If you are an agent who has been searching for homes of all types and in all price ranges for your buyers, you don’t have to read the article in today’s Real Estate section to be aware of the fact that home inventories are shrinking in the Sarasota County area. I spent this weekend with buyers who had come down last September to get an idea of the market and returned to New Jersey confident that they would have a multitude of choices of homes on their next visit. Well, this trip they were dismayed to find that the choices had shrunk to about a third of what had been available then. My partner and I have been e-mailing our northern buyers for months now trying to get them to understand the inventory situation but until they actually arrive here and see it for themselves they just don’t believe it. And why not? Because the media continues to treat the entire country as one big market instead of understanding that not only is all real estate local, it can be local street by street within each city. We continue to get calls from website leads asking us to send listings of beachfront properties in the 100K range because ” the newspaper says that you can offer half of listing price all over the state of Florida.” Well, that just isn’t true and if it is going to take a plane ride down for them to understand the realities of our market, I will be happy to pick them up at the airport. I am not a Pollyanna agent, touting recovery and “now is the time to buy” is not my mantra. But, many buyers are missing out on low prices and good deals because they are looking for something that does not exist. By the time they figure it out, the choices will be even slimmer and they will have to settle for less than the home they wanted all along. Sarasota County in January had a 4.3 month supply of inventory, down from 6.6 months in December and with sales remaining steady it could go down again in February.