This week the Sanibel/Captiva weather improved, even saw a little sunshine, before it deteriorated again midweek. With a record 12″ of rain this month, compared to the average January when there are only 2”, those here on vacation probably are not happy campers.
There also was gridlock traffic on both Sunday morning and Monday evening when accidents on the causeway brought incoming and outgoing vehicles to a standstill. The Monday event had both main and secondary roadways at a crawl for hours.
There now is a lake in the parking lot behind the office, but clearing is expected today. The rain sure beats the white stuff stacking up in much of the country and the dry spell out west. Mother Nature and her friend El Nino get the attention of all of us!
Unfortunately with bad weather, island real estate action has slowed down. After a couple of news items below is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week – just a handful of sales.
Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings
The Florida Realtors® leadership team and state committees meet twice a year in Orlando, now and again in late August. I was appointed to two this year and should make it to Orlando in time to attend the Major Investors RPAC (Realtor Political Action Committee) Reception tonight, followed by the annual RPAC Jamboree where the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® should clean up with several awards. After dying my hair pink last May as part of the challenge to raise a few more dollars, I sure hope we come home with trophies.
Island property owners may not know it, but the Sanibel/Captiva Association of Realtors® has put plenty of RPAC dollars to good use here. They have helped in beach re-nourishment, the eventual passing of the City’s build-back ordinance, and more recently to pay for the study that convinced local and state politicians that poor water quality negatively affects property values. Water quality issues have been in the forefront for our association for the last 20-some years with the fight continuing at the state meeting today when representatives from Sanibel report about what is happening with the water around Southwest Florida at the Florida Realtors® Land Use, Property Rights, and Sustainable Development Subcommittee Meeting.
Saturday I take part in the Florida Realtors® Professional Standards Forum, followed by the Resort & Second Home Specialists Forum. Saturday night is the Inaugural Banquet, then I’ll be back on the road first thing Sunday morning heading back to Sanibel.
Shima Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
The new Japanese steakhouse & sushi bar at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is opening Feb 2. Called “Shima”. Make reservations at www.SundialResort.com/eat
AT&T Breaks Silence by Applying for Donax Tower Permits
Since I live on the east-end where AT&T service is non-existent without a booster cell in my house, I was excited to read the below article posted on line yesterday by the “Santiva Chronicle”:
“AT&T has applied for permits to install its equipment on Sanibel, a move that would improve cell reception and put an end to the impasse between the city and the communications giant.
“The application was made Wednesday, Jan. 27, just days after the mayor involved the island’s citizenry, but months after the island thought it would happen. The installation is expected in the second quarter of this year and Mayor Kevin Ruane said the city will do all it can to make it happen as soon as possible.
“The development and building permits applied for Wednesday by a third-party contractor will allow AT&T to install its equipment on the Donax Road cell tower already occupied by Verizon. The installation will significantly boost the wireless reception on a big part of Sanibel Island for AT&T customers.
“Ruane turned the city loose on AT&T last week. In appearances around the island, he gave citizens phone numbers and the e-mail address of AT&T’s Maria Johnson, the area representative, and urged all to contact her. The Chamber of Commerce transmitted the mayor’s message.
“All that came after months of inactivity that followed the sudden withdrawal last summer of permits to put up the equipment. The City Council discussed it in August and the resulting story in the Santiva Chronicle caught the eye of someone who introduced Ruane to Johnson.
“Then things went silent, according to Ruane. On Wednesday he found out why – Johnson left her position with AT&T in November. Ruane spoke Wednesday with Don Sadler, a new representative from AT&T, who told him the permits had been applied for and work would be completed no later than the second quarter. “We don’t have an exact time frame, but no later than the second quarter,” Ruane said.
“Ruane said he learned Wednesday that the tower isn’t owned by wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon, but by a third party and that the tower recently changed hands. The AT&T representative told him the sale required an engineering study and that has slowed progress. “I told him how frustrated the island is,” Ruane said. “He sensed my frustration.”
“That frustration has been building since the end of last year following his September meeting with Johnson.
“We had a face-to-face meeting,” Ruane said. “She told me this could take a long time, and I told her that, in all due respect, we have been waiting three years. She said she would try to get it moved up to the fourth quarter in 2015. “I took her at her word,” Ruane said. “Around the holidays I reached out to her, and her voice mail said the best way to reach her was to send a text. I sent text messages, and after three or four of not getting anywhere I started talking to groups and telling them what they can look forward to. I told them I have no update because nobody is communicating.”
“Ruane said Sadler told him correspondence to Johnson had been rolling into a central bank and Ruane surmised that the recent glut of contacts from Sanibel caught AT&T’s eye.
“In relating the news that the permits had been applied for, City Manager Judie Zimomra said that processing the permits will be a high priority.”
The Proper Home Seller Etiquette
Some good reminders here, from the Jan 26, 2016 “Daily Real Estate News” on line:
“What unwritten etiquette rules should home sellers follow to show their home to potential buyers? Realtor.com® recently highlighted a few of these must-follow etiquette tips…
- Don’t stay for showings. Home owners who lurk during an open house or showing can unnerve buyers. “Buyers don’t feel as comfortable when the owner is at the home watching their every move,” says Nicholas Kensington, a real estate professional with Scottsdale Real Estate. “Get out of their way so that they can start to picture themselves living there instead of being spied on.”
- Keep your car out of the way. “Make it easy for visitors to park and view the home,” Kensington notes. “No one likes parking issues. Having them is a sure way to get a viewing off to a bad start.”
- Take the pets with you when you go. Not everyone likes pets. What’s more, some home buyers will have allergies and your pet could make them sick. “Imagine, as a buyer, having the background music set to ‘barking dog’ while you are trying to take in the home’s nuances that you, as the seller, have worked so hard to hone,” says Brenda Hayward, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker.
- Keep out important documents. “Leaving necessary documents in an easy-to-find spot isn’t just good for selling, it’s also good selling etiquette,” says Kensington. “Put out the home inspection report, appraisal, home warranty, monthly bill information — gas, oil, electric — and proof of any major repairs are all good things to let people look through when they are considering buying your home.”
- Have some refreshments available. “Putting out a few small bottled waters in a small bowl of ice is always appreciated, along with some light, easy grab-and-go sort of refreshments like mints or cookies,” says Cara Ameer, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker.
- Don’t be stubborn. Sellers who are unwilling to negotiate will likely see their home linger on the market. “Focusing on your bottom line is always important, but greed can lead to disaster,” Josh Myler, a real estate professional with The Agency, told realtor.com®. “Remember a little of something is better than a lot of nothing. Generosity will lead you to your promised land.””
Source: “8 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Every Home Seller Should Know,” realtor.com® (Jan. 25, 2016)
Trends That Will Influence Homes in 2016
As Realtors® part of the job includes helping buyers and sellers learn what is new to meet their own needs as well as the desires of future buyers. The following article is a long one, so I shortened it up some – but right-on. Written by Barbara Ballinger, it came from the Tuesday on-line edition of RealtorMag®.
“Design changes, as does architecture. Trends don’t emerge as rapidly here as they do in say, food or fashion, but the economy, the environment, and demographics all spur shifts in the choices of materials, designs, layouts, and construction methods for single- and multifamily dwellings.
“These 12 trends reflect ways to cope with environmental challenges, incorporate new building materials and methods, and alter the looks and functionality of our homes. Hear top designers and architects explain why these emerging trends are important and how they’ll influence real estate choices in the near future.
“1. More Resilient, Sustainable Homes – Mounting climate change pressures mean buildings need to better withstand natural disasters. Similarly, because our natural resources are dwindling, it’s increasingly important that structures be designed and built sustainably. Industry professionals are finding materials and construction techniques to meet both challenges. The Fortified Home Certification standard—created by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety and Architectural Testing Inc.—represents engineering and building levels that provide sturdier structural envelopes that are more resilient against the worst weather conditions than those found in most current building codes. And the trends of making better use of natural resources and generating energy on site—for a double win of more energy and less money spent—will continue into 2016… Increased durability means more lives and buildings will be saved, costs to rebuild will be pared, and insurance premiums will be lowered. The trend is happening nationwide, not just in hurricane-prone locales like Florida….
“2. Classics, Made More Affordable – More home owners want quality, luxurious materials, but the finest choices aren’t always in the budget,… With construction and material costs increasing, the need has emerged for less expensive options that still look luxe and hold up well. For example, instead of solid stone facades, architects may opt for stone veneer on studs and drywall instead of plaster inside. Or, rather than go with terra-cotta, a timeless but expensive material, they can select a handsome thin terra-cotta veneer applied to manufactured panels….
“3. Drought Awareness – Droughts continue to affect large areas of the U.S., making water more expensive and decreasing its availability, especially in the Southwest and California. Water-saving fixtures such as low-flow toilets and showerheads have become standard—even mandated—in many areas…. Water conservation will become as important as energy conservation, and homes that collect as much water as they consume will be as popular with buyers as Net-Zero–energy homes now are… with more demand for water-saving measures such as water-smart irrigation sensors, composting toilets, gray-water recycling systems, and rainwater harvesting.
“4. Digitized Manufacturing – Sustainable materials such as glass, in conjunction with new manufacturing technologies, are expanding the choice of colors, textures, and sizes of materials available for home design. At the same time, 3-D manufacturing, what some call the third industrial revolution, has created a new panoply of readily available, prefabricated materials as an alternative to more expensive custom choices…. The glass-and-LED combination is just one new technique that can result in a product that incorporates a sustainable material into a sturdy, practical, energy-efficient, and glamorous new surface for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Such choices greatly personalize rooms much more than another granite, laminate, or Corian top might do, and help to distinguish listings in a crowded market.
“5. Reclaimed Wood Floors – Many home owners crave authenticity, no matter how durable, affordable, and convincing the imitations may be. A case in point: the increased demand for reclaimed wood boards, which wear well, show the patina of age, and reveal visual character….The type of wood flooring found in many homes will take on greater importance for many segments of the home-buying population, and it may be that soon not just any wood will do. The crème de la crème of wood flooring —reclaimed boards—may become the equivalent of once sought after granite and now quartz or marble….
“6. Softening Modern Severity – With so many home owners now favoring modern design, yet not wanting a harsh, laboratory look, designers search for alternatives….
“7. The Tiny House Movement on Wheels – Downsizing is big, reflected in part by the growth of the tiny house movement. But flexibility and mobility are also sought after, and many desire a hipper method of attaining this than RVs can offer…. The design profession keeps looking for options beyond traditional, stick-built houses, hence the uptick in prefabricated, manufactured housing. This brand-new example offers shelter to those who are keen on smaller houses, but don’t like the idea of always staying put,… It also offers other possibilities for the real estate industry. It allows some home owners to “test drive” small-scale living. And if the trend continues to expand, landowners may find empty lots in vacation areas to be the perfect spot to rent out to these home owners on wheels.
“8. Walk-In, Universal Design Pantries – Currently there are 78 million baby boomers and the aging population is increasing — in fact, it’s expected to rise by 50% between 2010 and 2020, according to Aging in Place, a state survey of livability policies and practices. A deep, wide walk-in pantry allows a walker or wheelchair to maneuver through easily….
“9. Better Integration of Indoors and Outdoors – Screened porches once were the prime quasi-outdoor space in a home that could protect occupants from bad weather yet offer a feeling of the outdoors. But many porches block daylight and views, and they can only be used part of the year in some climates. Now, well-designed, large-scale door panels that fold up like garage doors or open into a home’s walls via big pocket doors are becoming more readily available at affordable prices,… Some have highly functional, retractable insect screens, too… These new bigger openings permit better views of the outdoors, greater enjoyment, and easier access between indoors and outdoors….
“10. Softer, Layered Color Palettes – Color trendsetter Pantone typically debuts only one superstar color of the year. But in 2016, two are taking center stage: “rose quartz” and “serenity.” Both reflect the rise of softer colors, along with the continued use of whites and creams. Some designers think this color direction and its layered palettes lead to a more personalized, sophisticated design….Time will tell if a non-election year and fewer terrorism threats may inspire a return to bolder hues…. These new colors are already turning up inside homes in countertops and backsplashes….
