Counting Down to Christmas on Sunny Sanibel

Ok, so it is sunny and bright but chilly and windy by island standards. Temperatures were only in the 50’s this morning and warmed up to 60 degrees F as I drove back to the office about 1:30 p.m. I took a little side trip up Dixie Beach Blvd to see how the water looks on San Carlos Bay. There have been a few reports of red tide mostly off shore and south of the islands, but the Army Corps of Engineers has reduced its Lake O releases so I bet between that and the breezes, things change. Can you tell from my photo that it’s a tad cool?

The SanibelSusan Team is counting down to Christmas, which is one of the few days that our office is closed. You can bet, however, that there will still be a Friday blog next week. Probably like yours, our individual 2020 Christmases will be different than any other year. We send good wishes that yours are safe, healthy, and happy! Below are a few photos from evening island spins. The first one is the bike path across the street from our office, followed by The Sanibel Community Church, and The Captiva House.

After a couple of news items is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday. We are happy that three of the week’s closings were our listings!

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Yesterday was the December Membership Meeting of the local Association of Realtors®. Held via Zoom, there were just a few attendees. Speaker was Juana Watkins, Esq., Florida Realtors Vice President of Law & Policy, & General Counsel. One item she addressed also was the subject of a recent article (posted below) by Meredith Caruso who is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors®. You may have heard about letters like this.

Hot Topic at NAR Convention? Buyers’ ‘Love Letters’ – How can I get the seller to accept MY offer?”, buyers wonder in today’s heated, multiple-offer market. In some areas of the country, “love letters” – a note from buyer to seller praising the home – are common. But some of the letters may flirt with Fair Housing Act violations.

“ORLANDO, Fla. – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Conference and Expo was held virtually this year, with meetings and events running from Nov. 2 to 18 – and many of the sessions involved discussions about buyer “love letters.” For those who aren’t aware of what I am referring to, “love letters” are written statements that accompany a potential buyer’s offer. While these types of letters are not in and of themselves illegal, it’s important to note that if done without careful consideration, it could end up being a Fair Housing Act (FHA) violation.

“How is this a possibility? Let’s examine a couple of examples of “love letters” – one that could be problematic with one that likely isn’t.

“Example 1: A buyer drafts a love letter that includes how excited the buyer is to raise a family in the home. They can’t wait to see future children excitedly running down the stairs on Christmas morning. Sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it? However, this buyer’s letter touches on two protected classes under the FHA: familial status and religion. Should a seller take these factors into account in arriving at a determination to accept the buyer’s offer, it could be a fair housing violation.

“Example 2: A buyer drafts a love letter that discusses the buyer’s love of the homes’ architectural features and the buyer’s appreciation of the various details of the home’s construction. Here, as the buyer solely focused on the property’s characteristics, none of which fall under a protected class, it’s likely not a fair housing violation.

“As agents, it’s important to remind consumers about fair housing issues if you see a potential problem on the horizon. While no agent is expected to explain the legal nuances of the Fair Housing Act, it may be wise to suggest a buyer or seller consult their personal attorney if either of the respective parties veer into potential FHA violation territory.”

Sanibel – COVID-19

Special City Council Meeting Dec 15 – Because of the nationwide increase in coronavirus cases, a special meeting was called to discuss the island’s COVID-19 safety measures and restrictions. Agenda items included:

  • Center-4-Life & Senior Center – which will remain closed with reconsideration in May.
  • More signage about masks on Sanibel.
  • Possibility extending the hours and footprint of the Sanibel Farmer Market if their visitor traffic increases as “season” gets underway.
  • Confirmed that the Mayor may enact changes quickly if needed to guard the health and welfare of citizens.

Florida Department of Health – reports that Sanibel’s total number of COVID-19 cases from March 26 through December 17 is 121. THAT INCLUDES 5 CASES REPORTED IN JUST ONE DAY THIS WEEK!  Last week, there were 17. Never had there been a week with a number in the double-digits. The number of Sanibel cases in December through 17th is 32, for November = 27. That means nearly half of the cases during the nine months of tracking, have been in the last few weeks. This is just the cases for residents in our zip code. It does not include the many workers and visitors that come and go. PLEASE stay vigilant – continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and avoid group gatherings.

The Island Store Celebration

The Island Store at Captiva’s 4-way stop, on 11500 Andy Rosse Ln, recently celebrated its reopening with a ribbon-cutting. Purchased in 2018 by the Bailey family, owners of Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel, the store was completely renovated and restored. Built around 1915, the building became a grocery store in 1940 under the ownership of Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Remodeled to today’s safety and quality standards, the store retains historical charm while offering residents and visitors easy on-island shopping for groceries and spirits. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stabilization Project Expanded for Causeway

As reported in today’s “Island Sun”: “A project planned to stabilize the shoreline along the Sanibel Causeway has been expanded to improve drainage, parking and amenities on both causeway islands. The Lee Board of County Commissioners recently voted to expand the project, accept a $4.25 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and allocated $2.4 million in tourism tax reserves for the project….” The project will “provide necessary erosion control structures and storm runoff by providing stabilization of the shoreline…will add beach sand, compacted shell and paved ADA parking spaces to Islands A and B and a picnic pavilion. Additional event parking areas and efforts to improve access to fishing on both sides of the islands are included.

“Construction is expected to begin with erosion control measures on Island B (closest to Sanibel) this summer, and all work will be completed by 2024. The total estimated cost to design, permit and construct the improvements and stabilize the shoreline is $8.5 million.”

Holiday Closings

At J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, The Visitor & Education Center and Refuge offices will be closed December 24, 25, and 31, and January 1. The Center’s restrooms will remain open during regular hours as will Wildlife Drive and its trails and Bailey Tract. Tarpon Bay Explorers also will remain open for normal operating hours except for Christmas, December 25, when it closes for the day.

Year-to-Date (through Dec 18) Sanibel Residential Real Estate Stats

Condos Homes Lots
# Avg $* # Avg $* # Avg $*
For sale 88 825,292 72 1,874,126 54 879,735
Under contract 36 689,325 52 1,280,244 10 367,301
Sold/closed 2020 172 745,024 273 953,709 23 606,233
Sold/closed 2019 127 694,392 211 949,790 15 372,200
Sold/closed 2018 155 720,617 218 1,112,747 21 602,095

* Avg $ is average asking price for properties “For sale” & “Under contract”. Otherwise, average sale price.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 11 – 18, 2020



4 new listings: Sandy Bend #6 2/2 $1,027,007; Pointe Santo #C25 3/2 $1.125M; Sundial #T204 3/2 $1.2M; Sundial #P402 2/2 $1.25M.

6 price changes: Casa Blanca #8 2/1 now $349K, Mariner Pointe #731 2/2 now $525K, Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 now $575K, Loggerhead Cay #542 2/2 now $685K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $725.5K, Pelicans Roost #106 2/2 now $929K.

1 new sale: Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 listed at $430K.

10 closed sales: Sundial #D309 1/1 $430K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 $529K, Compass Point #232 2/2 $550K (our listing), Sandalfoot #2D2 2/2 $620K (our listing), Loggerhead Cay #532 2/2 $650K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-4 3/3 $725K, Sundial #O405 2/2 $1.15M, Villas of Sanibel #B202 3/3 $1.85M, Sanibel Sunset #201 3/2 $2.195M, Plantation Village #B222 3/3 $2.275M


5 new listings: 430 Old Trail Rd 3/2.5 $629K, 2010 Wild Lime Dr 4/4 $759K, 3960 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $1.079M, 829 Pyrula Ave 3/3 $1.295M, 5391 Shearwater Dr 3/3.5 $1.795M.

7 price changes: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 now $449K; 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 now $699K; 4397 Gulf Pines Dr 3/3 now $725K; 3935 Coquina Dr 4/3 now $849,950; 966 Kings Crown Dr 3/2 now $980K; 1308 Eagle Run Dr 4/4 now $1.549M; 5439 Osprey Ct 4/3 now $1.669M.

4 new sales: 753 Nerita St 3/2 listed at $579K, 705 Oliva St 3/2 listed at $875K, 1039 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $999K, 6101 Starling Way 3/3.5 listed at $1,148,990.

7 closed sales: 1645 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $530K, 1142 Shell Basket Ln 3/2 $560K, 543 Boulder Dr 3/2 $784K, 250 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 $875K, 1860 Ibis Ln 5/3 $905K, 1120 Olga Ave 3/2 $940K (our listing), 1717 Jewel Box Dr 3/3.5 $2.15M.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1313 Par View Dr listed at $300K.

No closed sales.



No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3125 1/1 listed at $349K, Marina Villas #703 2/2 listed at $759K.

3 closed sales: Gulf Beach Villas #2005 2/2 $755K, Beach Villas #2525 2/2 $760K, Ventura Beach #2B 3/3 $970K.


No new listings.

2 price changes: 11431 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $1.1685M, 16189 Captiva Dr now $3.699M.

1 new sale: 956 South Seas Plantation Rd 6/6 listed at $4.995M.

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.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, happy almost-Christmas! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan