And just like that, SanibelSusan now reports that the timeframe typically referred to as “high season” on the islands is over! This week, sunny breezy days have made for great spring vacations for many visitors while some snowbirds already are packing up to head north for the summer.
Water Around the Islands
Whenever I receive the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) weekly water quality update, it makes me also want to check out some of my favorite island spots for water watching. This morning SCCF posted the aerial photo below and reported that satellite imagery this week detected no red tide blooms on the SW Florida coast. Their report also said that on Monday, Lee County Environmental Lab reported some blue-green algae filaments up in the Caloosahatchee River and upstream of the Franklin Locks.
Before the summer rainy season begins usually is when gulf and bay waters here are clearest, sometimes in that sparkly blue-green color more often seen in the Caribbean. I did an island drive-around today, taking a few water photos. Here are some favorites.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins
Posted on-line Wednesday by SCCF: “April 15 marked the first day of the 2022 sea turtle nesting season! Volunteers have been eager to get back on the beaches again after a successful season last year. This season, SCCF has 85 active volunteers who are committed to patrolling the beaches every day from April through October. Volunteers and staff survey the beaches along Sanibel, Captiva, and Causeway Island B at first light have not found any turtle activity.
“The first several patrols have not seen any telltale sea turtle crawls in sand, but that is not unusual this early in the season. The record for the earliest nest laid was by a loggerhead (Caretta caretta) on April 15, 2020. Even without any activity to report, the volunteers were all smiles as they donned their white sea turtle shirts once again.
“Now that nesting season has officially started, please remember that everyone can make a difference by taking little steps to help make our beaches turtle-friendly! Please take your beach equipment and furniture off the beach by 9 p.m., fill in holes your party may have dug, avoid using white lights visible from the beach (including interior lights) and flashlights on the beach, and properly dispose of all trash. For more tips, go to http://www.SanCapLifesavers.org
SanibelSusan Realty Scoop
Here in the office, it was nice to have visits from several clients back in town after long pandemic-related delays. We hope they will be back more often now that some travel restrictions lifted.
As the team and I continue to commiserate about so few properties being available for sale, it has been an interesting twist to work with clients’ children. I guess that’s what happens when you get to be my age. Listings more often come from former buyers now looking to move to retirement communities or closer to families, while their children now are looking to purchase and with parameters different from those their parents had.
More than once recently I have met with that next generation asking for advice – sometimes because they are thinking of selling or buying back in their home state and some wanting to purchase an investment property here. Some want to know why they even need a Realtor® in a hot market. Others simply want to know how to find a good Realtor®. Below are SanibelSusan tips when shopping for real estate help.
After that is the action since last Friday reported in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Today, there are 39 residential properties for sale on Sanibel (16 condos, 14 homes, and nine lots). On Captiva, there are 14 (five condos, eight homes, one lot).
Susan’s Tips On Hiring a Realtor®
It really doesn’t matter if you are looking to buy or sell, you always want the best representative working for you. And guess what? That person is not just someone with a real estate license, but one who also is a Realtor®. The best Realtor® may not be the one with the flashy social media, billboard, TV and radio advertising. Here are a couple of tips that I recently shared.
Why hire a Realtor® – All real estate licensees are not the same, only those who are members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) are Realtors®. They subscribe to a strict code of ethics and have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in their real estate specialties. Realtors® are committed to fairly treating all parties to a transaction. A full-time Realtor® that also lives in the geographic area they service likely has the best grasp of what is happening in that local marketplace. They will know the prices, terms, and condition of competing properties and recent sales. You want an expert in the local business to guide you through the buying and selling process.
Get recommendations – It doesn’t matter whether you are purchasing or listing, ask for recommendations from family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors IN THE TOWN or AREA where you are buying/selling. Ask if they recently worked with a Realtor® they like. This is not asking for the name of a Realtor® they know – or their family member or friend who also may have a real estate license. You want a recommendation from someone who RECENTLY worked with an agent in that area and had a great experience. Someone who has not bought or sold in decades is not the person to ask. The Realtors® in your area with the best recommendations are the ones you should contact. Try to get three recommendations. If you can’t get recommendations, sleuth them out yourself.
Get experience – Though the Realtor® designation is national, real estate licenses vary state to state (& country to country). Usually, a sales associate has less education than a broker who can open a real estate office in that state. Sometimes though, a new associate has more time to devote to you than a busy top producer. Find out who has generated the most sales in the community where you are buying or selling.
Get credentials – Go to Realtor.com and click on the tab to “Find a Realtor®”. In addition to specifying your geographic area or town, click “Add Credentials”. The first credential you want to check is C2EX. A C2EX Realtor® has received the commitment to excellence endorsement from NAR. There are over 1.5 million Realtors® in the U.S., only the top 100,000+ have earned this endorsement. C2EX is not a class or designation, but recognition by NAR as committed to practicing real estate at the highest professional standard in the industry. Next consider what type of property you are buying or selling. If it is in a resort or 2nd home market, like Sanibel & Captiva Islands, you may want to work with someone who holds the RSPS (Resort & Second-Home Specialist) designation. If you are listing a property in an area that appeals to foreign buyers, consider someone with the TRC (Transnational Referral Certified) designation. These Realtors® belong to a consortium of real estate organizations in many countries, providing additional exposure to their listings. The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® also has their own certification that is specific to these islands. Though not on the list of credentials on Realtor.com, you might consider an agent that specializes in your area. Here, those are an SCIS (Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist).
Response time – Once you have some names and cell phone numbers, call these Realtors®. If they answer immediately, it is a good sign. I have mixed feelings about leaving a cell phone message as when I am working with a buyer or a seller, I give them my undivided attention and don’t answer my cell phone unless it is an emergency. If you get their voice mail and it’s full, you probably don’t want to work with them. This may be someone too busy to handle the business they already have. If I don’t reach a Realtor® first-try on their cell, I send them a text or an email. Expect them to reply within a few hours. If not, move on.
Meeting – If you are going to list your property, set up an appointment with each Realtor® to come and see the property and tell you why you should work with them. If they are on time or early, that’s likely how they will react to a buyer wanting to view your property. If they also present themselves well and are organized, that is likely how they also will present your property. If you have already prepared a list of the salient features that your property has (or if you are buying, a list of your requirements), your Realtor® will have a better understanding of the job. Having info ready about recent improvements or deficiencies, operating costs, occupancy and showing obligations will help your Realtor®. Find out what the Realtor® knows about the details of any recent sales in the area. A smart Realtor® will have done their homework before meeting with you.
Samples – If you are buying, you want to know what the local sales contract has in it. What is required to make a winning bid in the market in that area. If you are selling, you also want to know about the offers expected, how multiple offers are handled, what your obligations are as the property owners. On either side of the transaction, ask about required disclosures, inspections, closing costs, etc. Hard copy samples of marketing materials, contractual documents, and closing statements, help buyers and sellers determine who will work best with them. Find out what your candidate is willing to do in advance. In today’s hot island market, it is important to have professional photography including aerials and streaming videos done in advance, so that the minute the listing hits the Multiple Listing Services, it is shown “best”. First impressions get properties sold. At SanibelSusan Realty, we already have had five listings sell this year sight-unseen, because of advance professional photography. In addition to the Multiple Listing Services, find out where else on the internet, your property will be posted.
Pay the going rate – As a seller, I’m sure you have heard that real estate commissions are negotiable. Ask what the agency charges, what that pays, and what you likely will net when your property sells. In Florida for example, closing costs vary from county to county. In Lee County, for example, the seller pays for the title insurance and to record to the deed (a total of about 1% of the sale price). In Collier County, it’s the opposite, the buyer pays.
Don’t haggle – Much of the real estate commission a seller pays is used to incentivize other agents to bring buyers, and photography, advertising including online marketing, broker contribution, and taxes. Professional agents that make a living selling real estate typically do not discount their services. During my 30 years selling real estate on Sanibel & Captiva, I have watched average commissions slowly go down from 10% to 6%. Do we occasionally offer a 5% commission for a sale within 30 days or for a high-end property? Yes. But my advice, is don’t haggle. Once you have found the right person to work for you, you will find that they are worth every penny. You certainly don’t want someone negotiating on your behalf that is willing to give away their own income. SanibelSusan Realty has never given up a commission when negotiating a sale. That’s the tough line you want used in negotiating for you too.
Get most exposure – Don’t get caught up in the promise of someone telling you that they already have a buyer for your property, or someone in their office does. That may be true, but if you are looking for top dollar in today’s market, you want the broadest professional exposure fast. Real estate statistics show that sale prices of properties listed with Realtors® far exceed those sold off-market or before hitting the open market.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 15-22, 2022
2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #B8 2/2 $895K, Sanibel Surfside #116 2/2 $1.699M.
No price changes.
3 new sales: Coquina Beach #5A 2/2 listed at $779K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 listed at $875K, Sanibel Arms West #H7 2/2 listed at $889K.
5 closed sales: Tennisplace #D33 1/1 $433K, Loggerhead Cay #201 2/2 $900K, Pelicans Roost #202 2/2 $1.31M, Sundial #Q302 3/2 $1.428M, Kings Crown #117 2/2 $1.8M.
5 new listings: 600 Boulder Dr 3/2 listed at $935K, 1382 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $1.15M, 1202 Sand Castle Rd 4/2.5 $1.25M, 3910 Coquina Dr 3/2 $1.299M, 1318 Seaspray Ln 5/3.5 $4.65M.
2 price changes: 9405 Beverly Ln 3/2 now $1.395M, 1558 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3.5 now $4.35M.
6 new sales: 469 Lake Murex 3/2 listed at $895K, 1667 Sabal Sands Rd 3/3 listed at $1.05M, 1311 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $1.445M, 479 Las Tiendas Ln 4/3 listed at $1.68M, 746 Windlass Way 4/3 listed at $2.275M, 6176 Henderson Rd 4/3 listed at $2.995M.
2 closed sales: 707 Durion Ct 2/2 $988K, 606 Boulder Dr 3/2 $1.248M.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 451 Sawgrass Pl listed at $949K.
1 closed sale: 2348 Wulfert Rd $325K.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Marina Villas #709 2/2 listed at $1.145M.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $4.995M.
No price changes or new sales.
1 closed sale: 15759 Captiva Dr 1/1 $11M.
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,
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan
P.S. One of my favorite island signs below.