“11. Copper Chic Surges (Even More) – The old standby of copper—think of those pots your parents, grandparents, or Julia Child used—started its re-emergence last year. And the reason that it’s becoming a more widespread alternative to stainless steel, wood, and other materials isn’t all surface. Yes, copper can add sheen, sparkle, and a 1940s Hollywood glamour. But an equally big impetus is that it reduces more than 99.9% of bacteria in between routine cleanings, important because antibiotic-resistant superbugs are on the rise…. This shiny gold-like hue will become more prevalent in homes as concern grows about buying healthy houses without mold, toxins, and bacteria. To help, U.S. manufacturers are producing more options in copper than just refrigerator, oven, and other appliance fronts, the developments that initially helped revive the trend. Throughout homes, buyers can add copper sinks, door handles, light switches, and trim. To enhance its appeal, manufacturers are also expanding the types of hues available. Already, there’s a copper-penny color, brushed nickel, yellow brassiness, and bronze on the market.
“12. Enhancing Entertainment Space with Niches and “Back Kitchens” – Living keeps getting more casual, and this is certainly the case in the kitchen. “Everything happens in the kitchen, and people don’t want to be closed away from interaction with their families,”…Consequently, they’re willing to put more into their kitchens — more space (500 square feet is not uncommon, he says), bigger budgets, better design, more windows and light, and the types of detailing, like moldings and beams, once reserved for more formal spaces…. As open plans that incorporate more important kitchen space become commonplace, finding ways to keep the workspace neat becomes key, too. This may mean more niches and elements that hide small appliances built into the main kitchen. Home owners with more room and a bigger budget might consider adding a “back kitchen,” where preparations take place and small appliances like toasters and coffee makers are stored. To maintain the interflowing social feel, the spaces remain open to one another. A growing number of home buyers may be willing to forgo a dining room….”
The Top States for Retirees in 2016
“Those in the 65-plus bracket may find their money will go further and their quality of life will be better in certain areas of the country. To help figure out which ones are best, WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 24 metrics to determine the most retirement-friendly states:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
Check out the full list, linked below, to see where your state landed.”
Source: “2016’s Best and Worst States to Retire,” WalletHub (January 2016)
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 22-29, 2016
6 new listings: Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 3/3.5 $599K, Surfside 12 #A2 3/2 $799K, Sundial East $M301 2/2 $799K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 $849K, Atrium #302 2/2 $1.645M, High Tide #B101 2/2.5 $1.795M.
7 price changes: Lighthouse Point #113 3/2 now $639K, Sanctuary Golf Villages #2-2 3/3 now $739K, St.Croix #4 2/2.5 now $935K, Island Beach Club #350D 2/2 now $1.1M, West Shore #3 3/3 now $1.699M, Tigua Quay #487 3/3.5 now $1.989M, Sedgemoor #102 3/3.5 now $2.495M.
1 new sale: Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 listed at $375K.
1 closed sale: Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 $795K.
1 new listing: 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $1.995M.
7 price changes: 847 Casa Ybel Rd 2/2 now $410K, 1490 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $515K, 689 East Rocks Dr 3/3 now $765K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $799.9K, 1740 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/3.5 now $1.19M, 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 now $1.259M, 911 Strangler Fig Ln 4/3 now $2.85M.
3 new sales: 1065 Fish Crow Rd 2/2 listed at $684.9K, 532 Sea Oats Dr 3/4 listed at $1.275M, 3421 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 listed at $6.975M.
2 closed sales: 1429 Sandpiper Cir 3/3 half-duplex $415K, 5436 Shearwater Dr 3/3 $950K.
No new listings.
4 price changes: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $199,555; 2626 Coconut Dr now $317K; 9066 Mockingbird Dr now $380K, 5821 Pine Tree Dr now $559K.
No new or closed sales.
Nothing to report.
1 new listing: 13550 Palmflower Ln 4/3.5 $4.85M.
5 price changes: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 now $1.495M, 11500 Chapin Ln 4/4.5 now $1.895M, 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.925M, 11514 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 now $2.345M, 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 now $3.75M.
1 new sale: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 listed at $1.395M.
2 closed sales: 16861 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 $1.7M, 11520 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 $2.15M.
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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)
Bring on the sunshine, Florida is ready for it!
Happy weekend all, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan