Counting Our Blessings at SanibelSusan Realty

Banyan BeachIt sure was fun yesterday to be recognized again at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® September membership meeting for my “big” closing on Monday.

At nearly $8.5M, “Banyan Beach” it is the record year-to-date sale on Sanibel and Captiva. The team and I are very thankful for it, as well as our other closings Monday and today.

After posting the new sales of two condo listings last Friday, it was a wonderful surprise to also find the paperwork for another terrific condo listing in my email on Friday night. It’s the top-floor west-corner unit at Island Beach Club, so the views of the gulf and the beach are spectacular. Even though much of the complex, including this unit, is not fully accessible this month because the association is doing their annual exterior repair work, this condo already has had a showing of the rooms that can be seen and a couple of Realtor® viewings.

Luckily the photos that we borrowed from their rental organization, Select Vacation Properties, show it in total. Big thank-you to their employee, Patience, for sharing! If you want to see this one-of-a-kind income-producing condo, here are her photos.

Below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands MLS since last Friday.

Where Buyers Face Steepest Competition

CashSometimes island buyers and sellers are surprised when we tell them how high the percentage of cash buyers is on the island. Here is an article posted yesterday in “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to “24/7 Wall Street. Looks like the islands are not the only place in Florida where cash sales prevail.

“All-cash transactions remain high, but they are showing signs of dropping, which could be good news for traditional home buyers with financing who find they are unable to compete against cash buyers.

Nearly 38% of home and condo purchases in the second quarter were from all-cash transactions, according to RealtyTrac’s data. That marks a drop from the first quarter, when all-cash transactions reached a three-year high of 42%.

“However, the share of all-cash purchases varies widely in markets across the country. For example, in the Miami metro area, more than 64% of home sales were cash in the second quarter, but in Madison, Wis., that figure was only 18.5%.

“Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, explained to 24/7 Wall St. that some of the highest number of cash sales are occurring in recovering markets that have the highest activity of institutional investors. Also, all-cash sales tend to be highest in areas with still-elevated levels of foreclosures and short sales. Blomquist further notes that all-cash sales are higher for both low-end and luxury properties. Cash sales make up two-thirds of home purchases for up to $100,000 and 45% of purchases for more than $2 million.

“24/7 Wall St., using RealtyTrac data, reviewed the cities that had the largest percentages of all-cash sales in the second quarter of this year. The following metros showed the highest concentration of all-cash transactions:

  • “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL – Percent of cash sales: 64.1%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL – Percent of cash sales: 62.1%
  • Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL – Percent of cash sales: 61.5%
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL – Percent of cash sales: 54.6%
  • Lakeland, FL – Percent of cash sales: 53%
  • Orlando-Kissimmee, FL – Percent of cash sales: 52.2%
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX – Percent of cash sales: 52%”

There’s An App for That – Discover Ding Game App Premieres for “Ding” Days

Discover DingHere’s info from a recent press release from “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge:

“If you noticed a giant cell phone walking around the island recently, don’t have your bifocals checked. It’s just the latest costumed character at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. “Happy Appy” is helping to promote the unveiling of the Discover Ding app on Sunday, Family Fun Day, Oct 19, 2014 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Ding” Darling Days.

“A collaboration among the 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 interaction experience that encourages smart-phone users of both Apple and Android products to immerse themselves into their natural surroundings.

“DNA is developing similar apps for other refuges and national parks, but “Ding” Darling will be the first to go live.

“”The first-of-its-kind Discover Ding app will offer the public a few new way to experience the refuge, further enhancing our effort to integrate new technology and social media into our interpretive programming,” said Paul Tritaik, refuge manager.

“The refuge will host a public unveiling and “download-in” to kick off the three Family Fun Days and weeklong eco-festival at 10 a.m. on Oct 19 in the Visitor & Education Center Auditorium. The first 250 people to show staff their download get a special free T-shirt. Happy Appy will be on hand throughout the day to give free tutorials on downloading and using the app which combines nature, gaming, social media, and GPS technology for an entirely new experience. Throughout the week, the costumed character also will be in the Education Center parking lot each morning at 9:25 a.m. to offer help and instruction….”

To support DDWS and the refuge, go to

There’s An App for Real Estate Too

GoMLSLogoThe Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® announced this week that they are taking the next step forward in Multiple Listing Service mobility with a new App too. Within the next few weeks, the new GoMLS mobile app will be available for island Realtors® and their clients. With this app, there will be access to real-time MLS data with listing search capability by city, zip code, address, MLS number, geo-location, or by drawing a search area on a map; multiple map views including street, satellite and hybrid; driving directions; ability to schedule a viewing or contact the listing agent; share listings via text, email, Facebook® and Twitter®; and more!

Flood Insurance Overview

SanCapAssnLogoThe speakers at our monthly Realtor® membership meeting yesterday were a panel of affiliate-member professionals in the insurance business.

They were there to update us on recent Flood Insurance changes. Panelists were:

  • David Arter with Private Client Insurance Services
  • Chris Heidrick with Heidrick & Co.
  • Angie Larson with Rosier Insurance

To understand flood insurance lingo, here are a few definitions.

The most hazardous flood zones are V (usually first-row beachfront properties) and A (usually, but not always properties near water.) According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the National Flood Insurance Program, any building in A or Z zones are considered to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

V zones generally include the first row of beachfront properties. The hazards in these areas are increased because of wave velocity – hence the V designation. If your home is in a “V” zone, adhere to the following recommendations:

  • The bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the lowest floor elevation must be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Enclosed areas below the lowest floor cannot be used for living space. The building must be elevated on piles, piers, posts or column foundation.
  • Electrical, heating ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment and other service facilities must be elevated to or above the BFE.

The next most volatile of the Special Flood Hazard Areas is the A zone. These areas are subject to rising waters and are usually near a body of water with a high potential of flooding. If your home is in an A zone, follow these important recommendations:

  • The lowest floor elevation must be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Enclosed areas below the lowest floor cannot be used for living space.
  • Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment and other service facilities must be elevated to or above the BFE.

On Sanibel and Captiva, the flood zones that apply are either the VE Zone or the AE Zone, with the AE zone being a place with potential for a 1%-annual-chance flood event.

In the flood insurance business, it also is important to know if Pre-FIRM insurance rates apply. Pre-FIRM properties on Sanibel were those permitted prior to April 1979. On Captiva, Pre-FIRM properties were permitted before September 1984.

What else is important for these professionals to know is whether a property will be used as a primary residence or non-primary residence. The definition of a “primary residence” for policy rating purposes is: The property must be occupied by the insured and/or the insured’s spouse more than 50% of the 365 days following the policy renewal date.

If you have more specific questions about flood insurance, be sure to talk to an insurance professional.

Economist Calls for National Policy to Reinforce Home Ownership

realtor logoIn a recent column for “HousingWire”, Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at®, breaks down the good and the bad of the housing recovery. In the article titled “Economist: Here’s Why Mortgage Supply & Demand Isn’t Normal”, he notes:

“Certain areas are close to a complete recovery, such as employment, home prices, distressed existing home sales, multifamily new construction, and rents. On the other hand, Smoke says the recovery is far from normal levels in terms of single-family new-home construction, mortgage applications and originations, household formation, and home ownership.

“The most negative sales signal comes from the new-home market, where new-home sales came in at an estimated annualized rate of 412,000 in July, the second lowest rate in the last 10 months,” Smoke notes. New-home permits and starts have failed to reach a pace that economists consider healthy for the sector, which is generally above one million.

Smoke points to another troubling area: Mortgage applications, which fell to the lowest level in 14 years at the beginning of September. Mortgage applications remain low despite the fact that rates are hovering near yearly lows. “Mortgage applications are considered a leading indicator for future home sales, but I believe the decline is not so much a signal of another downturn in demand but rather an indication of a seriously hobbled housing credit market,” Smoke writes. He says many buyers are being sidelined due to a very “small credit box,” where only consumers with easily documented incomes, strong credit scores, and large down payments are able to qualify for financing on a home.

