Sanibel Sunsets & Island Real Estate News

Another summer week is behind us, surprisingly with Southwest Florida being touted as one of the coolest spots in the nation a couple of times. It is definitely an unusual weather pattern if Florida is cooler than 40 of the 48 contiguous states.

Over the last seven days, Sanibel and Captiva Island have had mostly sunny days but plenty of rain too, particularly yesterday. More is expected later today and again tomorrow. Swales are full, ponds and lakes overflowing, and the tropical vegetation is growing like crazy.

Here is a photo sent to me earlier this week by one of our happy island homeowners. Those afternoon/early evening storms usually are followed by fabulous sunsets! Luckily this family now owns in the perfect location for viewing those.

Sanibel sunset, photo thanks to Scott, 07-13-13

Sanibel sunset, photo thanks to Scott, 07-13-13

Here are a couple of news items, followed by the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action this week. We had another nice closing on Monday, the last of our “winter sales”, now on to summer…

Association of Realtors® July Membership Meeting

ASSOC LogoSanibelSusan Realty listings starred in the Realtor Caravan following our local Association of Realtors® meeting yesterday. Since our Association had not met for four weeks because of the July 4th holiday, most attendees expected that many new listings would be announced, but “no”, there was just a handful, including our new listing in Sanibel Shores.  The new-listing caravan had only five properties on tour (15 is the maximum allowed). Three of the five were SanibelSusan listings including Marine Pointe #631, Pointe Santo #B23, and 9477 Peaceful Drive (photos below). We got good feedback on them too! Now we just need to see buyers in town.

Mariner Pointe #631

Mariner Pointe #631, photo by Dave

Pointe Santo

9477 Peaceful Drive

9477 Peaceful Drive, photo by JMA Photography

The educational segment of the meeting featured a panel of rental company managers offering helpful information on how these companies can best work with sales associates. One of the items discussed was the new Florida Realtors/FloridaBAR sales contracts that are expected to be approved during the upcoming August Florida Realtors® Annual Business Meetings in Orlando. Both the traditional “Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase” and the “”AS IS” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase” in addition to other changes includes one about future rentals. In the paragraph about “Occupancy and Possession” a new paragraph with check-box is added which says:

“CHECK IF PROPERTY IS SUBJECT TO LEASE(s) OR OCCUPANCY AFTER CLOSING: If property is subject to a lease(s) after Closing or is intended to be rented or occupied by third parties beyond Closing, the facts and terms thereof shall be disclosed in writing by Seller to Buyer and copies of the written lease(s) shall be delivered to Buyer, all within 5 days after Effective Date. If Buyer determines, in Buyer’s sole discretion, that the lease(s) or terms of occupancy are not acceptable to Buyer, Buyer may terminate this Contract by delivery of written notice of such election to Seller within 5 days after receipt of the above items from Seller, and Buyer shall be refunded the Deposit thereby releasing Buyer and Seller from all further obligations under this Contract. Estoppel Letter(s) and Seller’s affidavit shall be provided pursuant to STANDARD D. If Property is intended to be occupied by Seller after Closing, see Rider U. POST-CLOSING OCCUPANCY BY SELLER.”During a follow-up question-and-answer period, a local bank Vice President and Association Affiliate Member, mentioned that checking this box could adversely affect a Buyer’s loan scenarios/terms. That makes sense, since investment property is generally considered highest risk (compared to primary residences and 2nd homes).

Another Realtor® member mentioned that sometimes Seller’s have future rental bookings at reduced rates or they block future rental periods for themselves/family/guests at no cost. Sometimes that is looked upon unfavorably by a prospective Buyer who may be looking to maximize income.

A good time to revisit your lease/rental agreement and think about the best way to get your property sold is before it is listed.  Many rental contracts have obligations about future bookings. Be sure and pass that information along to your Realtor® and perhaps, when you decide to sell, think twice about how far out you are willing to accept bookings, sometimes prospective buyers do not want to honor rentals. (In recent years, the percentage of buyers wanting rental income has declined. Rather, most buy primarily for their own use.)

