Darlena has been a lynchpin throughout our seven years of holiday home ownership in Lakewood Ranch. From our first house hunting visit right through to our recent sale she has been ever generous with her time, patience and good humour. With her mine of information and contacts she has been our ‘go to’ person for so much.  We have appreciated her professionalism, reliability and ‘can do’ approach. I have no hesitation in recommending her.

-Gaynor Salter, UK

Darlena, can’t express the gratitude Anne and I have for the assistance, cajoling, enthusiasm and support you’ve given us over the last few months.  We really appreciate everything and are congratulating ourselves on our wise choice.  🙂  With our very best wishes,

-Mark and Anne Wilson, Surrey, UK

Darlena, we would like to thank you very much for your help and guidance.  It was a great pleasure to work with you and we love our new home in Sarasota.  And if any of our friends talk about looking for a place in Sarasota, we know who to recommend.  Again, many thanks.

-Serpile Emre and Mariano Delise, Sarasota, Florida

Darlena Nelms is a highly organized, responsive professional, who made our recent relocation from Boston to Sarasota a breeze. While we knew a bit about the area, there were still a lot of unknowns. We initially contacted several realtors, but Darlena stood out for her responsiveness and thoroughness. Her experience with international clients caught our attention. This said  to us that she knew how to quickly and effectively orient a client to the Sarasota housing market, so that they could make the best choice. And this was certainly the case. She also committed the necessary time for us; in two brief visits, we found “our” house. Her work did not stop there. Darlena followed through on all aspects of the closing details right through the day of closing. We have already recommended Darlena to a number of our friends.

-Warren Bacon and Barbara Smith-Bacon, Sarasota, Florida

My husband and I were beyond impressed with everything about Darlena. We first met her in May of 2012, after corresponding back and forth with her for a few months prior to that. We wanted to visit the Sarasota area, to get a feel for what it offers – to get a better idea of the area, various neighborhoods, house values (and what we could get for our budget), etc. Darlena was absolutely willing to meet and spend some quality time with us, viewing properties in various areas—even though she understood that we would not be retiring/relocating to Florida (from Illinois) for 3 more years.

We had talked about retiring to Florida for over 10 years. Our plan was to retire and relocate in June of 2015; but after our visit in 2012, it is all we could think and talk about! At the beginning of 2013, we made the decision to move up our retirement to June of 2013. We contacted Darlena with our exciting news, and set up another trip for this May.

The difficult challenge of this trip, was the fact that the inventory was super low in our price range; therefore, we had a hard time finding many homes to view, which met our critieria. We let Darlena know of our selections, and she also added a few. We fell in love with one of the houses, but when we went to place an offer the following day, we discovered that another buyer had beat us to it! Heartbroken, and not wanted to “settle” or make an “impulse buy” (on something so major in our life), we returned to Illinois to think about things, and do more searching. The following Monday, we received an e-mail update from Darlena, which alerted us that one of our “back-up” choices received a price reduction. After further discussion, we realized that this house had great potential, and offered us pretty much everything we were looking for…so we decided to take action.

This was a bank owned property, so there were no emotions/empathy involved on the sellers’ side of this transaction…they were in no rush (although we were), and did very little to make this process easy. Even when we were ready to “throw in the towel”, thanks to Darlena, her drive, persistance, and determination, she never gave up, and fought for us, all the way through to the end. We could never have gotten through this process without her; she skillfully guided us through all the paperwork (long-distance between Illinois to Florida), all our questions, legal concerns, etc.; as well as the closing, and finally taking possession of our new home…which we love!

It has been such a pleasure spending time with Darlena, and getting to know her; we feel she is our first new “friend” in Florida. She is not only a true professional, but she is also very likeable, caring, and fun.  She is extremely knowledgeable in every aspect of her field. During our “house hunting” process, any time we had questions specific to a certain community, if she was unsure about something, she always got back to us immediately with an answer. She always had our best interest at heart, and protected us from making mistakes. She displayed genuine empathy for us when things weren’t going our way, and excitement when they finally did! We trusted her completely, and would highly recommend her to anyone who needs the services of a real estate professional…Darlena is, without a doubt, the BEST. Rest assured, this lady knows her job, and she will get you through anything.

