It is SanibelSusan, once again posting the The SanibelSusan Team weekly report of the real estate activity on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. First here are a few photos taken by teammate, Dave, while he and Lisa were off viewing properties on Realtor® Caravan yesterday. They were taken from Beach Access #7 on West Gulf Drive.
High season seems to be flying by. At our weekly Realtor® Meeting yesterday another flurry of sales were announced. Again, they were mostly Sanibel homes. (See below for the details.) I was out showing homes and condos again last weekend and put another condo under contract as a result.
In the real estate business, particularly in a resort/vacation home environment like Sanibel and Captiva Islands, it is not unusual to year-after-year show property to the same prospective buyers, before they eventually make a purchase. 2013 for me, so far has been the exception. Hooray for that!
Four weekends of showings have resulted in sales every weekend, some weekends more than one! Sure wish I had some lookers for this weekend too – or my streak may end. Teammate Dave was out looking for buyers Wednesday when he held an Open House at our canal-front listing on Beach Road in Shell Harbor (photo below). He had good traffic.
Just four weeks of high season remain, also illustrated by the number of price reductions posted in our local Multiple Listing Service this week (also in the report below). It is typical for us to see more price reductions as “season” winds down.
Tooting Our Own Horn
What a wonderful surprise this week to receive a letter from an island client who just completed his family’s fifth real estate transaction with me and The SanibelSusan Team. As a long-time broker himself in another state, it was especially meaningful to me for him to write:
“Seldom, if ever, have I experienced the level of professionalism, trust, and confidence that I have in you and your staff. Your knowledge of Sanibel real estate and the current market is unsurpassed. The dedication you provide to your clients is absolutely the pinnacle in the real estate industry…There is a specific set of core values that your firm demonstrates that is very comforting to clients such as ourselves…We also appreciate how your “team” is working so well together.”
Dave, Elise, Lisa, and I certainly appreciate his kindness. The letter definitely brightened our day. We are grateful for our clients. When they are happy, it makes us happy too!
76th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival
The Sanibel Community House across the street and adjacent to SanibelSusan Realty Associates has been a beehive of activity this week, preparing for the 76th Annual Sanibel Shell Fair which began yesterday. Again this year, SanibelSusan sponsored the “Best Flower Exhibit” in the Professional Artistic Division.
If you are in town now, the festival runs through 4 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) with the exhibits available for viewing. It’s a terrific annual event, but be warned, traffic is heavy.
News from the “Sanctuary Sound”
The March issue of The Sanctuary Golf Club newsletter says: “The Board of Governors of The Sanctuary Golf Club has approved an increase in the price of the Equity Membership to $110,000, effective July 1, 2013. If you join now as an Introductory Member and pay the $10,000 membership fee and annual dues, the advantages are plenty. The $100,000 membership fee will be locked in. You will have full access to the Club and its facilities, and save $10,000. If you were planning on joining The Sanctuary next fall, and will not be using the Club until then, considering paying the $10,000 Introductory fee now to lock in the $100,000 Equity membership price. Your membership will start on Oct 1, 2013. (There are a limited number of Equity and Social Memberships.)”
This photo above was taken last week at the entrance to The Sanctuary Clubhouse. These are two of my pals from the BIG ARTS Community Chorus singers who performed at the F.I.S.H. (Friends in Service Here) Annual Membership Meeting and Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. Love those orchids! Chorus got kudos for singing too!
Watch for Fake Cashier’s Checks
“A rash of fake cashier’s checks has closing agents now requiring closing funds to be paid by wire transfer or other “collected” funds. In the past, cashier’s checks carried limited risk, so a closing agent typically disbursed funds at closing based on receipt of a cashier’s check – even when the closing agent had not verified that the funds had been collected. Things have changed. Counterfeiters can now create excellent cashier’s checks, and these counterfeit checks are being presented for payment nationwide and internationally in connection with a variety of real estate scams.
“Recent frauds in Florida have involved fraudsters using the names of real doctors or other professionals living in the United Kingdom and other foreign countries. These fraudsters, posing as the professionals, contacted real estate brokers asking for assistance in buying properties. Then they entered into sale and purchase contracts and asked the brokers to put them in touch with real estate attorneys to assist with the transactions. The real estate brokers, who were not involved in the scam, put these “buyers” together with attorneys with whom they already had relationships. The fraudsters then sent larger-than-necessary sums via counterfeit checks and requested the excess funds be wired to a third party for contrived reasons, such as the purchase of furniture.
“Although attorneys were targeted, these types of scams result in real estate licensee’s wasting their time and energy on transactions that won’t close. What can you do? When dealing with an unknown foreign buyer, verify that the person with whom you are working is actually the person he or she claims to be.”
Fraud has happened on Sanibel too. Some months ago, I had a buyer for a vacant residential parcel that was listed for sale in our local Multiple Listing Service. The German Seller’s listing documents and my Buyer’s offer to purchase were all delivered and signed via e-mail through the listing company. Having recently heard of a listing scam with another foreign owner, I asked the title company, processing the closing, to call the European Seller. When they did, they found out that he had no intention of selling. It seems that the listing and sale documents were all signed by a fraud with a bogus e-mail address (that was surprisingly similar to the Seller’s name). If that call to the “real” Seller had not been made, my Buyer’s funds could have been wired to a scammer. Sometimes, intuition pays off. Through further investigation, I learned that this has happened often in Florida.
