Following a big exodus over the weekend when many holiday visitors headed back home, this week, the islands settled into a more routine “season” traffic pattern. That was except for an accident on the causeway late Monday afternoon that resulted in a huge backup. I was meeting friends for dinner at Traders at 6:30 so left the office at 5:30 thinking that would give plenty of time. By then, Sanibel’s traffic webcams and social media postings indicated that the damaged vehicles had been removed, so since Periwinkle in front of the office wasn’t moving, I headed toward Tarpon Bay Rd. Clear sailing on Tarpon Bay Rd to Middle Gulf Dr. I made it just past Casa Ybel Resort when I got stuck. From there, it took 50 minutes to get to Traders, a mere 1.1 miles (normally 2 minutes) away.
So, if you are on the islands in the winter, please remember that it doesn’t take much to disrupt travel plans. As Realtors®, we plan our showing routes from east to west – or west to east – depending on the time of day. It’s good to plan right-hand turns too. If you get stuck, check the web cams at http://www.mysanibel.com/Live-Street-Cams. But, when using your phone, be aware of the new Florida law. (More info about that in one of the news items below.)
After that news is the island activity this week posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Next Thursday is our local Association of Realtors® membership breakfast at The Sanctuary, followed by annual awards and the installation of 2020 officers.
2020 Change in Jumbo Loan Baseline
At our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday, local lender Dan Krispinsky of Lake Michigan Credit Union announced a change in the baseline loan limit for a jumbo loan.
In 2020, the baseline loan limit for most counties across the U.S. will be $510,400, an increase from the 2019 cap of $484,350. More expensive markets, such as New York City and San Francisco, have conforming loan limits as high as $765,600. Anything above these maximum amounts would be considered a “jumbo” mortgage.
2020 Brings Remote Notaries, Lower Taxes, Texting Bans
Posted this week on-line by FloridaRealtors®: “It’s now easier and more convenient to close deals between distant buyers and sellers thanks to new remote notary laws, and the business rent tax cut will save businesses an estimated $65 million in 2020. However, it’s now illegal statewide to text while driving.
“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A handful of laws went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, that will positively impact the real estate industry – and one law that affects Realtors who try to accomplish texting business while driving.
“Online remote notaries – State law caught up with technology on Jan. 1, 2020, with the approval of online remote notaries. Many states already allow the use of online remote notaries in real estate transactions, and the change will make it notably easier, faster and more convenient to close real estate transactions when the buyer and seller can’t be in the same room. The new law stems from HB 409, which the Florida Legislature passed last year.
“Business rent tax – Florida Realtors has advocated for cuts to the state’s business rent tax for many years, and another cut became effective on Jan. 1 – 0.2% this time. Businesses throughout Florida will save more than $65 million each year. The new state tax rate on commercial leases is now 5.5%, down from 5.7% in 2018 and 6% in 2017. Other parts of the business-rent-tax bill passed in 2019, HB 7123, have already taken effect, including the August 2019 sales tax holiday on hurricane preparedness supplies. Florida economists projected shoppers saved about $41.7 million during the sales-tax holiday.
“Texting while driving – It’s been illegal to text while driving in Florida since July 1 – but on Jan. 1, 2020, officers will stop writing warnings and start writing tickets. A first offense is $30; a second is $60 ($158.18 with court costs) if it happens within five years. While texting was a secondary offense in the past, officers can now stop a driver who is otherwise obeying traffic laws if they’re seen texting. In addition, motorists can’t use phones for texting or any reason, including hand-held talking, when driving in school and work zones. While hands-free talking is allowed in cars equipped with the skill, officers can stop drivers if they see a phone in a motorists’ hand.”
Recycle Drop-Off for Electronics
As posted in today’s “Island Sun”: “The Green Team of Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ’s is holding an electronic recycling drop-off on Saturday, January 18 at 1 p.m. This is part of the Green Team’s ongoing efforts to address environmental concerns not only on Sanibel but beyond. This is open to the public and there is no cost.
“The drop-off will take place in the parking lot of the church, located at 2050 Periwinkle Way, across from Periwinkle Place. Computer Medics of Southwest Florida will be at the church to collect these items.
“Bring items in small cardboard boxes, placing in separate boxes things that work and things that don’t. Mike Peterson of Computer Medics of Southwest Florida will destroy all personal and business data on any drives. Afterwards, he will donate any working computers to Komputers for Kids, and all non-working items will be appropriately recycled.
“Items that can be recycled included: electric wire, mouse and keyboards, laptops, notebooks, computer towers, battery backups, hard drives, flat panel monitors, lithium batteries, automotive batteries, cell phones, medical test and monitoring equipment, gaming devices, florescent light ballasts, circuit breakers and panels, and starters and alternators.
“The only electronics that cannot be accepted are glass-screen CRT televisions and monitors, LED and LCD televisions, printers and copiers. For a complete list of what can and cannot be recycled, visit the church’s website at http://www.sanibelucc.org or call the office at 472-0497 for a list to be emailed to you.
“In the U.S. alone, we throw away over 400 million electronic items, and that number is growing two or three times faster than other municipal waste. Harmful chemicals released from incinerators and leached from landfills can contaminate air and groundwater. Typically, most electronic waste goes either into landfills, or is sent to developing countries where due to little or no regulation, workers are at health risks as well as face safety issues posed by their improper recycling and disposal methods.
“Computer Medics of Southwest Florida’s recycler, Brian Slager of eScrap Recycling, does not send anything to other countries, to prisons, or to landfills. He reuses everything he takes, and his recycling service complies with all local, state and federal regulations.”
BIG ARTS Happenings
I drove by the new building at BIG ARTS yesterday and it is getting close to be finished. The Community Chorus had their first rehearsal of the year Tuesday night (those are at Strauss Theater until construction is complete at the BIG ARTS campus). It is not too early to mark your calendars for our spring Community Chorus Concerts which will be in the new performance hall on two nights, April 1 and 2, at 7 p.m.
Singers also are looking forward to the BIG ARTS Open House on Saturday afternoon, January 25, from noon to 4 p.m. when the public is invited to tour the new facility. The Open House is free and will feature live music by both Island Jazz and the BIG ARTS Community Bands, and the Community Chorus. Guests will be able to tour the garden area, art gallery, and experience the new state-of-the-art performance hall.
Island Jazz will perform in the garden. The gallery will be featuring the first fine arts exhibit of the year, “Time for Joy” by renowned artist Mally Khorasantchi. From 1 to 2 p.m. in the performance hall, the Community Chorus will perform, while the finale is the BIG ARTS Concert Band at 3 p.m.
Throughout the afternoon, guests will be able to move freely around the facility and enjoy BBQ chicken and pork sliders, potato salad and coleslaw as they take in the sights and sounds of the day. To learn more about the new home of BIG ARTS and the “2020 Dream Season” visit www.BIGARTS.org or call 239-395-0900.
The night before is BIG ARTS gala grand-opening fundraiser to complete the final phase of the building fund. Tickets are limited for this Friday night event which includes a gourmet dinner and music by The Temptations. Reservations for the fundraiser are needed and by phone only at 239-395-0900.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 3-10, 2020
7 new listings: Captains Walk #C3 1/1 $279K; Blind Pass #B205 2/2.5 $469K; Sundial #C301 1/1 $469.9K; Sundial #F108 1/1 $475K; Lighthouse Point #120 3/2 $625K; Villa Sanibel #2H 2/2 $727,007; Tantara #203 3/2 $1.289M.
12 price changes: Sanibel Arms #C7 1/1 now $376K; Sandpebble #1A 2/2 now $439K; Seawind #A107 2/2.5 now $570,007; Sunset South #A11 2/2 now $599K; Loggerhead Cay #222 2/2 now $637K; Kings Crown #112 2/2 now $679K; Signal Inn #14 2/2 now $719K; Oceans Reach 4C1 2/2 now $869K; Oceans Reach #4D1 2/2 now $875K; Sanibel Surfside #132 2/2 now $899K, Gulfside Place #222 2/2 now $1.297M (our listing), La Playa #1B 3/2 now $1.299M.
3 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1051 2/2 listed at $499K, Mariner Pointe #721 2/2 listed at $534K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 listed at $734K.
1 closed sale: Loggerhead Cay #134 2/2 $960K.
9 new listings: 1851 Farm Trl 3/2 $$559K; 9307 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $720K; 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $725K; 5834 Pine Tree Dr 799,555; 1220 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $849K; 1606 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $899.9K; 250 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 $1.049M; 355 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $1.149M; 1349 Bay Dr 4/4 $8.125M.
13 price changes: 1856 Ardsley Way 3/2 now $515K, 1890 Farm Trl 3/2 now $560.4K, 730 Cardium St 2/2 now $574K, 1954 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $585.9K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 now $609K, 1925 Roseate Ln 2/2 now $639K, 701 Nerita St 3/2 now $734K, 1567 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 now $799K, 911 Almas Ct 3/2.5 now $1.25M, 4954 Joewood Dr 3/2 now $1.35M, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 now $1.389M, 1898 Woodring Rd 2/2 now $2.65M, 4709 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 now $2.999M.
5 new sales: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 listed at $509K, 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $688K, 592 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 listed at $989.5K, 526 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed at $995K, 1717 Venus Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.199M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: 1246 Seagrape Ln now $2.789M.
No new or closed sales.
1 new listing: Lands End #1634 3/3 $2.395M.
2 price changes: Tennis Villas #3120 1/1 now $318K, Lands End Village #1667 2/2 now $1.194M.
1 new sale: Tennis Villas #3137 2/2 listed at $474K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 16727 Captiva Dr 5/4 $1,999,999.
1 price change: 16525 Captiva Dr 3/4 now $1.459M.
3 new sales: 11501 Laika Ln 3/3 listed at $1.275M, 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 listed at $3.7M, 15819 Captiva Dr 5/5 listed at $9.1M.
1 closed sale: 14980 Binder Dr 4/4 $2.368M.
1 new listing: 925 South Seas Plantation Rd $5.899M.
No price changes, new, or closed sales.
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, hope to see you at the beach!
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan