Sanibel & Captiva Islands Are Busy, Even Though Snowbirds Are Beginning to Fly Away

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For those island lovers who also enjoy the work of our professional photographer, Jim Anderson, with JMA Photography. The above slide show is composed of photos from his last book “Sanibel & Captiva – Our Islands in The Sun”. Jim films all of SanibelSusan’s listings and prepares our streaming videos. See more of his work at

What’s Happening on the Islands This Week

Beachfront at Pointe Santo

We now are into the two weeks that typically are the busiest on Sanibel and Captiva Islands (other than Christmas/New Years). Many accommodations have turn-overs tomorrow with full occupancy expected until Easter Sunday. That means that many Realtors® will be out scurrying tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (when renters depart and before the new guests arrive). This time of the year that is often the only time that we can show investment-rental-type condos, photograph new listings and prepare inventories. Since tomorrow also happens to be the end of the month, there will be turn-over in rental homes too. Will make for a fun Saturday, as showings are best when properties are put back together, and cleaners are doing their magic during that short 5-hour window too. Just one of our local rental organizations has over 400 turn-overs tomorrow. Imagine the number of sheets and towels involved in that exercise!

SanibelSusan’s listing had good activity this week and I was out showing mostly homes yesterday and again today to some folks who have been following my blog for the last year. Love it when marketing works!

Controlled Fire Planned at The Refuge Tomorrow

Sometimes island visitors are surprised to see a fire at J. N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and are not aware that a fire there may be willfully set. Notice was given this week that tomorrow, March 31 the Refuge will be conducting the 2nd controlled burn at the botanical site to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fires and to help preserve the national ecology of the area. Purposefully setting and controlling fires can prevent wild land fires. This technique, often called, “prescribed fire” will reduce the amount of dried vegetation or potential fuel. Here’s a link to more info about controlled burns and a map of the prescribed fire area,

Top Markets for International Home Buyers

An article posted in Daily Real Estate News this week spoke favorably of our local Southwest Florida area. It said in part: “Foreign buyers are being lured by the bargain prices in American real estate. So which markets are the most attractive to these international buyers? Florida continues to be the most popular destination among foreign home buyers, but other states are attracting more foreign interest as well. More than half – 58% – of international sales in 2011 came from these four states alone: Florida (31%), California (12%), Texas (9%), and Arizona (6%), according to National Association of Realtors® data. Inman News recently identified the individual markets where foreign buyers make up the biggest share of home buyers. Among the top markets to make the list: 

            Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL

            Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL

            Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 

            North Point-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL 

            Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

            Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ

            New York County, NY (Manhattan)

            Honolulu, HI

“See which other real estate markets topped the list, along with more information about the study, at Inman News ( “10 Hot Spots for Global Homebuyers.”

Have Home Prices Finally Reached Bottom?

Last Friday’s Daily Real Estate News posted these predictions from HousingWire: ““Prices are bottoming now,” according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast, released this week. In the fall, the analysts had predicted home prices would drop by 8% from the second quarter of 2011 through the first quarter of 2013 — but now they’re revising that forecast, realizing the housing market is stabilizing faster than they originally thought. The analysts now predict that prices will remain flat for the next two years, as the excess foreclosure inventory is absorbed. They then expect to see a pickup in home prices by 2014. And in the long-term, they see a big rise in housing prices. From 2012 through 2020, analysts forecast a cumulative growth of 42% in home prices (at 4% on an annualized basis).”

Realtor® – Just to Set the Record Straight

It has always been a SanibelSusan pet peeve to hear the word Realtor® mispronounced. You have probably heard it too, when some folks say “Real-A-tor”. One of our local attorneys sometimes says it that way just to get my goat. The actual pronunciation is “Reel-tor”, like a fishing reel. Here is some other information that you also may not know about the word: Realtor® is not a job title and it does not identify the services provided or tasks performed by a licensee. Instead, Realtor® identifies a person’s status as a member of the local, state, and national associations and their commitment to conduct their business whether as a real estate agent, commercial broker, property manager, appraiser, or other real estate specialty, in accordance with the obligations of membership, abiding to the Realtor® Code of Ethics. The term is trademarked.

How Important Is the Kitchen

It is amazing how many times I have seen a Buyer turn away from a property because a kitchen is dated or not appealing. A recent article in our monthly Realtor® magazine listed “five low-cost kitchen redos that buyers will love.

“1. Hardware – Replacing cabinet hardware, such as handles, knobs, and hinges is quick. According to, an average kitchen is 200 square feet with 30 linear feet of cabinetry, which equates to about 40 handles and knobs. Averaging between $2 and $20 per knob or pull, a home owner can expect to spend from $80 to $800 for this enhancement.

2. Faucet – There are a myriad of options today in terms of height, spouts, pullout hoses, and folding necks, with quality faucets starting at around $200.

3. Lighting – Adding an LED under-cabinet light can have a dramatic effect for about $40.

4. Organization – Buyers today choose functionality over elaborate decoration, says Jamie Goldberg, a National Kitchen and Bath Association certified designer. Practical storage in the kitchen will go a long way. Over-the-door hooks, baskets in the pantry, drawer organizers, wall hooks for pots and pans, and stackable shelves for cabinets will add appeal, typically for less than $100.

5. Countertops – Laminate can mimic the contemporary look of granite at a significant discount. The cost for an average kitchen with 30 linear feet of laminate countertop is roughly $1,575; the same space in granite would be $2,400.”

Four Home Technologies for Energy Efficiency

Home owners may shave $200 to $400 off their energy bills annually while increasing the long-term value of their property, by employing these high-tech tips posted in Realtor® magazine, by The National Association of Home Builders:

“1. Automated HVAC Systems – Programmable thermostats can save consumers about $180 year in energy costs, according to Energy Star. Automated systems can be set to reduce consumption when residents are out and to create heating and cooling zones in a home – a guest bedroom, for instance, might not always need the same level of heat or cooling as the living room.

2. Water Heaters – Tank-less gas water heaters turn on when residents start using hot water and turn off when they’re done, which can reduce water heating cost up to 35% annually. Water heaters that have a timer can be programmed to turn off when the home owner is away.

3. Lighting – Automatic dimmers will adjust lighting based on the time of day, which is extremely beneficial for exterior lighting.

4. Blinds & Drapes – Automated blinds are an eco-savvy development in window treatments. Program shades to close during the hottest part of the day in summer and to let sun in during winter.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 23-30

No new listings.
11 price changes: Captains Walk #D3 1/1 now $140K, Sundial #C110 1/1 now $323.9K, Blind Pass #B102 2/2 now $389K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $467K, Sunset South #1B 2/2 now $549K, Pelicans Roost #104 2/2 now $625K, Loggerhead Cay #121 2/2 now $725K, Sundial #T207 2/2 now $849K, White Pelican #111 2/2 now $1.045M, Compass Point #181 2/3 now $1.049M, Ferry Landing #1 2/2 now $1.295M.
5 new sales: Sundial #F408 1/1 listed for $299K, Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 listed for $399K, Sandalfoot #4C2 2/2 listed for $489K, Oceans Reach #1C1 2/2 listed for $775K, Atrium #105 2/2 listed for $990K.
4 closed sales: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 $228K (short sale), Blind Pass #B202 2/2 $340K, White Caps South #2 1/1 $450K, Pointe Santo #C35 3/2 $700K.
8 new listings: 6138 Castaways Ln 3/2.5 $725K, 335 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $725K, 5650 SanCap Rd 2/2 $735K, 1662 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $899K, 916 Beach Rd 4/3 $999K (our listing), 1690 Sabal Palm Dr 4/3 $1.595M, 5071 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $4.25M, 3635 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $4.45M.
10 price changes: 984 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 half-duplex now $345K, 750 Nerita St 3/2 now $499K, 1417 Causey Ct 3/2 now $544K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 now $673.5K, 1366 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $689K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $878.9K, 2449 Harbour Ln 2/2 now $995K, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 now $1.249M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 now $1.9M, 4215 West Gulf Dr 4/4/2 now $4.899.9M.
5 new sales: 1086 Sand castle Rd 3/2 listed for $544K, 1731 Venus Dr 3/3 listed for $949K, 1570 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 listed for $899K (short sale), 5063 Joewood Dr 4/5.5 listed for $3.395M, 3401 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 listed for $4.788M.
3 closed sales: 761 Nerita St 3/2 $410K, 3861 Coquina Dr 3/3 $695K, 1918 Woodring Rd 4/4 $2.3M (our sale).
No new listings or price changes.
2 new sales: 2285 Wulfert Rd listed for $139K (short sale), 1594 Century Ct listed for $139.9K. 
No closed sales.
No new listings.
2 price changes: Bayside Villas #5338 3/3 now $599K, Lands End Village #1628 3/3 now $1.675M.
3 new sales: Bayside Villas #4322 3/3 listed for $510K (short sale), Captiva Shores #6B 2/2 listed for $699.9K, Beach Homes #32 3/2.5 listed for $1.695M.
1 closed sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #1D 2/2 $480K.  
No new listings.
1 price change: 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 now $5.4M.
2 new sales: 15361 Captiva Dr 5/4 listed for $2.3M (short sale), 16238 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 listed for $3.999M.
1 closed sale: 15867 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 $3.25M.
Nothing to report.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.