Finding Homeownership Tax Deductions
“Tax season is underway, and homeowners gearing up to meet the April 15 filing deadline can find the tax tips and insights they need at HouseLogic.com, a consumer website created by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). An overview of the tax benefits of homeownership, HouseLogic’s Homeowner’s Guide to Taxes helps filers get a general understanding and avoid common home-related tax mistakes.
““From the mortgage interest deduction to energy tax credits, many homeowners can take advantage of a variety of tax strategies that can lower their tax bill,” says Pamela Kabati, NAR senior vice president of communications and HouseLogic spokesperson. “For example, a family who bought a home last year with a $200,000, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, assuming an interest rate of 4.5 percent, could save nearly $3,500 in federal taxes when they file this year.”
“HouseLogic also offers tips to avoid unnecessary tax mistakes in 9 Easy Mistakes Home Owners Make on Their Taxes, which identifies common errors, such as deducting the wrong year for property taxes, confusing the escrow amount for actual property taxes paid and neglecting to take the private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction.
“Other possible deductions: Homeowners who make certain energy-efficient home improvements may be eligible for tax credits. Also, owners who had a portion of their mortgage forgiven as part of a workout plan, short sale or foreclosure don’t have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt, provided the mortgage was secured by a principal residence and the total amount of the outstanding debt is not more than the original purchase price plus improvements.
“Other HouseLogic articles:
• How to Deduct PMI
• How to Deduct Mortgage Interest and Equity Loan Costs
• How to Amend Your Tax Return
• How to Claim Your 2012 Energy Tax Credits
“Homeowners should consult a tax professional for specific advice about their own transactions or circumstances. Information on HouseLogic should not be relied on as tax or legal advice.”
I got a chuckle from this quote, also from the March “FloridaRealtor®” magazine. It is by American businesswoman and daughter of real estate mogul Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump.
She said, “Real estate is my life. It is my day job, if you will. But it consumes my nights and weekends, too.”
We know the feeling, Ivanka; but it’s all good!
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 1-8
2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #G7 2/2 $499K, White Pelican #112 2/2 $850K.
7 price changes: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 now $264.9K, Sundial #L202 2/2 now $499K (short sale), Sanddollar #B104 2/2 now $889K, White Pelican #111 2/2 now $899K, High Tide #A101 2/2 now $1.225M, Pine Cove #104 3/2 now $1.25M, Seascape #104 3/3 now $2.595M.
5 new sales: Lake Palms #2 2/2.5 listed for $259K (our sale), Villa Sanibel #2H 2/2 listed for $520K, Sundial #J207 2/2 listed for $529K, Seascape #302 3/3.5 listed for $1.324M, Golden Beach #2 3/2.5 listed for $1.395M.
2 closed sales: Heron at The Sanctuary #1A 2/2.5 $465K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $425K.
6 new listings: 1609 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $415K, 1290 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $449K, 9484 Peaceful Dr 3/3.5 $639K, 4279 Gulf Pines Dr 4/3 $835K, 657 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $989K, 1444 Causey Ct 4/4 $1.199M, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 $1.55M.
12 price changes: 1639 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $399K, 945 Main St 3/3 now $435K (short sale), 2027 Sunrise Cir 4/4 duplex now $474.9K, 1667 Sabal Sands Rd 3/3 now $499K, 398 Old Trail Rd 3/3 now $549K, 9470 Balsa Ct 3/2 now $699K, 701 Heather Ln 4/3.5 now $750K, 1694 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 now $1.095M, 789 Pyrula Ave 4/2.5 now $1.165M, 1520 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/3.5 now $2.25M, 4949 Joewood Dr 5/5 now $2.649M, 1310 Seaspray Ln 5/4.5 now $3.195M.
10 new sales: 1394 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex listed for $449K, 1414 Causey Ct 3/2 listed for $499K, 9224 Dimmick Dr 4/2 listed for $699K, 1066 Bailey Rd 3/3 listed for $824.5K (short sale), 1662 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 listed for $839K, 1141 Paper Fig Ct 3/3.5 listed for $1.495M, 413 Bella Vista Way E 4/4 listed for $1.849M, 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $2.495M, 5071 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 listed for $3.99M.
7 closed sales: 3344 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $490K, 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 $532.5K, 3311 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $540K, 6138 Castaways Ln 3/2.5 $600K, 1031 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $625K, 1323 Seaspray Ln 4/4.5 $2.2M, 5035 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $3,322,625.
No new listings.
1 price change: 708 Durion Ct now $349K.
2 new sales: 1450 Tahiti Dr listed for $199,555; 6401 Pine Ave listed for $699K.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
3 price changes: Tennis Villas #3139 2/2 now $385K, Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 now $625K, Sunset Beach Villas #2338 3/3 now $850K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1609 2/2 $1.175M.
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.
Happy Weekend, all.
If you are coming to Sanibel & Captiva Islands soon & are wondering about our March weather. High today is 77 degrees, with more of the same over the next five days (highs of 82 forecast for Monday & Tuesday). Sure beats snow & ice!