance and "the wall project." The former has 10 men who take care of the common areas. "They don't do the mowing, but they pretty much take care of everything else -- weeding, tree trimming, etc.," Wypychoski said.

The wall committee has been working for some time to raise funds for a wall along State Road 776 to replace the individual fences homeowners have put up. In some cases, they are in bad shape, constituting something of an eyesore. The wall for the section north of the entrance into the community on Overbrook Road has been finished.

"It was a big project. We raised over $50,000 and had to get an easement from all the homes," Wypychoski said. "Since we completed it, we've gotten many positive comments."

To do the southern leg will require $85,000. "It's a longer stretch," Wypychoski said. "We've raised $32,000 so far. It's an ongoing project."

A number of properties have signs stuck in the yards in support of donations for the wall.

Wypychoski said she is excited about a county grant the neighborhood received to reclaim some of the land eroded from the lakefront property. That project will start in September 2015.

Because of Overbrook Gardens' moderate prices and congenial atmosphere, inventory is low. In the past year, 15 homes have been sold, ranging from $135,000 to $426,500. Only 10 homes are on the market, from $119,000 to $449,900, with the waterfront properties commanding the higher prices.

"It's a great place to live," Mendola said. "It's more affordable than other places around the area."

Last modified: August 30, 2014
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