-Tom & Laurie Cook, Bradenton, Florida

Dear Darlena,

I so much appreciate your help in finding me my perfect house in Sarasota.  Your patience was extraordinary.  Moving across the country from Califronia was daunting, especially being handicapped.  I never could have done it without you.

Finding me rentals while I searched, getting me the perfect mortgage broker, attorney and all the help I needed was invaluable.  I cannot thank you enough.  And once I was settled in, your referrals for maintenance and constant support have been nothing less than outstanding.  I would not hesitate to highly recommend your services to anyone.

Time for you to come over for a swim!

With the greatest respect and affection,

-L. Murray Jamison, Sarasota, Florida

Dear Darlena,

Thank you for your assistance in our property purchase.  Buyer’s Agents are not something that we Brits are familiar with, but we cannot imagine having arrived at closing without your help and advice. 

To have received the benefit of your experience and local knowledge at no cost to ourselves was simply icing on the cake.  We sincerely hope that we might meet up again on one of our future trips to Sarasota.

All the best,

-Nick and Jan Gurney, Llandudno Conwy, Wales, UK


We are very impressed in how you sold our house at a price we felt comfortable with and in such a quick time period.

As you know we were feeling less than confident going into the process, as houses on our estate were often taking at least several month and all too often over a year to sell.

We knew that so many Real Estate Agents  puff up their abilities to sell but in reality do little beyond placing a property on the MLS, placing some adverts in the press and magazines and then repeatedly come back suggesting the price be lowered, a price they themselves suggested months earlier!

The difference with you was the amount of research you carried out in the first place to determine a realistic price, your excellent recomendations to make the house maximise its seller appeal and all the time you spent with potential buyers and subsequent negotiations.

The service you provided was just that, a service focusing on research and experience leading to the sucesful and trouble free sale of our house in a time period that amazed us.

At a time when eveyone seems to puff up claims of what they can achieve it really was a refreshing change to find someone who actually delivers over and above what we expected in such a pleasant and unassuming way.

-Andrew and Siri Bartlett, Osprey, Florida

Dear Darlena,

Now that the sale of our house in Sarasota has been concluded, it would be very remiss of me not to write and say how much Sylvia and I appreciated your part in bringing the transaction to such a swift and satisfactory conclusion.

Since our very first meeting, we have been more than impressed by your efficiency and client  relationship skills.  Your presentation of the house to prospective buyers was both professional and imaginative and we have no doubt that it contributed to the high level of interest.  In the current market conditions, it is a tribute to your skill that the sale was concluded within a month of being placed on the market and realising such a substantial sale price.

Your attention to detail has been outstanding, nothing has been too much trouble for you and, most importantly, you have kept us fully informed during every stage of the proceedings.  

We would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending you to any prospective buyer or seller in the Sarasota area. 

Once again, our sincere thanks.

Kindest personal regards,

-Alasdair and Syliva Jack, Buckinghamshire, England

The prospect of buying a property in the USA was initially extremely daunting as we didn’t know where to start.  Thankfully, Darlena was recommended to us via Andrew Bartlett who writes extensively on the process of purchasing property in Florida.  From the start of the process, when she sourced some possible homes for us, to closing, she has been there as a constant source of support.  Patiently putting up with our incessant questions and queries, recommending the relevant companies to use so that we didn’t have to watse valuable time researching them ourselves, and generally going above and beyond what is expected of a realtor, showing integrity and professionalism at all times. 

We cannot thank her enough for the support she has show us, and might not have pulled it off were it not for her tenacity and dedication.  We wouldn’t hestitate to recommend her to others and are happy to provide this endorsement over the phone also.

-Ivana O’Brien, Epsom, United Kingdom

“Well, what can we say that has not already been said about Darlena?

We have known Darlena for six years or more and in that time she has facilitated the buying or selling of six houses for us, so I guess she is doing OK!

Buying and selling houses in Florida is a complicated business and you need someone who has the knowledge and experience to do it correctly. We have nothing but praise for the way Darlena conducts her business, always putting the client’s needs to the forefront, always available to answer the many questions that we asked – what more could we want.

Thanks Darlena!”

