November Arrives on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

All is well this week on sunny Sanibel, though it is hard to talk about our marvelous weather as we watch the news and see the many pictures of the massive devastation in the northeast. Floridians have a huge appreciation for Mother Nature and hope that today’s blog finds everyone safe and on the road to recovery.

After a few windy days and lower than average temperatures earlier in the week, our weather is essentially back to normal for this time of the year – highs in the upper 70s/low 80s and nights in the high 50s/low 60s.

Photo from blog by Pam Rambo

The last few days, several beaches have been covered with pen shells and sea grasses. Those are lightweight and usually the first items to get washed ashore after a storm and often an indication that good shelling finds will follow a few days later. I bet there is lots of “Sanibel Stoop”-ing going on over the weekend.

We did not have much showing activity this week, but we had a home listing go under contract, received a new listing (a nice near-beach home), and had a small closing. Bet you didn’t know we also could sell a unbuildable lot. We like challenges! After a little research, I found a neighboring owner interested in this vacant parcel so was able to help both parties by facilitating the transaction.

Weekly Realtor Caravan

We had good Realtor® turnout at our 1st-of-the-season weekly Caravan Meeting yesterday. Few sales were reported, but more new listings were announced, and a few price reductions were reported. The entire Realtor® association is gearing up for a busy new year. (This week’s Multiple Listing Service activity is posted at the bottom of today’s blog.)

This morning was the mandatory annual training for members of our 2013 Professional Standards Committee while this afternoon I also attended the kick-off event for our 2013 local leadership team. I will be chairing the islands’ Professional Development Committee again next year. This is the group that handles our local education and training events including orientation for new Realtor® members, continuing education for licensed sales associates and brokers, and classes for professional designations including the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Specialist.

Upcoming Island Events

  • Sanibel Farmers Market – reopens Sunday for its 5th season with a couple of new vendors joining the nearly 30 that are expected to return. Two new ones are Andy’s Seafood from Pine Island who is a member of the Seafood Choices Alliances (which embraces environmentally-responsible seafood) and Farmer Mike from Bonita who will bring his own mobile market trailer. Olga of Big C’s Salsa also will be back after a short medical absence. Her salsa is wonderful! The market is every Sunday (November to April) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sanibel City Hall grounds.
  • 31st Taste of The Islands – is next Sunday, November 11 from 12:30 to 5 p.m., across the street from SanibelSusan Realty at Sanibel Community Park. (You can be sure that we will be open then to catch any prospective buyers.) With 20 local restaurants participating, two bands, the fun-to-watch traditional server competition run by the Sanibel Recreation Department, face painting, collector T-shirts, and more, this annual fundraiser for CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) is always fun. More info at  

SmartPhone Apps

Here’s a cool application that is a 1st-of-its-kind canoe and kayak navigational aid of the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. It became available yesterday which was the opening day of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival which started from the Sanibel causeway. It is free on Google Play and the iTunes store. (More info at On November 8, when the Fort Myers Boat Show opens two other iPhone and Android apps will be launched and also free – for the Lee County Boaters Guide and Artificial Reef Guide. These applications were funded by a grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District. (More boat show info at

Florida’s Amendment 4 – Questions Answered

When my son keeps questioning why he should vote “yes” on Florida’s Amendment 4 on Tuesday, I knew it was time to sleuth out a few more answers for him. For those also interested, these questions and answers came from Florida Realtors® on-line.

“Does Amendment 4 hurt job creation and small businesses?  No. Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan watchdog, determined that Amendment 4 would increase Florida’s GDP by $1.1 billion and create almost 20,000 private Florida jobs in the first 10 years. Amendment 4 will provide predictability to small businesses by lowering their yearly assessment increase cap from 10% to 5%. Furthermore, without Amendment 4, the current 10% cap will expire in 2018, leaving small businesses completely unprotected from unlimited assessment increases.

“Does Amendment 4 make a complicated tax system more complicated and confusing? No. Amendment 4 actually adds fairness and could help make the tax code simpler. Confused is what a homeowner becomes when they see their property tax bill rise even when their home value has declined. Amendment 4 will provide a way to deal with that problem by giving authority to the Legislature to create a solution.

“Is Amendment 4 unfair to homestead residents? No. Amendment 4 benefits current Florida homeowners, small businesses, and even people who rent their homes in Florida. The additional homestead exemption will help boost Florida’s struggling housing market by giving qualified buyers a reason to get into the market. This will help lower the inventory of abandoned foreclosures that are dragging current homeowner’s prices down in neighborhoods across Florida. Amendment 4 will bring more predictability to small businesses in Florida and allow them to reinvest in local economies by creating jobs, lowering prices, and raising pay for their workers.

“The price of rent in Florida, and everywhere else for that matter, is determined by adding mortgage payment, insurance, and property taxes with other expenses. Stable, predictable and responsible property assessment increases will result in stable, predictable, and responsible rent prices. So even people who rent their homes will benefit from Amendment 4. Amendment 4 also strengthens Save Our Homes protections because it would provide relief to first time homebuyers who see their new home’s taxable value reassessed upon sale. The additional homestead exemption in Amendment 4 will then responsibly phase out as the Save Our Home’s savings are kicking in. Additionally, every citizen in Florida will benefit from the new jobs, increased GDP, and $5.3 billion of personal wealth that will come back to Florida as a result of Amendment 4.

“Doesn’t Amendment 4 contribute to an unbalanced property tax system by causing different properties to pay different amounts? Amendment 4 takes an unbalanced tax burden and ADDS equity. Florida’s small businesses have been bearing the majority of the tax burden for years. Amendment 4 will give Florida’s small business predictability by lowering the assessment cap from 10% to 5% until 2023. If Amendment 4 does not pass and nothing else is done, the current 10% cap will expire in 2018. At that time, Florida’s small businesses will enjoy absolutely no predictability whatsoever. Not only will Florida’s economy miss out on the economic benefit of Amendment 4, it will also be devastated by limitless property tax increases on small business.

“Will Amendment 4 have a negative impact on government revenue?  In a comprehensive study of Amendment 4, Florida TaxWatch examined the impact to local governments. Florida TaxWatch says that even when you do not consider the economic benefit of Amendment 4, the impact is minimal. When you do consider the economic benefit of more jobs, more personal wealth, a higher GDP and more home sales, these losses will be offset and in some cases local government revenues will actually increase.

“How are schools supposed to make up the lost revenue from Amendment 4? The additional homestead exemption contained within Amendment 4 holds school funding harmless.

“What kinds of jobs does Amendment 4 create? According to Florida TaxWatch, Amendment 4 will create almost 20,000 private nonfarm jobs.

“Isn’t Amendment 4 just a tax break for rich people and snowbirds who buy million dollar houses?

Actually, Amendment 4 is most beneficial for working Floridians who purchase lower priced homes. In fact, the additional homestead exemption in Amendment 4 is capped at the median home price in the county.

“Isn’t Amendment 4 just a tax break being pushed by a bunch of Republicans? No. Amendment 4 was placed on the ballot by the Legislature with bipartisan support. Already this year, Democrat and Republican lawmakers across the state have endorsed Amendment 4.

“Won’t Amendment 4 force local governments to raise taxes or lay off teachers, firefighters and police officers?

No. While Amendment 4 does nothing to restrict local governments from raising millage rates, local governments will only see a very slight decrease in the projected increase of their budgets as a result of Amendment 4. Since Amendment 4 does nothing to cut current local governments budgets, no layoffs or millage rate increases will even be necessary. Additionally, when you consider the economic benefit of Amendment 4 and the rising home values that will result, some local governments may actually see an increase in projected revenue.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 26-November 2

4 new listings: Island Beach Club #P1A 2/2 $460K, Loggerhead Cay #582 2/2 $549K, Sundial #O205 2/2 $659K, Junonia #203 3/2 $999K.
6 price changes: Blind Pass #A105 2/2 now $395K, Sealoft Village #106 2/2 now $539K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $549K, Sundial #L202 2/2 now $599K, Pointe Santo #C32 2/2 now $640K, Shell Island Beach Club #5B 2/2 now $719K.
2 new sales: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 listed for $327,555, Pointe Santo #A21 2/2 listed for $749K.
1 closed sale: Blind Pass #B102 2/2 $325K.

6 new listings: 2985 Island Inn Rd 3/2 $399K (our listing), 1245 Anhinga Ln 3/2 $529K,  1170 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $619K, 4518 Bowen Bayou Rd 4/4 $725K, 9224 Dimmick Dr 4/2 $740K, 2963 Wulfert Rd 4/6.5 $2.85M.
6 price changes: 1001 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 now $614K, 6138 Castaways Ln 3/2.5 now $684K, 5742 Pine Tree Dr 4/2 now $798.9K, 5750 Pine Tree Dr 2/2 now $848.5K, 862 Beach Rd 3/2 now $939K, 1066 Beach Rd 3/3 now $1.25M (short sale).
4 new sales: 688 Cardium St 5/4 listed for $399.9K, 1536 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $433.5K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 listed for $499K (our listing), 4996 Joewood Dr 3/3 listed for $760K.
8 closed sales: 1125 Captains Walk St 2/2 $405K, 293 Palm Lake 3/2 $426K, 9440 Begonia Ct 3/2 $465K, 660/664 Periwinkle Way 4/2/2 duplex $550K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 $560K, 445 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $609K, 3864 West Gulf Dr 4/5.5 $2M, 3825 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $2.3M.

1 new listing:  5407 Osprey Ct $595,555.
3 price changes: 9211 Dimmick Dr now $149,555; 4556 Buck Key Rd now $249,9; 1894 Farm Trail now $289,555.
No new or closed sales.


1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2228 2/2 $600K.
1 price change: Marina Villas #801 2/2 now $552K.
No new or closed sales.

Nothing to report.

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.