Helping Mother Nature on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

SCCF logoOne of my favorite things about living on Sanibel and Captiva is the general positive attitude about coexisting with nature. This summer with a beach renourishment project coming up, staff and volunteers with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Sea Turtle Monitoring Program are even assisting Mother Nature.

Each day during nesting season, May to October, the 18 miles of the island gulf beaches from Sanibel’s east-end lighthouse to the tip of Captiva are checked starting at dawn by Turtle Patrol volunteers. Sea turtle nests are identified and marked for monitoring and protection. New hatches are evaluated and recorded with the data helpful in future state and national decision-making that protects sea turtles.

SCCF photo of Sanibel's first turtle nest of 2013

SCCF photo of Sanibel’s first turtle nest of 2013

Unfortunately, this year nesting season falls smack-dab in the middle of a long-planned August beach renourishment project which will add more than 800,000 cubic yards of sand on Captiva from Redfish Pass to Blind Pass, and also on the Captiva-end of Sanibel, where an additional 75,000 cubic yards will be added.

In preparation for this project, SCCF and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) stepped in and took action. A special permit was issued which allows SCCF’s biologist and Turtle Monitoring Program Coordinator, Amanda Bryant, and other FWC Marine Turtle permit holders to move nests that would be impacted.

SCCF photo of turtle hatchlings heading to gulf

SCCF photo of turtle hatchlings heading to gulf

According to Amanda, as of last week, they had moved 21 nests. According to an article in today’s “Island Sun”, she trained for two years with FWC to obtain this permit and she knows how to create a new egg chamber, just like a mama turtle would. Moving the eggs quickly also is key. The new nests are staked, marked and numbered, just like the ones the mamas create. Thanks to Amanda and her team of volunteers, hundreds of new hatchlings may emerge in about two months – just another wonderful example of how life is on the islands.

City of Sanibel Continues To Be Cost Cautious

Sanibelcityseal logoAt Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council meeting, a preliminary millage rate of 2.0861 was established as recommended by the City’s financial department with a 2014 budget described by City Manager Judie Zimomra as “tight”. This rate is slightly less than last year’s 2.1 mils. Council will conduct the first budget public hearing on Saturday, September 7 at 9 a.m. The 2nd and final hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 17 at 5:01 p.m.

Sanibel Crosswalk Study

CROSSWALKAnother item on Tuesday’s City Council agenda was discussion about three of Sanibel’s busiest areas for pedestrian and bike traffic. To improve crosswalk safety, several design alternatives were presented as part of this study.

The three intersections being investigated are:

  • Periwinkle Way & Bailey Road (near the Dairy Queen and Lazy Flamingo)
  • Periwinkle Way & Casa Ybel Road (across from Jerry’s Market)
  • Tarpon Bay Road & Island Inn Road (across from Lily & Company)

Following public input and discussion, these areas will be examined further and the topic is continued until Council’s next meeting.

Helping You Save During the Heat Wave

Lcec logoIn getting ready for our closing this week, the buyer asked for advice on the appropriate HVAC temperature setting for their new home. Most of the time, I keep my home and the office set at 78 degrees F, but was happy that a flier arrived from Lee County Electric Co-op with my electric bill on the same day and about that very subject. It says:

“Warmer weather has arrived and you may be looking for ways to save energy and lower your bill. Our energy experts are here to help you save energy by following these simple tips:

  • When cooling your home, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F. Each degree below adds 8 to 12% to cooling costs.
  • While away from home for more than two hours, set the thermostat at 83 degrees F.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temperature at certain times of the day.
  • Turn off fans when the room is not occupied. Each continuously running fan costs approximately $7 per month on your electric bill.
  • Do not close A/C vents or interior doors when A/C is running.

For more green energy tips visit”

One for the Birds

Visit Florida logoWhen I saw this article posted on this week, I knew Sanibel would have to make the list.

“Five Top Spots for Birding in Florida – Florida, birding and wildlife viewing is a big deal – even bigger than you might imagine.

In fact, birding is second only to beach-related activities as a form of outdoor recreation for both visitors and residents. The trend is still on the rise, so count on seeing more and more people carrying binoculars and spotting scopes around the Sunshine State.

If you’re already into birding, you probably know that Florida is considered one of the best places in the world for the activity. Here are five of the top spots you don’t want to miss:

•   Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – For Titusville, having one of the state’s most diverse wildlife habitats on your doorstep is a good thing. In January, the area hosts the annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, which is the largest of its kind in the country. Birders flock to the area en masse to get a look at migrating waterfowl and all manner of shorebirds along Black Point Wildlife Drive, a 7-mile loop around salt marsh impoundments. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, you’re sure to check a few species off your life list here. 

•   Everglades National Park – When wildlife lovers dream, they more than likely dream about the Everglades. Not only is it a National Park, it’s also designated as an International Biosphere Reserve for its ecological importance. Residents of Everglades National Park include the Florida panther, American crocodile, the rare Ghost orchid, manatees and much more. For a good day trip, check out the Anhinga Trail and the Shark Valley tram.

•   Dry Tortugas National Park – Located about 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park is a little difficult to reach, but the reward is well worth the effort. Catch a ride on the Yankee Freedom Ferry, a high-speed catamaran that can get you there in just a couple of hours. Go in the spring and you’ll be rewarded with the rare sight of thousands of Sooty terns and Brown noddies nesting on Bush Key.

Roseate spoonbills in J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, photo by Hans.

Roseate spoonbills in J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, photo by Hans.

•   J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge – Year-round birding and wildlife viewing is terrific on Sanibel Island. At “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, you can drive around the 4-mile Wildlife Drive and get looks at Roseate spoonbills and Gray kingbirds. Take a walk on the Indigo Trail in the summer months, where Mangrove cuckoos can be found.

•   STA5/Lake Okeechobee – It’s not a National Park or a National Wildlife Refuge, but STA-5 is one of the best birding spots in South Florida. Stormwater treatment areas are designed to filter out excess nutrients that would otherwise flow to the Everglades, but they also turn out to be excellent places for birding. To access STA-5, you’ll need to register a visit with one of the local Audubon Society chapters. The birding is fantastic year-round, and you’ll definitely add a few life-listers at STA-5.

If five locations aren’t enough, don’t worry. The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail covers the entire state, with 514 official sites to explore. Check out for more information.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 12-19

2 new listings: Mariner Pointe #733 2/2 $395K, Sanibel Arms #C4 2/2 $489.9K.
3 price changes: Sanbel Arms #C8 2/2 now $429K, Loggerhead Cay #451 2/2 now $485K, White Pelican #112 2/2 now $799K.
2 new sales: Tarpon Beach #206 2/2 listed for $667K, Gulfside Place #323 2/2 listed for $969K.

Our closing this week, Lake Palms #2

Our closing this week, Lake Palms #2

3 closed sales: Lake Palms #2 2/2.5 $235K (our sale), Island Beach Club #P3A 2/2 $450K, Tarpon Beach #205 2/2 $650K.
4 new listings: 1520 Center St 2/2 $319K, 659 Donax St 2/2 $449K (our listing), 735 Donax St 3/2 $489K, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 $1.545M.
2 price changes: 4563 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/3 now $649K, 1826 Woodring Rd 3/2 now $1.33M (short sale).
1 new sale: 1941 Roseate Ln 3/2 listed for $449.9K.

Our new listing this week at 659 Donax St

Our new listing this week at 659 Donax St

3 closed sales: 966 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex $322.5K, 1193 Kittiwake Cir 4/3 $530K, 407 Bella Vista Way E 4/4 $2.6M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 708 Durion Ct now $359K.
1 new sale: 5891 SanCap Rd listed for $448K.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2238 3/3 now $825K.
2 new sales: Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 listed for $255K, Bayside Villas #5134 1/2 listed for $267.9K.
1 closed sale: Beach Villas #2533 2/2 $685K.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 now $1.899M, 14971 Binder Dr 4/3  now $2.695M.
No new or closed sales.
1 new listing: 16297 Captiva Dr $1.749M.
No price changes, new or closed sales. 

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.

sunset from masterHere’s to a rain-free weekend or if not, at least one with more fabulous sunsets!

Don’t forget to call The SanibelSusan Team for all of your island real estate needs! (both Sanibel & Captiva)