-Mike and Lucia Holmes, Sarasota, Florida

“My husband and I went out to Sarasota August, 2008 with the intention of finding a property to purchase so we wanted to view as many properties as possible.  We had been put in touch with Darlena through a contact in the UK and had spoken to her on the telephone beforehand as well as corresponding via email.  Our first contact on the telephone put our mind at ease about buying a property abroad as Darlena was so approachable and helpful that we felt we were in the right hands.  At the time we had not narrowed down our preferred type of property or location so our selection of properties to look at when we visited was extensive.  Darlena and her team had obviously put in quite a bit of work organizing the viewings before we even met up so it was all systems go from the start.  They were both so friendly and patient with us that we felt we could even ask to go back to the same property 3 times and go to see one as the sun was setting.  Eventually we narrowed it down to a condo on the beach on Longboat Key and they were thorough in making sure that we knew about all the existing properties there for sale as well as  the backgrounds to help us make a decision.  Thankfully we made a decision and finally agreed a price with the vendor.  We managed to sign all the papers before we left to return home 10 days later as Darlena worked through a holiday and the weekend.

Darlena was fantastic in dealing with everything once we were home, and we knew that we could totally rely on them.  She was also invaluable in providing contacts for all of the other services that we needed to be able to complete the purchase eg. attorneys, surveyors, air conditioning people, decorators, and in dealing with these people on our behalf when we couldn’t be there.  She made the whole process of buying in Sarasota so simple for us and kept us up to date at every stage.  We would definitely recommend her for the friendly, helpful, patient and dedicated service that they provide where nothing is too much trouble.”

– Maureen & George Watterson, Cheshire, England

“We just wanted to say a very big thank you for all of the help and guidance that you gave us when we purchased our property in Sarasota .  It was a very big decision for us and we are naturally cautious people with regards to investments. At no time did we feel under pressure to buy and you were extremely patient when we changed our minds on a few occasions!  We are grateful for your honesty and integrity and would highly recommend your services.  Finally we had some great fun and it was a pleasure doing business with you.”

 -Chris & Karen Wright, Whittlesey Peterborough, England

“In February 2011 we wanted to move nearer the school that our children attended.  We contacted Darlena as she helped us buy the home that we were living in at that time.  Despite a difficult housing market Darlena successfully marketed our home .  At the same time she also helped us find the lovely home that we now live in.  Unusually, both the sale and purchase
presented significant challenges that could easily have placed the completion of both transactions at risk.  Darlena’s experience and knowledge helped us overcome these challenges and we moved into our new home in July.  We would highly recommend Darlena to anyone looking for a realtor who is dedicated to helping clients achieve their objectives whilst providing a professional, friendly, caring service. 

-Mel Summersbee, Sarasota, Florida

“I would like to say a Great Big Thank You for the way you handled the sale of my house.  Your commitment, dedication, and professionalism are a credit to you and your profession.  It was indeed a fortunate day for me when you agreed to act for me. Whenever I am asked about the sale of the house by anybody I always tell them “I Had One Of The Best In My Corner.”

-Jimmy Thomas, Slough Berks, United Kingdom

“In 2003, after living in the same house for 24 years, we decided it was time to downsize.  We interviewed several realtors and once we met Darlena, we knew she was the one we wanted to work with.  Darlena did a wonderful job throughout the process and once we sold the house, we asked her to help us find our next residence.  After hearing horror stories from our friends about their “closing,” we can only say that ours was non-eventful.  I am sure that is because Darlena paid attention to all the details and made sure everything was in proper order before we went to the closing.

In 2009, when we decided to retire and move out of state, we immediately contacted Darlena and asked her to list our property.  Once again, it was a positive experience.  We would highly recommend Darlena, if youu are considering buying or selling property.”

-Art and Diane Frenz, Hiawassee, Georgia

Being UK residents and looking for our first Floridian holiday home, we were so very glad that we had been put in touch with Darlena.  She was very welcoming and friendly, but not in a false way and immediately made us feel at ease.

From the start, Darlena was more than patient with us as we were very particular in what we were looking for.  She showed us many options in a variety of areas to choose from.  It could have been overwhelming, however Darlena made it very clear and easy and it was soon clear from an early stage that she understood our needs and requirements.