“Another housing hurdle Smoke notes is the abnormal levels of supply and demand. “Affordable homes aimed at the first-time buyer segment are not being built,” he says. “Hedge funds bought up most of the affordable distress inventory over the last three years and have turned them into rentals. Home values have recovered the least in affordable price points, resulting in higher numbers of existing owners with negative equity and therefore unable to sell.”

“Smoke says that the continuing declines in areas of home ownership will portend to bigger problems ahead for the overall economy. “Without a strong housing policy, the mortgage market is incapable of adequately addressing risk-appropriate access to credit that supports home ownership,” Smoke writes. “Fundamentally, we need new directions for national housing policy to address the broken credit market, find solutions for affordability housing across all income levels, reinforce home ownership as the cornerstone of financial security, and fulfill the housing needs of older households.”

Priced to Sell at $30M? & Even $68M? logos“Daily Real Estate News” last Friday posted the following. It was sourced to a “The Wall Street Journal” article from Sept 10, 2014, titled “Luxury Homes: Priced to Sell at $30 Million”. Just after I read that article, I heard on the news about the $68M mansion just listed for sale in neighboring Naples.

“Luxury homes are selling faster than last year, and the homes fetching some of the heftiest price tags are spending less time lingering on the market, according to new data from®. An uptick in the stock market and improving economy may be helping to boost the luxury market in recent months.

“The High-End Market is Booming: For homes listed less than $1 million, the median age of listings ranged from 80 days to a median of 180 days for homes just under $30 million, according to®. But for homes above $30 million, the median time to market dropped to 139 days.

Jonathan Smoke,®’s chief economist, says the faster times are often because these high-ticketed homes are marketed quietly before hitting the open market. This market segment is attracting a more engaged group of buyers lately, he says. For example, in Vail, CO., homes above $15 million used to sit on the market for more than two years, but now are selling in “months, not years, and sometimes in weeks,” Tye Stockton, a real estate professional with Ascent Sotheby’s International Realty, told The Wall Street Journal. In Greenwich, CT, Tamar Lurie with Coldwell Banker told The Wall Street Journal that she is expecting about 20 sales above $10 million this year – double the number sold last year. A $2 million listing in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles sat on the market last year before it was removed after never hooking a buyer. But this month, the owners put the home back on the market and sold above the asking price in just one day, says Billy Rose, co-founder of the Agency, a real estate brokerage in Beverly Hills, CA.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 12-19



5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 $449K, Nutmeg Village #107 2/2 $659.9K, Sandalfoot #5A3 2/2 $849K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 $925K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 $990K (our listing).

2 price changes: Sundial #I103 1/1 now $345K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $425K.

5 new sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 listed for $239K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 listed for $499K, Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 listed for $749K, Nutmeg Village #308 2/2 listed for $769K, Pointe Santo #D45 2/2 listed for $799K (our listing).

6 closed sales: Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 $283.25K, Sundial #G407 1/1 $325K, Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 $325K (our listing), Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $510K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 $590K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $597K.


No new listings.

4 price changes: 1825 Ardsley Way 3/2 now $538K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 now $749K, 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 now $759K, 501 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 now $889K.

1 new sale: 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 listed for $849.9K.

5 closed sales: 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $470K, 620 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $570K, 4500 Waters Edge Ln 2/2 $769K (our buyer), 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 $887K, 466 Sea Oats Dr 4/3.5 $937.5K.


No new listings.

3 price changes: 1246 Sand Castle Rd now $225K, 6411 Pine Ave now $345K, 1048 Fish Crow Rd now $415K.

No new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.


1 new listing: 0 on Captiva-Village Area 4/4 $1.799M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16682 Captiva Dr 10/12.5 $8.48M (our buyer).


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.

Here’s to another great week!

Weekend good wishes from the team at SanibelSusan Realty

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