The Weekend Forecast Says Sunny & Mid-70’s on Sanibel Island

It sure is nice to be back on Sanibel this week where the outside temperature is warmer than the inside temperature at that chilly Orlando hotel I visited last week for the Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Business Meetings. Kidding aside, the islands had a couple of cool (60-degree) days recently as well as some much-needed rain. Starting tomorrow, just in time for the February arrivals, temperatures are expected to be back into the mid-70’s to low 80’s and the forecast for the immediate future is sunny! Now is a great time to vacation on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and to show and sell property.

SanibelSusan Realty got a nice home listing this week at 1960 Roseate Lane in Sanibel Lakes Estates. Our professional photographer will be filming tomorrow but there are some initial photos are below.

Several of our listings had some solid positive feedback from showings this week. There will be lots more showings tomorrow in those investment rental properties during that brief window when some tenants depart, cleaners do their magic, and other renters arrive.

Following a few news items, below is the action reported in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days. It’s getting busy!

City of Sanibel Designated 4th Safest City in Florida

Sanibelcityseal logoThe following was posted early this week on the City’s website:

“The City of Sanibel has been designated the 4th safest city in Florida.  To determine the ten safest places in Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2012 crime statistics were evaluated.  The 202 cities in Florida with populations over 5,000 were each evaluated in the study.  The study evaluated crimes in each community in three categories:

  • Property crimes (theft, burglary, motor thefts)
  • Violent crimes (rape, murder, theft)
  • Chance a resident will be a victim of crime.

“The above criteria were weighted with a greater emphasis on violent crime, followed by property crime and then the likelihood a resident would be a crime victim.  Thus, violent crimes account for 50% of the ranking, property crimes account for 30% of the ranking and a resident’s likelihood of being a crime victim accounts for 20% of the ranking.

“To place the study in perspective, 421,192 crimes were committed in 2012, in the 202 cities analyzed.  In 2012, 114 of these crimes occurred within the Sanibel city limits and none were violent crimes.   To view the full announcement click here.

“Upon reviewing the report, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane stated, “By design, the safety of citizens and visitors is our community’s highest priority. While this recognition is appreciated, we are recommitted to remaining a safe town in which to live, work and recreate.”

“Sanibel Chief of Police Bill Tomlinson added, “We are a safe community because our citizen’s care and we work together in partnership with our residents and businesses.  We encourage our community to report suspicious activity and vehicles, and they do. Crime prevention is the major focus of our Department.”

“”Investments by the Sanibel City Council into best available technology, training and equipment support our safety initiatives.  Furthermore, our Police Officers regularly meet with homeowner’s associations and business owners to be certain that everyone understands that suspicious behaviors should be reported, and reported promptly to the Police Department,” stated Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra.

“In 2013, the Sanibel Police Department responded to 24,790 calls for service. Any Sanibel organization that would like to schedule a presentation by the Sanibel Police Department should contact Chief Tomlinson at (239) 472-3111.”

What’s on REALTORS®’ Minds

realtor logoThe following was posted on “Daily Real Estate News” this week and echoes the concern that I have heard from local colleagues and at the Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Business Meetings:

“Though the market is poised to continue its gains in 2014, a number of issues cited by members of the National Association of REALTORS® have the potential to slow things down, according to a new survey.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to …real estate practitioners. The survey routinely asks for expectations regarding home sales, prices, and market conditions… As 2014 begins, REALTORS® noted a number of concerns that they felt could be a drag on the recovery:

  • regulations pertaining to Qualified Mortgage (QM) loans
  • reductions in FHA loan ceiling limits
  • a further increase in mortgage rates
  • slow job growth
  • uncertainties associated with the cost of flood insurance
  • potential impacts from the Affordable Care Act

“NAR’s outlook for the coming year is overwhelmingly positive, but the organization says that the market “is essentially moving sideways—growing at a more tempered pace than was the case last year. Future prices are generally projected to continue to increase, but at a more subdued pace than was previously the case.””

LCEC News – Rate Decrease in 2014

Lcec logoGreat news reported in the “LCEC News” January newsletter: “While many utilities are increasing electric rates, LCEC (Lee County Electric Co-op) is reducing rates in 2014. We have not raised electric rates for five years and we continue to work hard to keep rates competitive. LCEC will decrease the power cost adjustment (PCA) beginning January 1, 2014. Natural gas prices recently reached a historical low, allowing power suppliers with diverse fuel mixes to take advantage of reduced fuel costs. LCEC shares these savings with customers. The LCEC Board of Trustees approved a decrease in the PCA from $17.96 per 1,000kWh to $16.65 per 1,000 kWh.

“Although the cost of materials, labor and purchased power has risen over the past few years, a calculated business strategy has helped LCEC manage operating costs. Process improvements, proactive maintenance, constant budget oversight, the use of technology and the diligence of employees have all contributed to holding the line on LCEC electric rates.”

Citizens Property Insurance Says Clearinghouse Works

Citizens_logoHere is some interesting news on wind insurance. Wednesday, Florida REALTORS® sourced this article to “The Palm Beach Post” (West Palm Beach, FL).

“A new computer clearinghouse launched Monday to steer insurance customers out of state-run Citizens and into private insurers seems to be functioning properly, officials said, and agents reminded consumers it contains only four private carriers so shop around. Citizens officials said they processed 500 requests for information by noon Monday, though the early going includes tests that are not necessarily transactions affecting real customers.

“The launch comes in a rocky few months for government websites, with the federal and the state’s unemployment website having more than a few well-publicized problems. The clearinghouse debut was delayed from Jan 2 to Monday so participating insurers could get better prepared technologically, officials said. The number of carriers initially taking part has gone from four to an expected seven back to four.

““The clearinghouse is functioning successfully, and we are pleased with the preliminary results,” said Steve Bitar, Citizens vice president of consumer and agent services. “We are continuing to monitor clearinghouse activity and expect to have more detailed information available at the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday. The initial response has been very positive.”

“The system is designed to shrink Citizens by making would-be customers ineligible for the state-run company’s coverage if a private insurer is offering coverage priced up to 15% more. During the second quarter of the year, renewing Citizens customers will not be able to stay with the company if a private insurer is offering coverage priced the same or less.

“Brightway Insurance agent Bill Goldman of Jupiter noted the clearinghouse does not necessarily represent all the options a consumer may have, so homeowners may want to shop around on their own. “If you’re put through Citizens’ clearinghouse, you’ll get quotes from just a small subset of companies in the state,” Goldman said.

“Those participating initially include Ark Royal, Florida Peninsula, Safe Harbor and United Property & Casualty, Citizens said. Up to 16 more carriers are expected to join the clearinghouse in March through July, including Heritage Property and Casualty of St. Petersburg.

“Under traditional transfer offers, customers can choose to stay with Citizens, but they will not have that choice if the clearinghouse rules them ineligible. That’s one reason it’s important the clearinghouse works accurately. At least 14,000 transfer letters from a private insurer, First Community, contained erroneously high Citizens renewal premiums this month, The Palm Beach Post reported. Citizens has more than 1 million customers including more than 100,000 in Palm Beach County, meaning it remains the biggest insurer locally and statewide.”

Discover ‘Ding’ App Combines Learning, Technology & Fun

Ding Darling Society logoAs a REALTOR® often glued to their Smart phone, I enjoyed reading this recent post by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society:

“A new smart phone app under development for the Refuge promises to raise the interpretive bar on national wildlife refuges by delivering the first-ever GPS and game-based learning experience to visitors. The Discover “Ding” App combines game play, GPS and social media to create a fun experience that encourages users to observe and analyze what they see, and better understand the Refuge’s wildlife conservation mission. “The Discover ‘Ding’ App will offer the public a fun new way to experience the refuge, further enhancing our effort to integrate new technology and social media into our interpretive programming,” said Paul Tritaik, manager of  “Ding” Darling NWR.
“A collaboration among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Ding” Darling refuge, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and app developer, Discover Nature Apps (DNA), the Discover “Ding” App is designed to adapt to the public’s expanding reliance on smart devices by creating a positive interactive experience that encourages smart phone users to immerse themselves into their natural surroundings.
“The Discover “Ding” App helps to fulfill a key recommendation of the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Conserving the Future strategic vision, which recommends developing “integrated mechanisms for using web-based and other emerging technologies to store and share data, communicate within the System, and inspire and educate visitors and the public.” “We’re excited to be on the leading edge of what we believe will become a vital tool with which to engage refuge visitors,” said John McCabe, president of DDWS. As the refuge’s volunteer friends group, the society has been instrumental over the years in helping to underwrite innovative visitor outreach strategies and has played a leading role in promoting development of the Discover “Ding” App.
““Smart phones have become central to the lives of a vast majority of Americans – it’s how they learn, play games, and interact with others,” said Discover Nature Apps’ co-founder Sam Serebin. “It’s only natural that we leverage that remarkable functionality to offer an unparalleled interpretive experience at our national wildlife refuges and other public lands,” said Evan Hirsche, DNA’s other co-Founder.
“The Discover “Ding” App will be launched in the late spring of 2014, and will be the first of such for many to follow for national wildlife refuges and national parks throughout the country.”

Update on Flood Insurance Legislation

FLRealtors_newlogoLate yesterday, Florida REALTORS® leadership team got a quick email update from John Sebree, Senior VP of Public Policy, on the progress of flood insurance legislation.  His email said “The US Senate has just passed the Menendez-Isakson bill that would delay rate increases for four years.  The final tally was 67 to 32.  The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives where is it unknown when a vote will take place. Both of our US Senators (in Florida) voted for passage of this bill.”
John’s email also referred to the latest briefing from NAR (National Association of REALTORS® at This article is definitely worth the read.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 24-31

5 new listings: Donax Village #9 1/1 $289.9K, Sundial #C301 1/1 $350K, Sundial #H103 2/2 $460K, Compass Point #133 2/2 $1.185M, Sandals #D 4/3 $2.25M.
6 price changes: Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 now $374K, Mariner Pointe #732 2/2 now $384.9K, Sundial #I304 1/1 now $389K, Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $435K, Shell Island Beach Club #7A 2/2 now $668.5K, West Shore #3 3/3 now $1.795M.
3 new sales: Sundial #C308 1/1 listed for $339K, Blind Pass #E102 2/2 listed for $395K, Sunset South #14A 2/2 listed for $729K.
1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 $430K. 
4 new listings: 1960 Roseate Ln 3/2 $449K (our listing), 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $449K, 1344 Tahiti Dr 2/1 $479.9K, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 $1.595M.
3 price changes: 512 Periwinkle Way 3/3 now $950K, 1001 Kings Crown Dr 3/2.5 now $975K, 4622 Rue Belle Mer 4/2 now $819K.
7 new sales: 972 Fitzhugh St 3/2 listed for $379K, 1809 Bowman’s Beach Rd 3/2 listed for $475K, 1297 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $769.5M, 1013 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 listed for $799K, 2507 Blind Pass Ct 3/3 listed for $1.049M, 988 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.095M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.499M.
8 closed sales: 5111 SanCap Rd 3/2 $249K, 724 Rabbit Rd 2/1 $430K, 4570 Bowen Bayou Rd 2/2 $550K, 2450 Wulfert Rd 3/3 $625K, 562 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $685K, 5742 Pine Tree Dr 4/2 $703K, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 $805K, 340 Cowry Ct 5/3.5 $1.039M.
1 new listing: 9066 Mockingbird Dr $410K.
3 price changes: 223 Robinwood Cir now $195K, 761 Donax St now $219K, 690 Birdie View Pt now $384K.
3 new sales: 3351 Saint Kilda Rd listed for $349.555K, 990 Beach Rd listed for $549K, 4318 West Gulf Dr listed for $749K.
No closed sales.
2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $295K, Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 $1.095M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
2 new listings: 15127 Captiva Dr 8/8 multi-family $1.695M, 16861 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $2.149M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 15017 Binder Dr 3/3.5 listed for $3.899M.
1 closed sale: 1133 Longifolia Ct 3/3 $3.478.5M.
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.

May your weekend be wonderful – wherever you are… Happy Friday, from SanibelSusan