Darlena explained everything to us in an understanding, but thorough manner.  She provided background information to the neighbourhoods that we were looking to buy into, giving us the pros and cons.  We totally trust her to put her clients needs at the foremost.  Never once did she make us feel under pressure or rushed.

At the end of our holiday search, we found our “perfect” holiday home in such a beautiful, peaceful and friendly neighbourhood with fabulous views overlooking a lake – totally priceless!

As we had to fly back to the UK, Darlena had to handle all the paperwork and sorted out all the legal side of things on our behalf, which can be daunting when buying in the UK, let alone another country.  She made the US side of things and transition as somooth as possible, explaining all the relevant terminology.  Totally trustworthy.

Three years on, Darlena is still a greaat source of information for us.  We really appreciated all that she had done for us.  Should we ever wish to sell our home here, we would certainly call on Darlena and her expertise and experience, as well as recommend her to others.

Thanks Darlena – you were a star!

-Ian, Sophia, and Ryan Manwaring, Shropshire, United Kingdom

“We went out to Sarasota in September and met Darlena and bought a brand new build on the Isles of Palmer Ranch. The property was completed in March and in the meantime the Divosta sales team kept us updated weekly on progress with masses of photos.We completed by mail with the help of Darlena and her surveyor contacts and then had the whole place furnished through her interior designer contact. We just sat back and chose colours over the internet!

We got our first glimpse of our new home in April and loved it so much we returned again within 4 weeks. We have just returned from our second trip and are already planning our september trip and again thanks to Darlena we are hoping to have a snow bird rental in Jan – March. The whole thing started with you and the fact that you put us in touch with the most wonderful realtor Darlena.

So as I said a huge thank you to you for setting us along this route, it has truly changed our lives.”

 -Terry and Zoe Dixon, Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex

“Having taken the plunge to buy my first property abroad, I can honestly say that without the help and assistance of Darlena and her team, I guess my dream would have just remained a dream.  From the moment of locating the property, all the way through to completing the sale, I ws give practical advice and was very much assisted by Darlena’s hands on approach. 

In addition, if you need an attorney, a broker or indeed a local builder, Darlena is always there to make sure you have all the information to make the right decisions and with her experience you always get the impression that she is one step in front of everyone else.

Make sure that Darlena and SandN Real Estate are your first point of call before you consider buying in the USA.”

-Robert Smailes, Surrey, England

“On behalf of my wife and myself, I would like you to know how delighted we are with the professionalism of Darlena Nelms in the way she has carried out her job. When we  embarked on a mission to buy a property in Sarasota last year, being foreign nationals, we were obviously a little nervous in the way we would be treated and how the overall sales process would be handled. 

From the minute we met Darlena, it was apparent that she was extremely keen to put our minds at rest, allay any fears that we might have had, and ensure that we enjoyed the entire process whilst finding the right property.  We found Darlena extremely knowledgeable on the property market as a whole as well as the local area. She was always keen to answer any questions we had throughout and explain many of the pitfalls of buying a property locally. Her experience was invaluable as we visited the many properties on our schedule and her preparation and planning was excellent in ensuring that our time in viewing the properties was well spent.

Above all, she was patient, understanding and sensitive to our needs without putting us under any pressure whatsoever. We did in fact purchase a new property and since that time, Darlena has always been on hand to provide information and offer advice whenever we needed it. In short, she has always been prepared to go that “extra mile” (and still is!).

We would have no hesitation in using Darlena’s services again should the need arise, nor would we have any hesitation in recommending her to others who are looking for guidance on buying a suitable property.

 -Ali & Jane McGowan, Peth, Scotland


We so appreciate your expertise and professionalism in completing the sale of our home. The professional photos you had taken of our home to be featured on your website were an extremely important marketing piece, which I believe was one of the reasons the house was shown over 20+ times in a matter of weeks! Your calmness and attention to the details in making this transaction work to our benefit were excellent. I know there were times when I felt I was coming unglued, but you would just reassure me by being so relaxed and take care of what needed to be done. We sincerely thank you. We wish you continued success in all your real estate sales. Now, let’s meet for that cup of coffee on my new front porch.

-Rosie & Greg White, Sarasota, Florida

Living in Sarasota March 2020

Living in Sarasota March 2020

Living in Sarasota, September 2019
A publication of S&N Real Estate, Inc.

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