It’s Susan reporting just another beautiful Friday on sunny Sanibel Island. After a busy winter/spring, many colleagues are taking vacations – some stay-cations. Their timing couldn’t be better. It is really quiet! Probably contributing to that is all the recent press about the Lake “O” water releases which have resulted in tannin-colored water in the bay which is now wrapping around the lighthouse into the gulf. Meanwhile, it’s still looking AOK on most of the gulf side.
I had lunch yesterday at West Wind Inn’s Normandie Seaside Cafe and ran into Kim from their Upper Pool Deck Bar. Wednesday, on Facebook, she posted her view from there (photo below). It’s a great spot for lunch or an evening pre-sunset libation. Music some nights too. Their food comes from the Normandie’s kitchen too. Both open to the public and secret gems favored by the Inn’s guests, locals, and maybe you too.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®
Following Sanibel Mayor Ruane’s call-to-action last Friday, demanding that these water releases stop – the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® created an easy way for concerned citizens and island lovers to respond. Using the below link and by just adding your contact info, emails on your behalf (with copy to you) will go to the powers-that-be at the Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with copy to the Governor. Everyone who is concerned, please do it. If you have ever enjoyed the islands or spent a penny here, this should be important to you. It takes only seconds to complete. Thank you! http://sanibelcaptivarealtors.org/cta/
At our Thursday morning Realtor® Caravan Meeting, Association President Dustyn Corace presented a check for $14,000 to Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s (SCCF) Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel. The final tally is in with these monies raised last month at our end-of-season golf outing and auction. The funds are going to SCCF ear-marked for their use in improving local water quality.
What The Conservation Foundation Says
A message from SCCF received midweek has a good summary of what is happening with these water releases:
“It is premature to dump massive quantities of water to the estuaries at the very beginning of the rainy season when no water was being held by or discharged to agricultural areas to share the harm. Instead, agriculture on the east side of the lake and southwest of the lake have been allowed to backflow massive quantities of water into the lake instead of holding their own runoff. Quantities back flowed equal the amount that has been discharged to the estuaries that have also received too much rain. We ask water managers to identify these conditions and start requiring all landowners to manage storm water on their own land, not dump it into the lake, not usurp the entire capacity of publicly funded storm water treatment areas that harm public resources.
“Since the rain began on May 15 the Caloosahatchee estuary has been experiencing increasing levels of harmful flows. The first 2 weeks flows were watershed runoff from Hendry and Glades Counties, with no discharges from Lake Okeechobee. However, the lake discharges that started on June 1st nearly tripled the harmful high flows to the estuary… dumping dark fresh water and suddenly dropping salinities in the estuary all the way to the mouth of the river at Shell Point. The consequence of this sudden, drastic, and prolonged salinity drop has been a massive die off of estuarine clams and oysters at Iona just upstream of Shell Point and is fueling freshwater cyanobacteria, including Microcystis, that is visible beneath the water surface from Beautiful Island by I-75 to Iona Cove.
“This current event is the direct result of managing water selectively to allow agricultural landowners to dump their floodwater into Lake Okeechobee and into publicly funded storm water treatment areas, thus forcing discharges harmful to public resources.
“We need to express our strenuous objection to water managers and elected representatives because these harmful flows are the direct consequence of agricultural discharges that have resulted in harmful flows to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie, without consideration of the flood consequences on these coastal ecosystems.”
NKY Music Legends Welcomes Danny Morgan
As a long-time fan of Sanibel musician Danny Morgan, it was great to read recent news about his latest honor. Here’s some scoop from www.Cincinnati.com on May 24, 2018:
“Northern Kentucky Music Legends (NKY) is an organization that recognizes area musicians, vocalists and music industry people who have made a name for themselves locally and nationally. Jerry Gifford, a musician who is still playing after 50 years with his band Strange Brew, originated the idea of honoring talented Northern Kentucky musicians. So, in 2013 he met with Charlie Coleman, Campbell County commissioner; Jon Long, a longtime musician; and John Mendell, a concert producer. The group contacted The Cincinnati Enquirer to put out a call for Northern Kentucky musicians who would qualify. Criteria include birth in Northern Kentucky or longtime residency, played music for 20 or more years and made a mark in the community…. This year marks the sixth Hall of Fame induction ceremony….the Hall of Fame inductees for 2018 include…:
► Danny Morgan, who played in popular bands before taking off to Nashville and forming The Apple Butter Band with local legend Mickey Foellger (… the now-retired Campbell County juvenile court judge), Joellen Morgan and ex-Bengal Mike Reid. They toured with the Beach Boys and other major acts. These days Morgan plays five nights a week in Sanibel Island, Florida. “Danny Morgan has a keen sense of artistry and not only finding, but nurturing great talent,” said Stan Hertzman, retired music business professional.”
Those like me who enjoy the Sanibel music experience often refer to Danny Morgan as our local Jimmy Buffet. We follow his performances, play his CDs, and know the words to many of his songs like “Sanibel Sunset”, “Captiva Moon”, and one of my favs, “Running on the Beach”. In addition to performing at many local special events, weddings, and parties, you usually can catch Danny and often his band, plus guest musicians (including sightings of Livingston Taylor & Pittsburg Mike) at the following locations:
- Margarita Mondays at Sundial Beach Resort from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Tuesday & Thursday Nights at Traders Gulf Coast Grill beginning at 7 p.m.
- Saturday & Sunday afternoons 1 to 4 p.m. at Casa Ybel Resort’s Coconuts poolside bar & grill
More about Danny and his offerings at www.DannyMorgan.com
Fun June Happenings at The Community House
If you haven’t yet been to Sanibel’s new Community House, you are missing out. Here are a couple of their events scheduled this month. Call 239-472-2155 or checkout their website at www.SanibelCommunityHouse.net for more info.
- Adult Demonstration – Quick & Easy Meals using 5 Ingredients by Chef Jarret, June 15, at noon. Prepaid reservations needed.
- Adult Farm-to-Table Hands-On Cooking Class by Chef Jarred, June 22, Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Produce a delicious meal with ingredients sourced locally. Prepaid reservations needed.
- Holiday Hog Roast – “Smoke on the Islands” by Chef Jarret, June 30, Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. $15, ice cream sundae bar $5. Also, kids “All American Red, White, & Blue Dessert Content”. Entry forms at the Community House. Judging at 7 p.m. & awards given for best tasting, best presentation, and best theme. Bring a 2nd dessert for their auction to help raise money for the Culinary Education Center. Tickets available at The Community House or Bailey’s.
At SanibelSusan Realty
Summer is a good time to get caught up, reflect, plan, and project. Our weekly report of the activity of the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows my musings below.
Below is some food-for-thought for would-be sellers who are thinking of listing their island real estate. Some of these tips apply to selling anywhere.
How’s The Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Market? The housing bubble before the recession drove prices up on the islands. Back in that heyday of 2006, the average Sanibel condo sold for close to $900K and the average Sanibel home over $1.1M. On Captiva, the average condo was more than $1.3M and average home over $2.3M. Then, prices took a dive.
It has been nearly ten years since the recession and often I am asked if island real estate has recovered. That answer is complicated. Sellers on the islands are faced with more challenges than those in a traditional real estate environment.
Plus, it’s a small island with a big variety of property types and a wide span in price. Depending on the property, it sometimes takes months or years for a property to sell. Other properties, if the demand is right, could sell in hours.
How do you know where a property fits in? That answer is complicated too. First, there are fewer buyers for real estate in resort or 2nd home-type locations. According to the National Association of Realtors® (remember I teach the Resort & 2nd Home Market class to our local Realtors®), these sales account for fewer than one-fifth of all the home/condo sales each year.
These buyers, if they are financing, typically have to put down way more money than those buying a primary home. The lender criteria for buying a property like that is tougher too.
In this area of Florida, the selling season also is somewhat limited because the most prospective buyers are in town from December through April which also can be when properties are occupied or rented. With Sanibel homes having a monthly rental minimum, that can mean showings only on the 1st of the month, or with condos renting weekly, it can mean showings only on Saturdays between late morning and early afternoon when a property is being cleaned and often also when the buyers are coming/going.
With more baby boomers now retired and staying longer, many rentals – including those for sale – may be booked for extended periods, making showings in season even more unlikely. It also bears mentioning that many vacationing would-be-buyers only want to earmark a short time to look at real estate, preferably a day when the sun isn’t out or the weather is less than ideal. They want to buy, they just want to enjoy their vacation too (which is exactly why we encourage buyers to come back this time of the year when it’s easier to view property and they can concentrate on that task). These buyers also may not be in a hurry. They may be willing to wait until their next vacation or even next year, particularly if they don’t find a property that’s “just right” for them.
So, if there is no getting around some of these challenges, what can a seller do to get their island property sold sooner and at a higher price? Here some tips:
Be Ready for The Best First Impression – First impressions are huge, whether the first one is the driveway, the walkway, the entry, the front door, or the foyer. Be sure it is all sparkling clean and trimmed. Pressure washing the exterior and walkways are especially important here where heat and mildew can take a toll. A fresh coat of paint on a front door is an easy fix too. Also, nix and replace any nasty door hardware.
Invest in Upgrades – Think about when you purchased. Were you ready to do your own improvements or did you prefer a property that was move-in-ready? Most island buyers want the latter, so it pays to make a property so perfect that the new owner only needs to bring their suitcase. Nobody wants old and ugly.
If you can afford to do updating before a property goes on the market, do it. That updating could be as easy as going through every drawer and closet, organizing and tossing out old furnishings, or adding fresh paint or replacing old worn carpet. The trick is to make the property look bigger, cleaner, and brighter.
If you go as far as renovating kitchen and baths or even in minor redecorating and sprucing up, remember this is an island in Florida where most end-users are here in the winter. Pick a style that’s light bright and happy. That’s what most buyers want. They may say that they don’t need move-in-ready and island décor, but they really do. They sometimes figure that out as they proceed through the viewing process, after seeing the competition.
Think About Replacing Big Ticket Items That Could Become Problematic – I know I’ve mentioned it before, but as a reminder, to get insurance today on a property that is over 20 years old, most insurance providers require a 4-point inspection. Insurance companies increasingly have become reluctant to issue policies on older homes. Their concern is that there may be conditions in an older property that could become a liability to them. For example, a home with a roof near the end of its service life may fail while under the policy and the homeowner may file a claim for damage to the home or its contents. A 4-point inspection describes the condition and age of the following four elements:
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning)
- Electrical wiring & panels
- Plumbing, connections, & fittings
These may be expensive items and systems to repair or replace before selling, but rest-assured if a property has copper pipes on Sanibel, it will be flagged by a home inspector. (Sanibel’s water, over time can cause pinhole leaks in copper piping.) Federal Pacific electrical panels (which some insurance companies will not insure) are flagged here too. Even with “as is” contracts where seller repairs are not required and most buyers expect a number of minor defects, when a big ticket item comes up, the buyer often asks for a consideration in the form of either a price reduction or a contribution toward the needed repair or replacement.
Get A Home Inspection & Make Repairs Before Listing – Doing this might preclude the problems mentioned above. Most buyers will overestimate updating and repair costs. So, if they come to look at a property that needs new piping or a new electrical box, they will likely do one of two things. They will come up with their own inaccurate too-high off-the-cuff estimate which they then will deduct from their offer price. Or even worse, they will decide that it is too much money or more than they want to deal with. They then will move on to another property that doesn’t have problems.
Listen to Professionals – Realtors® are in the business of looking at real estate with a critical eye. They are not emotionally invested in a property like the owner. We try to be sensitive to an owner’s feelings and their decorating style, but they know the inventory and competition, and what is selling. Be prepared to tell your Realtor® the special things you like about your property but also be ready to listen to what they say may need to be done to bring you top dollar. As the island real estate market evolves through the calendar year, understand that your property may be one that appeals most to a winter buyer, so if it doesn’t sell in one “season”, it may take until the next.
Don’t discount summer buyers though. When winter inventory is low, serious buyers return in the summer. Summer also brings more families looking for year-‘round homes, vacationers looking for income-producing short-term rental condos, and Europeans looking for privacy and a good place to invest.
In every real estate market, price and appearance matter. In a seasonal area, like here, those factors can mean the difference between selling quickly or lingering for months. Regardless of the time of the year, it is usually two things that keep properties from selling. Either they are over-priced or they have not been updated and well maintained.
Gone are the days when buyers come into a real estate office with a list of their requirements and a Realtor® tells them what is available that meets their needs. Today’s buyers (close to 95%) do their island property searches online. If a property isn’t perfectly priced and doesn’t look great, it is not going to sell, because these consumers search in only their price range and buy through the pictures they see on the internet. Not only are professional photographs needed, but the property needs to be attractive. Almost every island Realtor® will tell you that they have sold property sight-unseen. I have sold many that way and this year even sold one that I had not seen (though I did look before it closed).
Does It Make Sense To Take A Loss – Owners who bought at the peak or during the multi-year run-up before it, most likely are dealing with properties that are not worth what they paid. Now as they go to sell, they need to pay for improvements or repairs to get top-dollar, plus they will pay a real estate commission and other closing costs. They are not happy about it. They are losing money, even if they break even on the sales price. During the real estate boom, people wanted to be part of the group that flocked to own a vacation or 2nd home. That is not necessarily the case now. Prices are going up and the market is improving, but not as fast as some want.
That can make it a tough decision for an owner who bought high. Those prospective sellers need to decide whether they want to keep the property for another few years and see if values continue to go up, or instead say they are ready to just get out and potentially take a loss.
Island properties often are bought with discretionary income, so unless a buyer is compelled to do it now, it can become a waiting game. Just as buying an island property can be a life-altering decision, so can selling one.
The SanibelSusan Team tries to make buying and selling real estate easy and stress-free, but as these paragraphs describe, it ain’t always easy.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 8-15, 2018
No new listings.
4 price changes: Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 now $399K, Seawind #109 2/2.4 now $512.5K, Nutmeg Village #103 2/2 now $795K, By-The-Sea #C102 2/2 now $1.149M.
5 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #314 2/2 listed at $569K, Loggerhead Cay #433 2/2 listed at $594.9K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 listed at $699K, Loggerhead Cay #163 2/2 listed at $779K, Sundial West #E310 2/2 listed at $890K.
5 closed sales: Sundial West #G407 1/1 $435K, Sanibel Moorings #1631 2/2 $570K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 $675K, Tarpon Beach #206 2/2 $780K, Gulfside Place #323 2/2 $1.25M.
10 new listings: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $525K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 $550K, 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $569K, 746 Nerita St 3/2 $749K, 3017 Turtle Gait Ln 3/2 $749K, 632 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $750K, 5267 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $834.5K, 438 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $859K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 $1.099M, 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 $1.16M.
11 price changes: 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $440K, 1940 Periwinkle Way 3/2 half-duplex now $459K, 5885 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $549K, 396 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 now $624K, 1478 Albatross Rd 3/2 now $674.9K, 660 Oliva St 3/3 now $849K, 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 now $924.9K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $1.099M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/3 now $1.5M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/2 now $1.595M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.448M.
4 new sales: 1126 Schooner Pl 4/2.5 duplex listed at $459K, 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 listed at $924.9K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 listed at $1.099M, 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 listed at $1.949M.
10 closed sales: 813 Rabbit Rd 2/2 half-duplex $365K, 1283 Par View Dr 2/2 $475K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex $520K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $588K, 2521 Key Lime Pl 3/2 $565K, 753 Cardium St 3/2 $620K, 1806 Ibis Ln 3/2 $650K, 5739 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $780K, 1995 My Tern Ct 4/2 $1.279M, 411 Bella Vista Way 4/4 half-duplex $1.95M.
2 new listings: 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct $335K, 5251 Punta Caloosa Ct $580K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 5340 Punta Caloosa Ct listed at $1.375M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
2 price changes: Bayside Villas #5102 ½ now $369K, Sunset Captiva #103 2/2/2 now $949K.
1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2214 2/2 listed at $620K.
1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3216 1/1 $305K.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 listed at $4.198M.
No closed sales.
Nothing to report.
This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 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.
Until next Friday, here’s hoping your summer weather is as spectacular as on the islands! Best wishes on Sunday to all the Dads, would-be Dads, & Moms covering as Dads!
If you want to buy yours a piece of paradise for Fathers Day, I can help.
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan