Another Beautiful Friday on Sunny Sanibel

Another Friday again is here with the SanibelSusan Team reporting a few more inquires and showings with our listings, plus two new listings this week. (See the views from those listings below.)

View from Mariner Pointe #541

View from Lighthouse Point #229

During the same time, as islanders/visitors continued to dodge summer showers, all eyes were on Hurricane Laura as it gained strength through the gulf. Our thoughts are with those affected by the storm.

Almost daily, Sanibel and Captiva have been getting a good soaking. Wednesday’s afternoon dousing was strong and heavy with minor flooding in some areas. Thankfully, most of that water now has disappeared.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

2020 Florida Realtors® Virtual Convention

This week was the first Florida Realtors® “virtual” convention. Since the mid-90’s, each August, I have attended these annual conventions in person in Orlando. It certainly was a different experience being virtual. Though it was a disappointment not to network with colleagues, it certainly was easy to hear/see the educational sessions and inspiring keynote speakers from the convenience of office or home. Those I viewed had excellent attendance, perhaps a plus from it being remote and FREE.

Kudos to Realtor® friends, Mike Bruno from Sarasota and Mari Colgan from Tampa who were the event chair/co-chair. Below are a few tidbits from a couple of the sessions I attended via ZOOM.

From the Legal Update presented by Florida Realtors® Law and Policy team, we learned that Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation shows that there are 205,926 active sales associates; 21,641 active broker/sales associates; and 41,844 active brokers. Huge numbers!

When I first got involved with the state leadership team and became part of the Professional Development Committee’s Audition Panel for instructors, we used to say that when folks moved to Florida, they got a real estate license right after they got their Florida driver’s license. That still may be the case.

Florida Residential & Economic Trends (by Dr. Brad O’Connor, Florida Realtors® Chief Economist)

Brad and his research department track data from every area and with input from every Realtor® association in the state. He said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was looking to be a record-breaking year for residential real estate in the Sunshine State. Even with that derailing of the U.S. economy, Florida home values remained stable and sales overall are surging this summer.

In comparing pending sales of existing homes by month to last year, in January and February, Florida sales were more than 12% ahead of last year. Then COVID hit. In March pending home sales were down 22% and in April down 35%. Pending sales of existing condos were off even more, during those winter months which typically bring the most sales in Florida. In March, Florida pending condo sales were off 35%, when compared to 2019. In April, condo sales were down 56%.

May was a month of transition. Pending home sales were up 2.3%, but condo sales still were off, lagging 16% behind last year. Over the summer, pending sales of both homes and condos have improved state-wide. Year-to-date, Florida home sales are up (though less than 1%), while condo sales are down more than 8%.

Interestingly, when looking at actual closed sales by county, Lee and Collier have had more sales than many areas. So far, demand in Florida has recovered faster than supply. Home inventory is down, but not so with condos.

Another interesting tidbit is that the loss in employment is much less in Florida, than nationally.

What is the outlook for Florida’s housing and economy? Brad said several factors will affect this:

  • Inventory shortage looms large
  • Fiscal and monetary policy responses/stimulus
  • Mortgage forbearance & loan delinquency packages
  • Renter eviction moratoria
  • International buyer activity
  • Pandemic progression & school re-openings.

Calling the iBuyer Bluff (by Steven David)

Maybe you are not familiar with the term iBuyer, but I bet you have heard of Zillow, seen their website, and looked up their Zestimate® for a property, maybe your own home. Did you know that the actual market value of a property and a “Zestimate®” are WAY different? (P.S. FYI, an iBuyer is a company that uses technology to make an instant offer on your home.)

As a long-time fan of Steven David, in this class he provided data and calculations that explain the bottom-line difference Realtors® make in listing/selling property.

What is a Zestimate? Steven said that by Zillow’s own account, a Zestimate is the “estimated market value” of a property. By estimated, they mean a home value assigned using proprietary computer algorithms developed by statisticians. A Zestimate does not involve human touch, vision, or interaction.

I deviated from Steven’s presentation and looked up exactly what Zillow says on their website – by their own definition: “Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help.” What does this definition mean? It means Zillow is a marketing company, looking to profit from real estate transactions.

Steven David, through his presentation, commented on how professional Zillow was in their email interactions with him, but the difference between what they said a property is worth and what they were willing to pay for it was astounding.

He used as an example a property in an area that he knows in Margate, FL that had a Zestimate® value of $260,071. Again, Zillow carefully explains on their site that a Zestimate is an estimate of valuation using basic facts or computer-generated data.

What does this mean? It means that no one actually viewed or visited the property, no people were involved in the calculation, no “real” comparables were used, and who knows if that value is what “real” people will pay for it.

Zillow also offered to buy this same property (with $260,071 Zestimate®) for $226,550 and that offer is before they deducted their fees and selling costs.

Here is some info about those: From the $226,550, they deducted 6% selling costs. (Maybe what they think a sales commission could be.) Then they deduct a 1% Zillow service fee. Now the Seller net is down to $210,645, but there is more!

They then deduct closing costs (in this case $3,461). (Maybe they know who pays what for closing costs in that county or area, or maybe it is another Zestimate. The closings costs at that sales price wouldn’t have been that much here.)

Next, they deduct repairs and upkeep based on what they consider the market average for a property in that price range. In this case, they said the repairs needed would be between $9,800 and $17,200. (Where do these numbers come from? Have you ever sold a property that needed that much in repairs?)  For his example, Steven used an average of Zillow’s repair range or $13,500.

Are you wondering how they can deduct monies to fix up a property that they have not seen? Maybe that property is in tip-top condition and does not need a thing.

Pure and simple, using this actual example with the documentation to prove it. Zillow would buy the property they Zestimate at $260,071 for $226,550, with a net to Seller of $193,684 (after deducting their costs of sale). That is more than 25% less than their own Zestimate®.

So, the question becomes, why pay someone to get you less than fair market value? It has been proven time and time again though real sates data, that Realtors® bring added value to a transaction. Above and beyond the money, Realtors® bring hope and confidence to a transaction.

The virus is driving demand to real estate with folks vacating big cities and Florida being one of the best states for growth. Real estate “always” comes back and long-term “always” works. Do not be swayed by an estimate or Zestimate® and do not be taken advantage of by someone who does not know your community and has not seen your property.

Steven said that the total value of all real estate in the United States is $38 trillion. With Zillow, those owners could lose trillions. Be smart, know that a Zestimate may include as much or more than 25% in guesstimated fees.

City of Sanibel COVID-19 Update

On Tuesday, Mayor Ruane extended Sanibel’s declared State of Emergency in response to COVID-19, until September 1, 2020, unless further extended. (Per State Statute the maximum time for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days, so it must be updated weekly while there are emergency conditions.)

The proclamation #20-060 and posting on the City’s website says: “Per the State Department of Health the number of COVID-19 positive cases reported in the 33957 zip code since the inception of the pandemic remains at 41. This is the accumulative number of COVID-19 positive cases since March 26, 2020 not the number of currently active cases.

No new cases on Sanibel have been reported by the Florida Department of Health for the past eleven days. This is not a reason to lessen our community’s diligence in reducing the spread of the virus. To assist the citizens of Sanibel, City staff track Sanibel specific trends of the COVID-19 cases, released to the public by the State Department of Health. As of today (March 25, 2020), the total number of COVID-19 cases reported on Sanibel represent 0.2% of the total COVID-19 cases reported in Lee County (in which Sanibel is located) since the inception of the pandemic. Per the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 Population Estimate, Sanibel represents 0.9% of the total population of Lee County.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 21-28, 2020



5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #541 2/2 $515K (our listing), Lighthouse Point #229 2/2 $712K (our listing), Island Beach Club #220F 2/2 $745K, Pelicans Roost #102 2/2 $959K, Pelicans Roost #106 2/2 $979K.

3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 now $569K, Sanibel Inn #3514 2/2 now $705K, Sanibel Surfside #125 2/2 now $950K.

3 new sales: Spanish Cay #F4 2/2 listed at $399,999; Sand Pointe #223 2/2 listed at $749K; Plantation Village #322 3/3 listed at $2.55M.

1 closed sale: Colonnades #13 1/1 $283K.


2 new listings: 915 Main St 2/1 $439K, 3935 Coquina Dr 4/3 $949,949.

5 price changes: 4044 Coquina Dr 2/2 now $499K, 9455 Beverly Ln 2/2 now $524K, 979 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 now $900K, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $925K, 676 Gopher Walk Way 4/5 now $1.575M.

7 new sales: 9247 Dimmick Dr 3/2 listed at $580K, 1068 White Ibis Dr 3/3 listed at $719K, 215 Robinwood Cir 4/3 listed at $829K, 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed at $849K, 1170 Buttonwood Ln 4/2 listed at $899K, 919 Pecten Ct 3/3/2 listed at $999K, 537 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $1.095M.

8 closed sales: 1567 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $540K, 9426 Beverly Ln 3/2 $560K, 1827 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 $589K, 1813 Farm Trl 3/2 $610K, 1476 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $670K, 1515 Angel Dr 3/2 $810K, 660 Durion Ct 3/2 $850K, 401 Lagoon Dr 4/4 $858K.


No new listings.

1 price change: 5627 Baltusrol Ct now $289K.

1 new sale: 4334 West Gulf Dr listed at $989K.

No closed sales.



No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #30 4/4.5 listed at $3.65M.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3234 2/2 $472K.


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 11547 Laika Ln 4/4 $1.725M.


No new listings, 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.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”. I had fun preparing that one!

Until next Friday, enjoy your weekend, the last few weeks of summer, & please contact The SanibelSusan Team if we can help you with real estate on the islands!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan