Still Time to Get Your Valentine a Piece of Island Paradise


Blind Pass 01-31-2019

It’s SanibelSusan reporting another nice often-sunny Sanibel Friday with temperatures in the mid-70’s. Visitors and vacationers continue to fill the roadways, bike paths, beaches and waterways, as snowbirds and locals readjust to their annual “plan ahead & share” mode – a certain necessity here every February and March.

West Wind new signWith continued good weather in the forecast, more folks are arriving all the time.

We had some 1st time island visitors come into SanibelSusan Realty this week inquiring about real estate. We like those. It’s always fun when they say they are staying at West Wind Inn, where Dick and I stayed during our first visit 30-some years ago.

I was at their Normandie Seaside Café today for lunch and noticed their new sign. It’s a great spot for a quick meal away from the hustle-bustle.

Island Real Estate Happenings

San Cap LogoThere was a big turnout yesterday at the local Sanibel & Captiva Islands Realtors® Thursday morning Caravan Meeting. The week’s activity in the Multiple Listing Service is posted after a few news items below.

Teammate Dave held several Open Houses again this week with another marked increase in the number of visitors. We are getting good showing action and inquiries with our listings too. I’ve been out showing and will be at it again this weekend. Photo below taken along the entrance to Chateau Sur Mer yesterday afternoon where lots of birds were along the bayous.

Chateau birds.jpg

The “high season” craziness here has begun. Woohoo! (That also means from now through Easter, it makes sense to make a reservation or call-ahead before you go out to dinner.)

Update of Sanibel’s Shared Use Path System

sanibelmapbikeFrom an article in this week’s “Sanibel-Captiva Islander”:

“Extending more than 26 miles and spanning from Lighthouse Beach Park on the east end to the Blind Pass Bridge on the west end, the Shared Use Path system is one of the City of Sanibel’s unique gems.

“And city staff, in partnership with the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking feedback from residents and visitors – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists – on the operation.

“The city and county recently kicked off a project to update the master plan for the Shared Use Path. The current version was adopted in 2009 and has guided the implementation of updates to the system over the past decade. A Project Advisory Committee has been established to assist with the process.

“On January 31, the eight-member group held its first public meeting with officials and staffers…” The group’s goal is to “identify gaps or needs in the system – current challenges – then determine how to go about addressing the recommendations, including exploring funding options.”

Look to wrap up by June, City Council must sign off on it. This Committee will organize Open Houses, hold pop-up events at farmers markets and festivals, and an on-line survey, plus will question path users. On February 11, the online survey will launch at www.sanibelbikeped.com. Visitors to the website have until April 30 to complete the survey and have their feedback considered. The site also features info on the plan update and project, background on the existing path system, and an interactive wiki map tool.

On February 16, the team will conduct its path intercept surveys, which will include stopping users at multiple locations along the system to ask them to participate in a questionnaire.

“Prior updates to the system have focused on areas like widening paths, making markings and crossings more consistent and uniform, and updating amenities along the path such as adding shelters, benches, and water fountains.” They also looked at “incident data, including bike versus bike, bike versus vehicle, and falls.”

“There are five common challenges when looking at paths and trails…space, speed, surfaces, signage, and social behavior.” Some additional and emerging challenges are “congestion and user conflict, bicycle parking, shared active transportation and micro-mobility and ACES (autonomous, connected, electric, & shared) vehicles. Check the website for more info and to provide your feedback.

Island Events

big arts logoNow that it’s February, the schedule of island events is staggering. BIG ARTS often has sold-out performances, while the classes, beach walks, conservation talks, current events discussions, recreation and fitness opportunities, lessons, games, arts, and crafts go on and on. Many island fund-raising and annual meetings happen this time of the year too, so be sure and check the events tab above for links to some of them.

Asian Buyers

mapfareastWhen I attend our state leadership team meetings in Orlando and talk to other colleagues around the state, they often ask if we are seeing an increase in Asian buyers on the islands. That answer has always been “no”, but recent real estate news from other areas indicates that those buyers are purchasing more and more in the U.S.

I have often explored more advertising in that overseas market, some recent news may mean the time is right. Here are a few tidbits from a recent article.

More and more Koreans are parking their money in real estate overseas as their domestic economy wallows in the doldrums. According to the Bank of Korea, individual Koreans and business spending on properties abroad last year, was up a whopping 47% or 3.8 times more than five years ago. In 2008, that government lifted restrictions on buying overseas real estate. The U.S. is their most popular destination for real estate investment, followed by Vietnam, Canada, Thailand, and Japan. Property in major cities in the U.S., Japan and most advanced countries is considered a stable source of rental revenues. For cash buyers, the estimated rate of return is four to five percent compared to interest on savings of around one percent.

In Japan, which will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, real estate prices are rising, while their economic policies have resulted in ultra-low interest rates, prompting many investors to turn to real estate.

My Transnational Referral Certification which gets our listings promoted on WorldProperties.com now has partnerships with the real estate organizations in Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, and United Kingdom. The Far East may be next.

‘Aging In Place’ Keeps 1.6M Homes Off Market

FreddieMacLogo_3I saw this article posted this morning on Florida Realtors®. Interesting study:

“Freddie Mac’s February Insight identifies a key factor contributing to today’s housing shortage: seniors choosing to age in place. It calls this shortage “an important barrier to young adults buying their first homes.” “We estimate that approximately 1.6 million more senior households are staying in place than would have been the case if they had behaved like previous generations of homeowners,” says Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “For scale, 1.6 million units is roughly the same as the number of new single-family and multifamily housing units built each year, and it represents more than half of the current shortfall of 2.5 million housing units that we estimated in our December Insight.”

“Khater says the increase in home-holding older adults will “increase the relative price of owning versus renting, making renting more attractive to younger generations.”

“Seniors born after 1931 are staying in their homes longer, resulting in higher homeownership rates for this group relative to previous cohorts.

“Estimate: 1.1 million existing homes have been held off the market through 2018 by those born between 1931 and 1941; 300,000 are held off the market by those born between 1942 and 1947; 250,000 are held off the market by those born between 1948 and 1958.

“To provide context for the 1.6 million existing homes being held off the market due to seniors aging in place, the Urban Institute recently estimated that 3.4 million millennials are missing out on homeownership.

“The trend of seniors aging in place is likely to grow as both the number of seniors increases and the barriers to aging in place are reduced. More older Americans prefer to age in place because they’re satisfied with their communities, their homes and their quality of life.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 1-8, 2019sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sundial #D204 1/1 $419.9K, Oceans Reach #3A1 2/2 $949K, Atrium #103 2/2 $1.495M, La Playa #1B 3/2 $1.55M.

8 price changes: Mariner Pointe #122 1/1 now $379.9K, Sundial #J101 1/1 now $449K, Sanibel Shores #A2 2/2 now $459K, Loggerhead Cay #233 2/2 now $699K, Yacht Haven #2 3/2 now $1.079M, Villas of Sanibel #A102 3/3 now $1.459M, Cyprina Beach #1 3/3 now $1.695M, White Pelican #133 3/3 now $1.785M.

5 new sales: Tennisplace #C32 2/1.5 listed at $305K, Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 listed at $319K, Pointe Santo #B3 2/2 listed at $729K, Sundial #A201 2/2 listed at $899K, Tarpon Beach #112 2/2 listed at $1.149M..

2 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #1641 2/2 $560K, Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 $639K.

HOMES

9 new listings: 5745 Pine Tree Dr 2/1 $538K, 681 Rabbit Rd 3/2.5 $645K, 280 Southwinds Dr 3/3.5 $769K, 3861 Coquina Dr 3/3 $819K, 1550 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $1.235M, 1717 Venus Dr 3/2.5 $1.35M, 2332 Troon Ct 4/5 $1.595M, 815 Limpet Dr 3/3 $1.795M, 2284 Troon Ct 4/4.5 $2.15M.

21 price changes: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 now $529K, 659 Donax St 2/2 now $575K, 9248 Dimmick Dr 3/3 now $619.9K, 724 Rabbit Rd 2/2 now $625K, 945 S. Yachtsman Dr 2/2 now $635K, 1476 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $695K, 9444 Cotten Ct 3/2.5 now $699K, 5303 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2.5 now $719K, 1212 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $724K, 198 Southwinds Dr 3/2 now $739.9K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $779K, 1677 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 now $779K, 702 Durion Ct 3/2 now $799.9K, 5747 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $819.5K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 4/3 now $825K, 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $845K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.185M, 4992 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 now $1.365M, 2282 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.3958M, 2251 Starfish Ln 4/3.5 now $1.479M, 1520 Angel Dr 5/5.5 now $1.695M.

2 new sales: 747 Martha’s Ln 3/2 listed at $559K, 4755 Ruelle 3/3 listed at $785K.

2 closed sales: 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/6/2 $1.95M, 4689 Rue Belle Mer 5/6.5 $6.45M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $149K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5128 1/2 $399K, Marina Villas #708 2/2 $749K.

2 price changes: Sunset Captiva #103 2/2/2 now $849K, Seabreeze #1253 3/3 now $1.7999M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Home s#13 4/4.5 $3.75M.

HOMES & LOTS

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, don’t forget there’s still time to get your Valentine a piece of paradise. I’m working all weekend if you need help with that!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusanvalentine

valentines-day-clipart-hapy-6

Sunny 79 Degrees F = Happy Sanibel on Feb 1st


w gulf dr sanibel beach with more peopleIt sure is great to be back on the islands, especially with the deep winter freeze reported in so many areas of the country. With temperatures here this week about 10 degrees lower than normal at this time of the year, a few islanders have grumbled about needing to kick their heat on and dig out their warmer sweaters and jackets. Mostly however, we have worried about friends and family up north and wish their frigid weather soon ends.

w gulf dr sanibel beach pathThe islands’ good weather news today is that day-time temperatures here finally are back into the high 70’s, with even some low-80’s predicted for the weekend. The SanibelSusan Teams hopes that being the warmest state in the nation will bring more visitors and buyers to the sunshine state, especially the islands.

As traffic here increases, business likewise seems to be growing. Our various Open Houses this week had more visitors, while our listings had a little more activity too. Teammate Dave and I also were both out working with buyers and showing property.

Sanibel realtors logoAt the islands’ Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, there were more new sales announced – also, many new listings and price reductions. The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week follows a few news items below.

First, a summary of today’s inventory (2/1/2019) compared to sales action this year, and 2018.

  Condos Homes Lots
Sanibel # Avg $ Price DOM # Avg $ Price DOM # Avg $ Price DOM
For sale 117 776,218 137 236 1,377,691 160 65 677,785 417
Under contract 10 804,150 78 23 1,300,213 148 1 189,900 23
Sold to-date in 2019 6 626,875 123 9 1,057,222 149 0 N/A N/A
Sold in 2018 155 720,617 172 218 1,112,748 162 21 602,095 240
 
Captiva # Avg $ Price DOM # Avg $ Price DOM # Avg $ Price DOM
For sale 41 1,153,068 223 43 3,065,012 244 3 4,296,333 418
Under contract 5 1,759,380 453 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A
Sold to-date in 2019 1 389,000 43 1 2,800,000 181 0 N/A N/A
Sold in 2018 27 797,532 153 25 2,127,352 290 0 N/A N/A

First Florida Water Policy Summit

Organized around the idea that “clean water is a basic human right”, the first Florida Water Policy Summit was held on January 21 featuring six speakers from local conservation groups speaking about actionable water policy that can improve Florida’s impaired waters. According to experts, Florida has a lot of impaired waters – currently 12 million acres under Best Management Action Plans which are 15-year restoration plans required by the federal government when a waterbody is not meeting quality standards.

clean water actThe Federal Clean Water Act requires each state to compile a list of such waterbodies. Then the Department of Environmental Protection conducts water shed assessments. Any waterbody that does not meet pollution standards is scheduled for a Total Maximum Daily Load, which is a limit for the amount of a particular pollutant that a waterbody can handle. The next step after establishing that “Load” is writing up the Action Plan to restore those waters. Current reports show that Florida has 416 waterbodies with “Loads”, with 80 others on a waitlist to receive one.

ConservancyofSWFLSpecialists with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida offered some insight into how Florida got the point where almost a third of the state is under water quality restoration plans. Those answers are complicated (quotes below from January 30, 2019 “Sanibel-Captiva Islander”:

“A combination of harmful agricultural run-off, insufficient urban stormwater treatment, and fertilizer use have mixed us a cocktail of toxic water.

“Under Florida water law, farmers can sign a notice of intent to implement best management practices – essentially promising to comply with water quality standards.

“This grants a “presumption of compliance,” regardless of whether they are actually meeting standards or not.

“…Doing away with that presumption of compliance, updating stormwater run-off standards to remove more nutrients, and strengthening local fertilizer ordinances can all help improve water quality.

“And then there is Lake Okeechobee.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule in 2008, and it was intended as an interim measure until repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dam were completed.

“Those repairs still are not done.

“The Corps expects them to be finished by 2022, but they have said they will not change the Schedule until the dam is completed.

“According to Florida’s director of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Schedule did not consider cyanobacteria and red tide, claiming it was unlikely that discharges from the lake caused harmful algal blooms, and did not analyze them any further.

“But discharges from the lake do cause problems.

“Rae Ann Wessel, natural resource policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, refers to the issue of balancing the lake’s flow levels as “The Goldilocks Condition.”

“Propelled by gravity, Lake Okeechobee’s discharges travel across 75 miles of freshwater river and estuary and three lock and dam systems to reach the Gulf of Mexico.

“Too much flow from the lake washes valuable fish and oyster nurseries out into the Gulf, decimating the ecosystem.

“Too little flow chokes these habitats with salt.

“”When we don’t get enough flow into the system through the western lock, the water that is fed by tidal action from the Gulf up the river brings much more salinity than some of these habitats can tolerate,” Wessel said.

“Habitats like tapegrass, which provide a home for crab, fish, and oysters that filter feed and clean water naturally, are destroyed.

“”Not only do we lose the tapegrass, we also lose 100% of the oyster reef that is downstream, and those are filtering water for free. 50 gallons a day for a single oyster is a huge contribution to our water quality,” she said.

“In 2001, the South Florida Water Management District set a minimum flow level of 300 cubic feet per second.

“Scientists realized this forgot to account for inflows to the estuary coming downstream from Telegraph Creek and Orange River, so they adjusted the number to 450, Wessel said.

“”That’s important because it shows up in the Schedule, and every habitat analysis for every state and federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan project as a habitat metric. So if you’re meeting 450 cubic feet per second for the Caloosahatchee, it says you’re golden… and we know that’s just not true,” she said.

“A more ideal number is closer to 800, all the way up to 1,000 cubic feet per second, according to Wessel.

“The South Florida Water Management District recently set the flow level to 400 cubic feet per second, and the City of Sanibel gathered three other neighboring municipalities, including Cape Coral, to challenge that rule in administrative court, asking for more flows.

“That case is still awaiting a ruling.

“We’re doing oyster restoration and tapegrass restoration, but it’s not accounted for in the district’s analysis. They say the tapegrass is doing fine, but that’s because we keep going in and planting it,” Wessel said.

“With all of this in mind,… it is important for citizens to ask the Corps to address the regulations schedule as soon as possible, and to finish repairs to the dam by June 2020.

“”It can be done by then, and we need to demand it….”

“Wessel reminded everyone that it is not just Lake Okeechobee to blame for all our problems, because the watershed the discharges flow through to reach the Gulf is almost two Lake Okeechobees in size.

“”There are many times when we are getting no discharges from the lake, and we’re having harmful flows just from the estuary and river watershed. So keep in mind that when we talk about where the problems start, and where the solutions lie, it’s important to recognize that it’s all of us, we all contribute to it,” she said.

Important Addition to South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

sfwmd LOGO.jpgLocal water quality advocates were encouraged two weeks ago when Florida’s new Governor, Ron DeSantis took office and almost immediately issued a water policy order and requested that all board members of the South Florida Water Management District board resign.

This week, Gov DeSantis appointed outgoing Sanibel City Councilman Chauncey Goss to serve on the district’s 9-member panel. Chauncey has not only a keen connection to the island (yes, his Dad was Sanibel’s first Mayor), he has an impressive resume, having served in senior roles in politics both in the U.S. House and the White House. He is on the Board of Directors at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Lee County Coastal Advisory Council, Lee County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, among others. Last week, he announced that he would not seek re-election to the City council post he has served on since March 2015.

Following Goss’ appointment, the SFWMD released the following statement:

“The South Florida Water Management District appreciates Gov. Ron DeSantis’ leadership in making the restoration of Florida’s Everglades and the protection of its water resources such a high priority. His recommendation to allocate $625 million for state water resources projects like the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir, as well as the actions laid out in his recent executive order, show that Gov DeSantis is leading the charge to restore, and protect Florida families, businesses, and the environment.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Jan 25 – Feb 1, 2019sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sandalfoot #1C1 2/2 $959K, Pointe Santo #E3 2/2 $889K, Sundial #P203 2/2 $929.9K, White Sands #25 2/2 $999K.

6 price changes: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 now $259K, Sundial #I103 1/1 now $479K, Oceans Reach #4B1 1/1 now $699K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $769K, Gulfside Place #305 2/2 now $1.49M, Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 now $1.595M.

2 new sales: Sand Pointe #228 2/2 listed at $749K, Kings Crown #311 3/2 listed at $999K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #G206 1/1 $457.5K, Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $940K.

HOMES

12 new listings: 747 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $559K, 4619 Rue Bayou 3/2 $699K, 2010 Wild Lime Dr 4/4 $749K, 405 Tiree Cir 3/2 $824.9K, 543 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $929K, 5659 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 $949K, 1010 Kings Crown Dr 3/3 $1.245M, 928 Beach Rd 4/3 $1.295M, 228 Violet Dr 4/2/2 $1.949M, 572 Kinzie Island Ct 5/5 $2.15M, 2391 Shop Rd 3/2.5 $2.174M, 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 $2.895M.

9 price changes: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 now $535K, 984 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 now $549.5K, 1973 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 now $689K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $799K, 1307 Par View Dr 3/3 now $999K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $1.0355M, 829 Birdie View Pt 4/3.5 now $1.19M, 6425 Pine Ave 4/3 now $1.595M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.699M.

7 new sales: 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 listed at $439.5K; 529 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $749,947; 1236 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed at $889K; Moonshadows #2E 2/2 listed at $895K (our buyer); 3351 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 listed at $1.25M; 2640 Coconut Dr 2/2 listed at $1.375M; 5407 Osprey Ct 4/3 listed at $1.595M.

Image 4.jpg

Moonshadows looking from Sanibel River to Gulf of Mexico

2 closed sales: 4290 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 $510K, 568 Sea Oats Dr 3/2.5 $730K.

LOTS

No new listings.

4 price changes: 1817 Long Point Ln now $309K, 5251 Indian Ct now $689K, 6505 Pine Ave now $779K, 6519 Pine Ave now $799K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Beach Villas #5114 1/2 $412K, Beach Villas #2227 1/1 $539K.

2 price changes: Beach Homes #17 4/3 now $3.25M, Beach Homes #25 3/2 now $1.895M.

No new sales.

No closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 14981 Binder Dr 3/3 $1.049M, 11501 Laika Ln 3/3 $1.595M.

2 price changes: 16596 Captiva Dr 5/5/2 now $6.979M, 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 now $7.98M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1102 Tallow Tree Ct 5/4 half-duplex $2.8M.

LOTS

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 SanibelSusanRoseatesAnhinga

Real Estate Scoop from Florida Realtors & Sanibel


i-wear-flip-flops-in-winterFlorida Realtors logoIt is a long-distance joint effort this week as SanibelSusan finishes up today at the Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings in Orlando while teammates Dave, Elise, and Lisa keep things running smoothly on the island.

It is always rewarding to be part of the state leadership team. Though we only meet twice a year, much is accomplished in just a few meeting-packed days, while the networking and friendships made create invaluable resources and future referrals for years.

header_midwinter_2This business has changed so much since I got my real estate license almost 30 years ago, that just keeping up with the times can be challenging. To think that there are now over 400,000 real estate licensees in Florida, just the numbers are staggering. Last year, Florida real estate sales totaled $126.5 Billion. Also last year, Florida Realtors offered 1,158 courses with 35,235 students attending. Those are all record numbers.

Those numbers make it sound like peanuts that on Wednesday our state Audition Panel evaluated more prospective instructors to teach state-approved classes than we have ever done in a single day – a total of 48 live auditions and 12 written. Yesterday, our Curriculum Subcommittee also voted to approve, renew, update, and translate many classes.

Through the year, I occasionally am called upon to evaluate a written application to teach a class, or to perform a telephone interview with a prospective teacher. It’s satisfying, through the years, to watch some of these rookies turn into cracker-jack instructors, successful brokers, and even authors. One of them will Chair the state Professional Development Committee next year. Today, that Committee approved all of the instructors and class changes that the subcommittees recommended.

Another interesting aside from these Florida Realtors meetings are our common problems. As part of the Legislative Think Tank, the Resort and 2nd Home breakout group meeting yesterday shared the same difficulties being experienced in many areas. Those ranged from short-term and vacation rentals affected by such third party purveyors as AirB&B and VRBO, to similar changes in city/town/community regulations, to occupancy changes from water quality issues and the like.

Florida Realtors PAC continues to provide strong representation and lobbying in Tallahassee to protect your property rights and property values. (Wednesday night, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors received two state awards for their 2018 member PAC participation. Our local district pals in Bonita Springs -Estero won an award too.)government_affairs_rpac_logo_home

In the technology and legal world, changes in rules on advertising, teams, and copyrights, plus phishing, spams, wire fraud, and new contract requirements, make attendance at these meetings so important in staying ahead of the curve and out of trouble. Thanks to my team for making it possible for me to be part of these meetings. I’ll be back on Sanibel tomorrow in time to show homes on Sunday.

The action posted in the islands’ Multiple Service this week follows a news item below. On the island, and echoed in Orlando, is that last quarter 2018 and 2019 business to-date is off, but expected to improve. Here, it usually happens when the islands are busiest February and March. That’s soon. The SanibelSusan Team is ready.

What Will Increase the Value of My Property?

Money tightRealtors® often are asked what improvements will increase the value of a property when it is time to sell.

In most cases, buyers want a property that is move-in-ready. Usually, a few interior updates will help. In considering those improvements, do not over-improve beyond your community’s reasonable resale value.

Probably the most desired are remodeled kitchens and baths. They also bring the biggest return on investment. If full renovations are not possible, instead freshen with light neutral paint, new appliances, updated light fixtures, and kitchen/bath hardware.

Having consistent quality flooring throughout also is a plus with today’s buyers. Classic timeless styles rather than trendy options usually produce the best results.

Keeping the roof, windows, HVAC system, pool including cage and equipment, and hot-water heater well maintained also are important.

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 18-25, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Sundial #C410 1/1 $475.9K, Sundial #I401 1/1 $489.9K, Loggerhead Cay #471 2/2 $569K, Sanibel Arms West #K5 2/2 $579K, Sundial #J204 2/2 $793K.

6 price changes: Tennisplace #C32 2/1.5 now $305K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-1 2/2.5 now $640K, Loggerhead Cay #233 2/2 now $729K, Sundial #A201 2/2 now $899K, Sanibel Surfside #231 3/3.5 now $1.395M, Cyprina Beach #1 3/3 now $1.745M.

2 new sales: Sundial #F206 1/1 listed at $429K, Nutmeg Village #103 2/2 listed at $795K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #J401 1/1 $561,750.

HOMES

9 new listings: 9228 Belding Dr 2/1.5 $529K, 9393 Peaceful Dr 3/2.5 $839K, 1559 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $850K, 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 $950K, 1030 Kings Crown Dr 2/2 $998K, 1039 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $999K, 1450 Royal Poinciana Dr 3/2.5 $1.248M, 2303 Troon Ct 3/3.5 $1.298M, 1653 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 $1.495M.

9 price changes: 693 Rabbit Rd 3/2 now $547K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 now $627K, 1442 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $689K, 9052 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $699K, 749 Cardium St 3/2 now $699K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $849.9K, 335 Cowry Ct 4/3.5 now $999K, 6047 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2.5 now $1.195M, 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $1.295M.

2 new sales: 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 4/3 listed at $850K, 925 Whelk Dr 3/3.5 listed at $2.375M.

4 closed sales: 824 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $850K, 1433 Sanderling Cir 3/3 $1.025M, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 $1.09M, 2622 Coconut Dr 5/3.5 $2.55M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 6217 Starling Way $1.4M.

1 price change: 3354 Barra Cir now $399K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4112 1/2 $384,999.

No price changes.

3 new sales: Beach Villas #2538 3/3 listed at $909.9K, Lands End Village #1655 2/2 listed at $1.055M, Sunset Captiva #302 4/3 listed at $ 2.248M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16333 Captiva Dr 4/2/2 $2M.

1 price change: 56 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 now $874.5K.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

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! Signing off from chilly Orlando where it’s been into the 40’s & 50’s all day (that’s degrees F). Good thing I brought my winter flip flops. It hasn’t been much warmer on Sanibel.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Another Sunny Sanibel Friday With Temps in Mid-70’s


210.JPGIt seems that SanibelSusan’s Friday island updates often begin with weather and traffic reports. Why should this week be any different? So, I’ve had my heat on at home at night for almost a week now and we often have kicked it on at the office first thing in the morning to take the chill off. Temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s are hardly a chill, particularly when looking at the national weather forecast and the snow expected to hit New England and the Midwest this weekend. We hope that those affected stay warm and safe.

scotch bonnet shell 01-15-19Usually those winter snowstorms affect Florida weather in some way, sometimes resulting in good shelling. Those doing the Sanibel Stoop continued to find special shells this week. Here’s a jumbo Scotch Bonnet collected on January 15th.

Here, the forecast for next week shows day-time temperatures in the mid-60’s to mid-70’s. With a low in the 40’s expected Sunday night (that could be our lowest of the year so far).

Island roadway traffic and business are still off compared to previous January’s. Today, traffic past the office is a little heavier with an Arts & Crafts Fair going on at The Community House. It’s going on there tomorrow too. Real estate business usually picks up in February, with the islands are at their busiest.

At the local Association of Realtors® meeting yesterday only a couple of sales were announced, but there were plenty of new listings and price reductions. A full caravan followed including our new listing at Lighthouse Point which got good feedback by both Realtors® and neighbors/island visitors. It’s great value, priced to sell quickly if you are interested in a beach-front 3-bedroom on the bay. (photos below)

The details on all of the islands’ Multiple Listing Service action since last Friday follow a few news items below.

Tonight is the Association’s annual Installation & Awards Banquet at The Sanctuary.

Florida Realtors® Mid-Year Business Meetings

header_midwinter_2.jpgNext week are the Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings in Orlando where state leaders kick off the year. With that trip in mind, I’ve been watching Orlando forecasts too. Their forecast shows their daytime temperatures expected to be higher than here (80 degrees Saturday and 78 degrees Wed). But their nights are regularly into the 40’s.

Teammates Dave, Elise, and Lisa will be covering on-island while I’m away. The meeting schedule is consolidated this year, so I’ll be back on island Saturday. Wednesday, I again am sitting on the Audition Panel for Florida Realtors® instructors. We have a record number of 48 auditions scheduled during our all-day session. Thursday morning the Legislative Think Tank meets, as well as the Resort & 2nd Home Forum (where water quality and short-term rentals are on the agenda). Thursday afternoon, I have a Curriculum Subcommittee meeting in preparation for Friday’s Professional Development Committee meeting. With multiple meetings and events happening simultaneously, it’s always a productive invigorating time including great networking. Hard to believe this will be my 21st year serving. Today’s technology sure makes participating and doing business from afar easier now.

Florida Brokers Use New Tax Law as a Marketing Tool

bloomberg logoFrom Monday’s Florida Realtors® on-line:

“MIAMI – Jan. 14, 2019 – Florida real estate professionals are pitching the state’s tax benefits in places like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – states where homeowners were hit the hardest by a sweeping tax law that capped deductions on state and local taxes since they have some of the highest income and property taxes. “What we’ve done is kind of double down on the Northeast because of the tax incentives,” says Daniel de la Vega, president of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty in Miami.

“Under the tax law, deductions for state and local taxes, including property taxes, are limited to $10,000. According to Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s Florida operations, “If you’re looking at an ultra-high net worth individual or a very high-income employee, if they can make the move, there are real benefits.”

“The efforts appear to be gaining traction, with Redfin reporting an average 5% gain in sales prices for Florida luxury homes on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter. Moreover, Florida luxury home prices have outperformed the national average for four consecutive quarters. Over the same year-over-year period, luxury home sales in Florida edged up 6%, but declined 0.7% nationally.

“Cristobal Young, a Cornell University sociologist and author of “The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight: How Place Still Matters to the Rich,” says that if you strip Florida out of the national data, evidence of rich people moving from high- to low-tax states essentially disappears.”

Source: Bloomberg (01/11/19) Levin, Jonathan

© Copyright 2019 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

2018 Was 3rd Year For Above-Average Catastrophes

Florida Realtors logoFlorida Realtors posted the below article on-line yesterday:

“CoreLogic’s annual Natural Hazard Report, which addresses the recent wildfires in California and severe rainfall- and hurricane-induced flooding throughout the nation, as the leading catastrophes in 2018.core logic logo

“Much like 2017, last year was an above-average year for hurricanes, flooding, wildfires and severe winds, the report concludes. It’s the 3rd year in a row for increased damage from disasters, which property insurance companies consider when requesting rate increases.

“The annual report analyzes hazard activity in the U.S. including events for Atlantic and Pacific hurricanes, flooding, wind, wildfire, earthquake and volcano, hail and tornado, as well as several international events including typhoons and cyclones in Japan, Oman, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

“”In 2018, the U.S. continued to experience damaging weather and natural catastrophes in high exposure areas, and in some instances, in regions that had been impacted in less than a year prior,” says Howard Botts, chief scientist, CoreLogic. “Hazards will always pose a real threat to homes and businesses and knowing exactly what that risk entails is critical to helping ensure sufficient protection from the financial catastrophes that so often follow natural disasters.”

“Report highlights

Flooding

In 2018, there were over 1,600 significant flood events that occurred in the U.S., 59% of which were flash flood-related.

“Residential and commercial flood damage in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia from Hurricane Florence is estimated at $19 billion to $28.5 billion, of which roughly 85% of residential flood losses were uninsured.

“Multiple states, including Texas, North and South Carolina, Maryland and Wisconsin, experienced 1,000-year floods; several 2018 floods occurred less than two years after an earlier problem, even though they’re considered 1,000-year flood events.

“Six percent of properties nationwide are within Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and approximately one-third of those have flood insurance policies.

Atlantic hurricanes

“The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season saw 15 named storms, eight of which were hurricanes. Two of these, Hurricanes Florence (Category 1) and Michael (Category 4), made landfall along the U.S., making 2018 the third back-to-back season of above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

“Approximately 700,000 residential and commercial properties experienced catastrophic flooding and wind damage from Hurricane Florence, which is estimated to have caused between $20 to $30 billion in insured and uninsured loss.

“Michael is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle since 1900 and the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It’s estimated to have caused $2.5 to $4 billion in residential and commercial insured loss from wind and storm surge.

Wildfire

“The number of acres burned in 2018 is the eighth highest in U.S. history as reported through Nov. 30, 2018.

A total of 11 western states had at least one wildfire that exceeded 50,000 burned acres; the leading states were California and Oregon, each with seven fires that burned more than 50,000 acres.

“The November 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California destroyed nearly the entire city of Paradise and brought damage or destruction to 18,804 structures.

“The Woolsey wildfire in the coastal community of Malibu destroyed more than 1,600 structures.

CoreLogic estimates that the combined total insured and uninsured loss for these two wildfires is between $15 billion and $19 billion.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Jan 11-18, 2019sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Donax Village #10 1/1.5 $379K, Loggerhead Cay #582 2/2 $689K, Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 $785K, Tarpon Beach #112 2/2 $1.149M, Atrium #207 2/2 $1.55M.

5 price changes: Tennisplace #D22 1/1 now $235K, Tennisplace #B22 2/1.5 now $309K, Sundial #H108 1/1 now $459K, Pointe Santo #B2 2/2 now $699K, Villas of Sanibel #A102 3/3 now $1.49M.

1 new sale: Bayview Village #2A 3/3 listed at $749K.

1 closed sale: Compass Point #232 2/2 $585K (our buyer).

compass point from beach

Compass Point from the beach

HOMES

5 new listings: 4755 Ruelle 3/3 $785K; 2441 Los Colony Rd 4/2.5 $898,997; 3351 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 $1.25M; 5407 Osprey Ct 4/3 $1.595M; 4143 West Gulf Dr 4/3.5 $6.795M.

14 price changes: 1027 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $499K, 9248 Dimmick Dr 3/3 now $630K, 1441 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $699K, 721 Cardium St 3/2 now $745K, 1978 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $748.9K, 1225 Seagrape Ln 3/3 now $799K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 now $829K, 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 now $895K, 4787 Rue Helene 4/3 now $959K, 5422 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 half-duplex now $989K, 1345 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.195M, 532 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 now $1.495M, 500 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3 now $1.499M, 784 Limpet Dr 4/3 now $1.789M.

7 new sales: 9431 Moonlight Dr 3/2 listed at $597K, 221 Robinwood Cir 3/2 listed at $679K, 678 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $799K, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 listed at $874.9K, 1127 Buttonwood Ln 3/2.5 listed at $925K, 789 Pyrula Ave 4/2.5 listed at $999K, 1230 Ferry Rd 3/4 listed at $1.095M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: 5847 Pine Ave now $349,555; 0 Island Inn Rd now $849,555; 4767 Tradewinds Dr now $1.595M.

1 new sale: 4565 Bowen Bayou Rd listed at $189.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Gulf Beach Villas #2112 1/1 $517.9K.

1 price change: Seabreeze #1253 3/3 now $1,799,999.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2625 2/2 listed at $635K.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 $389K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 11544 Wightman Ln 4/4.5 $2.395M, 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 $4.15M, 16548 Captiva Dr 4/4 $4.5M.

3 price changes: 11535 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.849M, 11547 Laika Ln 4/4 now $2.395M, 16531 Captiva Dr 8/8 now $3.6M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

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.

dsc01361

Enjoy your weekend!

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

1st Weekend of 2019… Sanibel Shelling Still Amazing


As the new year begins, island roadways and bike paths continue to be busy – a noticeable increase from before Christmas with plenty of holiday visitors here enjoying the warm temperatures and sunshine. Temperatures got up into the mid 80’s on Wednesday, but that is expected to change a little when a mini-cool front arrives tomorrow dropping nighttime temps into the 50’s. After that, sunny but low-70-degree days may be the norm for the foreseeable future.

If you follow Sanibel Shell Seekers on Facebook, you likely have seen that the number and sizes of the shells found since the storms pre-Christmas are phenomenal. Here are a couple of their pix posted there: lightening whelks by Michael Gillmore and sharks eyes by Marci Canty. Aren’t the colors amazing!

michael gillmore sanibel shell seekersmarci canty sanibel shell seekers

Those here, please remember, that “in season”, it’s smart to plan travel around the heavier traffic coming on-island in the morning and off-island late afternoon.

Also, in typical winter fashion, as soon as condo listings are occupied, we get showing requests. It’s always challenging to sell properties that are in rental programs where the property managers do not allow showings during guest stays. That’s when encouraging Realtors® to walk the complex, point out the location/view, and professional photography/colored fliers become more important. Serious buyers understand. This week, we were fortunate when a cooperative owner guest allowed several showings. At another property, where a long-term guest had just arrived, we weren’t as lucky.

Wondering if the islands have any sales action here during the short New Year’s week? The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity since last Friday is after a few news items below.

Annual Meetings, Fee Changes, & More

Sanibel realtors logoMany Southwest Florida condominium and homeowner associations hold their annual meetings in the winter when more owners are in town. We work hard to keep info about our listings up-to-date. Local Realtors® and our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® are smart about sharing any new info about planned projects, changes in fees or special assessments, or even talk about upcoming maintenance events.

At yesterday morning’s Realtor® Caravan Meeting, a colleague announced that the City has approved Sandy Bend condominium putting in a swimming pool. Sharing info like this is an important part of making sure that everyone involved in a transaction knows what is happening at the property.

2019 Economic Outlook: Mostly Strong

gulfshore business logoFrom December 2018 issue of “Gulfshore Business” magazine:

“Local experts forecast how our key business sectors will fare next year.

“Southwest Florida has been bombarded with a lot of unwanted “color” in 2018 – red tide, blue-green algae, citrus greening. The question for 2019: Will our economy be in the red or in the black?

“”Gulfshore Business” gathered data from economists and industry experts who forecast the health of our local markets for real estate, tourism, agriculture, finance and health care for the new year.

“It looks to shape up like another good year for Florida,” says Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Over the past five years, Florida produced one out of 11 new jobs in the U.S.”

“Parrish says the probability of a recession over the next nine months, barring a “black swan” unexpected event, is very low. “People are moving here, taking jobs, building homes, buying because there’s opportunity,” he says. “I see that continuing for next year. Even if the economy softens a little bit, Florida’s still going to be strong.”

“The Southwest Florida region tends to overheat during boom periods and overcorrect during busts, says Chris Westley, director of the Regional Economic Research Institute and professor of economics at the Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“Gross domestic product data show the region’s economic activity bounced back from the 2008 recession in 2014 and remained strong until 2017 (the most recent numbers available). “Then it began to slow down considerably,” Westley says, noting overall GDP for Collier County in 2017 was 1.2%, the first time it dipped below 3% in five years. Lee County was at 1.5%.

“Westley blames the decline on the slow growth of construction. “A lot of that is explained by Hurricane Irma. A lot of construction projects were put on hold,” he says. But construction employment rebounded in September 2018, increasing year over year in Collier County by 27.5% and in Lee County by 20%.

“”As long as the expansion continues, we can expect our region to exceed the state, and the state to exceed the country,” he says. However, Westley says many economists – who weren’t prepared for 2008 – believe a correction will happen in 2020. “If the economy continues to expand through next summer, we will be in the longest expansion in U.S. history. But, it’s been a pretty weak expansion. It’s possible that weak expansions last long. It’s possible we could fall into a recession next year or in 2021. It’s going to turn on a dime.”

“Real Estate and Development

ls-logo“Randy Thibaut, CEO of Land Solutions in Fort Myers, says we are not in a depression or in a recession. “We think we’re in a market correction and expect that to continue into 2020,” he says.

“He says factors that led to the market crash in 2008 are not happening today, such as runaway speculation and financing, and overbuilding of single-family homes. Although, he says, the potential does exist for overbuilding of assisted living and apartment construction.

“Thibaut says the combination of rising interest rates, prices becoming too expensive for most homebuyers, tariffs increasing the cost of building new homes, and increasing government fees all equate to a softening of the market.

“Interest rates are expected to rise to 5.8 or 6% by 2020. “In and of itself, 6 to 8% interest rates are not a scary thing,” he says. However, for every 1% the interest rate goes up, buyers average $20,000 less in borrowing power. That makes it more difficult for 1st time homebuyers to find affordable homes, with prices already higher in response to increases in labor, materials, concrete and land over the past five years. Now, he says, tack on an expected extra $9,000 per new home because of new tariffs on imported materials.

“Westley says many homebuyers in Southwest Florida have been saving up equity for 30 years and don’t need to take out a mortgage. Parrish says most international buyers are cash buyers as well. “They’re less sensitive to the interest rate, but sensitive to the U.S. dollar,” he says. “As they raise interest rates, the U.S. dollar will get stronger, too.”

“Thibaut says over the next several years, a great deal of building materials and labor will be redirected to northern Florida to assist with rebuilding after this year’s Hurricane Michael. “We’re mostly recovered from Hurricane Irma, but there are still signs of people waiting for roofs to be replaced,” he says. “It’s definitely added greatly to our labor shortage and cost of materials.”

“Despite all of that, Thibaut sees a stable market. “We have a tone of new millennial buyers and a stable stream of baby boomers continuing to make purchases in Southwest Florida,” he says. “They’re just a little more value-conscious than they were before.”

“Parrish says a greater number of people from high-tax states in the Northeast are moving to Florida, and even more are inquiring about housing and business relocation. He says rising interest rates are spurring some buyers to speed up their purchases, not delay them. “People with the means are moving to Florida,” he says. “We are going to see a big population bump.”

Tourism and Hospitality

sancap-logo-ylw-200px-1“John Lai, president and CEO of the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, says 2018 started off with record growth, but there was no playbook to prepare the region for the impact of red tide and blue-green algae.

“He says it led to a disastrous third quarter that was expected to rebound in the fourth quarter. “We were dealt an ecological disaster we weren’t expecting,” Lai says.

“Lee County bed tax collections were down 16.4% in August 2018 over last year. “That equates to $5.66 million,” Lai says. “Collier and Pinellas were both up. (Visitors) checked out and went to one of our competing drive markets.”

Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Islands, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau, says red tide exposure in Collier County was limited to the northern beaches. “Most water-related tour companies felt declines in business, but not necessarily the hotels,” he says.

“Wert says 2018’s water quality issue is causing them to take a conservative outlook for 2019, expecting a 2% increase in visits. “We need to reassure people it’s OK to come,” he says.

“Group meeting reservations for the first three months of 2019 are already on pace in Collier County. “It’s a positive outlook,” Wert says. “Meeting planners are booking business, and we’re anticipating the leisure market will still be strong.”

Lai says the first quarter of 2019 in Lee County is expected to meet or exceed early 2018’s pace as well. He is hopeful that 2019’s weather will be helpful because of El Nino, which is expected to bring much wetter and colder weather to the Northeast. “We are seeing that travelers are very forgiving, and memories of disasters both manmade and ecological are staring to shorten,” he says. “We’re optimistic that 2019 will be the year that 2018 was shaping up to be.”

“The focus on Southwest Florida tourism isn’t just on the beaches. Wert says about eight hotels are in various stages of planning for inland Collier County, with two expected to open in 2019 in East Naples near the new Collier County Sports Complex. That facility will open its first phase in December 2019 for amateur sports tournaments. “Sports tourism will continue to grow,” Wert says. “That is driving some of that hotel development.”

“Lai echoes that sentiment, noting three new inland hotels will be opening in Lee County in 2019. “The demand is so strong,” he says, expecting amateur sports tournaments to continue boasting the local economy during the off-season. “Amateur sports have taken a leading role. I expect that to continue to grow in 2019.”

“The international market is also expected to be strong in 2019, despite a strengthening U.S. dollar that makes their travel more expensive. Wert says Canadian visits likely will be down, but strong demand from the U.K. and Germany persists. “A Collier County advantage is that most of our travels are upscale,” he says. “Fluctuations in the exchange rates don’t seem to affect their travel.”

While tourism focuses on out-of-town visitors, hospitality takes into account locals who partake in the area’s shopping, dining and entertainment. “Incomes are growing at near the rate before the last recession,” Parish says. “The outlook for hospitality is stronger than for tourism in general.”…”.

How To Prepare For a Home Inspection

Florida Realtors logoFrom the November/December 2018 issue of “FloridaRealtor®”

  • “If home is empty, leave utilities on and pilot lights lit.
  • Make sure electrical sockets, light fixtures, switches, and fans work.
  • Confirm smoke and carbon monoxide detectors operate.
  • Check that faucets and toilets run properly and don’t leak.
  • Clean stove and oven so they won’t smoke and set off alarm when tested.
  • Verify doors and windows open and close and all hardware works.
  • Clear obstructions around furnace (HVAC equipment), water heaters and attic access.
  • Leave keys for outbuildings and exterior electrical boxes.
  • Remove brush and debris from exterior inspection points.
  • Gather documentation for renovations or repairs that have been made.
  • Provide sketch showing location of septic tank and week.
  • Remove or crate pets.
  • Plan to be away for three hours minimum.
  • Consider having home pre-inspected so you can fix problems before the official inspection.”

What Buyers Should Ask After a Home Inspection

realtor logoI’ve been saving this article from “Realtor®” magazine of October 9, 2018. It seems appropriate now, after the above article.

“After an inspector has finished a home report, buyers may feel overwhelmed by any flaws that might have been found. That’s why it’s important they take the opportunity to learn more so that they can move forward confidently in the transaction.

“A recent article at realtor.com® recommends home buyers ask their inspector clarifying questions like: “I don’t understand this; what does it mean?” or “Is this a major or minor problem?” and “Do I need to call in another expert for a follow-up?”

“Home inspectors are bound to uncover something in a home; no home is perfect. But the majority of the problems they uncover will likely be minor. Have the home inspector clarify which problems fall within the “minor” or “major” categories.

“Keep in mind: “The inspector can’t tell you, ‘Make sure the seller pays for this,’ so be sure you understand what needs to be done,” Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, told realtor.com®.

“If the inspector identifies a potentially major problem, consumers will want to follow up whether they should call an additional expert in to investigate further. For example, consumers may need to bring in an electrician to take a closer look at potential electrical issues that were flagged or a roofer if a roofing problem is suspected. Those specialists can then give an idea of the cost to fix it, which the real estate agent can take to the seller to request a concession, if the seller doesn’t want to fix it prior to the sale.

“Also, Lesh says that the list of items a home inspector identifies are issues the new buyer may need to address as soon as they move in. He says it’s like a “to-do list” for those items that did not get repaired by the seller prior to the sale.”

Weather Changes Due to El Nino

island-water-logoInteresting forecast in the Winter 2018 issue of “IWA Pipeline”: “As noted in the fall Pipeline, Southwest Florida is likely to experience an El Nino winter in 2019. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a 70-75% chance of El Nino conditions this winter. El Nino is predicted to materialize in late December or early January.

“El Nino is a warming of surface water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. That warming changes where the thunderstorms form in the Pacific so that the jet stream goes over Florida instead of north of Florida. An El Nino winter typically means a wetter and lightly cooler winter for Southwest Florida. NOAA is predicting above average rainfall between now and May 2019. Many Sanibel and Captiva residents remember the last El Nino winter in 2015-16 that brought record rainfall and caused our rivers to be inundated with freshwater. Ecological damage with blue-green algae blooms followed. The predictions for this El Nino are not as severe as 2015-16, but the need for landscaping irrigation should be decreased in the upcoming winter months.

“Now is the time to check your rain sensor to make sure it has been installed correctly and that it is working. If you don’t have a rain sensor tied to your irrigation system, by Florida law, you are required to have one installed if you have an automatic irrigation system. Having a properly working rain sensor should save you money during the usually dry winter months if, in fact, we experience an El Nino winter in Southwest Florida.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service sancap GO MLS logoActivity Dec 28, 2018 – Jan 4, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sundial #I103 1/1 $489K, Loggerhead Cay #562 2/2 $595K, Kings Crown #112 2/2 $699K.

6 price changes: Sundial #G206 1/1 now $464.9K, White Caps South #5 1/1 now $499.9K, Snug Harbor #312 3/2 now $668K, Signal Inn #3 2/1.5 now $695K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $784.9K, White Sands #13 2/2 now $919K.

3 new sales: Coquina Beach #3C 2/2 listed at $449K, Sundial #G206 1/1 listed at $464.9K, Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 listed at $699K.

2 closed sales: Blind Pass #C201 2/2 $430K, Sundial #T301 2/2 $700K.

HOMES

9 new listings: 724 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $645K; 678 Durion Ct 3/2 $799K, 257 Daniel Dr 3/2 $815K; 1752 Jewel Box Dr 2/2 $994K; 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 $1.295M; 982 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 $1.325M; 1136 Golden Olive Ct 4/4.5 $2.795M; 550 Lighthouse Way 3/4.5 $2,999,999; 1253 Anhinga Ln 4/4 $3.795M.

5 price changes: 974 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex now $519K, 1018 Demere Ln 4/2 now $674K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $995K, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.085M, 742 Sand Dollar Dr 2/3 now $1.089M.

2 new sales: 849 Beach Rd 4/4 duplex listed at $595K, 931 Snowberry Ln 4/4 listed at $1.35M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

2 new listings: 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct $377,555; 3869 West Gulf Dr $3.895M.

1 price change: 602 Boulder Dr now $439K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

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.

2018-06-13Until next Friday, enjoy your first weekend in 2019.

(Pix above of view from West Wind’s pool bar, which also serves chow from their Normandie Seaside Café. Open to the public too.)

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Paradise-Style Winter Weather Wonderland


weather 12-28-18As The SanibelSusan Team looks forward to an island New Year, I am happy to report that Christmas week weather here has been wonderful. Today’s forecast says there will be warmer-than-usual days and nights until next week at this time.

Sunset-croppedThat means Sanibel temperatures in the mid- to high-70’s to low-80’s during the day, mid- to high-60’s at night. The weather folks also say that by next Friday, there may be a few showers and another cool-front arriving with lower temps (mid-60’s’ days, mid-50’s nights). Even so, SW Florida winter weather is the best!

Shelling12-21-18 Blind PassWith outstanding shelling still reported as a result of the storms last week, I think there are more shellers than usual on the beaches too. Long-time neighbors say it’s the best shelling in “50 years”. Wow!

There was no Realtor® Caravan yesterday, but the team has been hosting Open Houses hoping to attract buyers. The first heavy “season” traffic has resulted in cars backed up past the office from about 3 p.m. on every day since Christmas. There typically is an influx of day-trippers after holidays with both bike paths and roadways super busy.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. There were no Sanibel/Captiva new sales this week. Though one condo and one home sale were posted in MLS, both were from earlier contracts.

Best wishes from all of us at The Sanibel Susan Team for a Happy New Year!

 

Mud Bugs Cajun Kitchen Now Open

mudbugs logoRestaurant choices on island again expanded recently with the opening of Mudbugs Cajun Kitchen at the former location of Sanibel Steakhouse at 1472 Periwinkle Way (across the street from Bill’s Bikes). The newly-renovated New Orleans-style eatery seats up to 150 people including 18 outdoor seats.

mudbugsServing both lunch and dinner, there are Cajun meals for every palate. Part-owner is long-time island restaurateur Larry Thompson known for his other eateries – the Lazy Flamingos, Sunset Grill, and Sanibel Fresh.

Florida Realtors® News: Top Real Estate Stories Of 2018

2018_Hanging_Decoration_PNG_Clip_Art_ImagePosted on-line at FloridaRealtors® on December 21, 2018: “Hurricanes hit, insurance rates rose, team ad rules got an update, and a real estate market marked by rising prices and tight inventory showed the first potential signs of change.

“Michael throws a boat ashore – On Oct. 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael slammed Florida’s Panhandle as the eye crossed near Mexico Beach. The category 4 storm was the first to target Northwest Florida and will forever impact future planning for the area – building codes, insurance rates and safety – after residents suddenly realized that their area faces just as much risk from deadly storms as the seemingly more vulnerable Florida cities to the south. The day after the storm, Florida Realtors® Disaster Relief Fund started accepting applications for aid and donations from Realtors throughout the state who wanted to help. A short while later, the national association’s Realtors Relief Fund (RRF) announced $400,000 in housing assistance for storm victims. Realtors, association staff, families and neighbors need so much. Any help you can offer is most appreciated.

“Insurance woes, from flood to AOB – The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) needs a major update but Congress keeps kicking the issue down the road. NFIP is deeply in debt but relied on by homeowners who need or want coverage. 2018 ended up where it started without a long-term solution, even though Realtors had a massive Call for Action before an expiration in September. On the property insurance side, coverage keeps getting more expensive, thanks in part to assignment of benefits (AOB) rules. Change is difficult without action by the Florida Legislature, and the problem could get worse as unscrupulous third parties over-charge for their work and then demand reimbursement from insurance companies, which may then pass increased costs on to their policyholders.

“What’s the word I’m looking for? – For some Florida Realtor teams, a Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) rule update may be the biggest story of 2018. While new team ad rule requirements became official last summer, they give teams a full-year to prepare because, for some, it could mean a new name and major overhaul in every advertisement where it appears. FREC then opened the door to changes in individual ad rules, with a specific eye on the size of licensee names compared to broker names. The discussion will continue in 2019.

“Did you feel that? The market shifted – In the years leading up to 2018, a seller’s market dominated most areas of Florida. During the first half of 2018, a tight supply of for-sale homes frustrated buyers as median prices and interest rates moved higher and higher. As a result, buyers started to drop out, more sellers lowered asking prices, and bidding wars thinned out. By the second half of the year, quickly rising home prices became slowly rising home prices. Will all of this lead to a balanced market of buyers and sellers in 2019? Maybe. And when will the normal real estate cycle shift again to a buyers’ market? Stay tuned.

“The ‘higher mortgage rates’ prediction finally came true – For five years, experts’ end-of-year predictions called for higher mortgage rates in the new year – and for five years they’ve been wrong. But that changed in 2018. While rates continue to hover below 5%, which is still historically low, they ended the year about a full percentage point higher than when the year began. In part that’s because the Federal Reserve boosted interest rates four times in 2018 and plans a couple more next year. The Fed’s interest rate increases immediately raise the cost of adjustable-rate mortgages and indirectly put pressure on fixed-rate loans.

“A tip o’ the hat to the cap – Florida voters passed Amendment 2 in November, which made permanent a 10% cap on non-homestead property assessments each year. Florida Realtors advocated strongly for passage and celebrated the win after 66% of voters agreed. A permanent constitutional cap now gives the state’s small businesses some assurance they wouldn’t be priced out of the market on Jan. 1 of each year simply because property values went up.

“Another cut to the business rent tax – Florida businesses will save $31 million dollars each year thanks to the Florida Legislature, which cut the state’s business rent tax again. The new rent-tax rate on commercial leases drops to 5.7% on Jan. 1, 2019. After the final gavel fell on the 2018 session of the Florida Legislature, Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen said that Realtors knew it was going to be a rough session given the state’s tight finances, but “with the help of our members, we managed to keep the momentum going to further reduce the Business Rent Tax.”

“Does a non-Realtor business model have legs? – iBuyers – Opendoor, Offerpad, etc. – purchase homes directly from owners without an MLS or Realtor. Survey after survey finds that buyers and sellers want a trusted advisor to help them through a stressful transaction, but is there a chance iBuyers could eventually take over a significant share of the real estate market? Realtors find it hard to believe, and the data, so far, isn’t impressive. However, Wall Street is heavily backing these new iBuyers: Opendoor alone had raised $325 million by September, and an ATTOM survey found that institutional investors have shown an increasing interest in iBuyer-owned properties. It remains to be seen if these new models will crash and burn like many tech stocks or if they start to take over the business.

“Blockchain could unblock closings – Blockchain technology is often associated with Bitcoin, but as a tool, it essentially takes a complex, multi-user transaction and makes it safer. Instead of the data sitting on a single server that all participants tap into, it replicates the data on everyone’s computer, making it harder for any single participant to fudge the figures. However, this additional safety and spread of data could also cut the paperwork time to closing in half – or more – if every necessary piece of data becomes instantly available to agents, title companies, lenders, etc. While change always takes time, it could lead to a system where a contract signed on Saturday can close by Thursday.

“Builders can’t catch a break – The nation needs more new homes – but the cost for new construction keeps moving higher. There’s not enough vacant land; impact fees (a development charge by local governments to pay for increased city services) are going up; supplies cost more (in part due to Canadian lumber tariffs); there aren’t enough workers – and if there are, they don’t have the necessary skills. New home construction, once seen as the solution to a tight housing inventory, did not appear in 2018 – and it doesn’t seem to be on the horizon for 2019 either.

Environmental Groups Sue Feds Over Lake “O” Discharges

Calusa_Waterkeeper_Logo_1701.pngInteresting read in this week’s “Island Reporter” (dated December 26, 2018):

“Conservation groups on December 19 filed a notice of intent to sue three federal agencies for failing to assess harm to Florida’s endangered species before approving the ongoing release of polluted waters from Lake Okeechobee.

“The suit naming the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service alleges that the discharges likely help drive the catastrophic red tide algae blooms killing Florida’s coastal wildlife.

“The groups specifically challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to extend the discharges through 2015 from the lake into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers….

“The notices give the agencies 60 days to respond ot the claims submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper, and Waterkeeper Alliance…

“According to the release, the Corps updated its plan for managing the discharges in 2008 with the goal of lowering the risk of damage to the Herbert Hoover Dam, which retains the lake. The plan was supposed to be reconfigured within three years to incorporate the impacts of structural improvements to the dike and water quality upgrades projected to come form the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

“”The dike repairs are behind schedule, the Everglades plan has not been completed and toxic algae blooms continue to kill countless marine animals,” the Calusa Waterkeeper release states. “Meanwhile the Corps has opted to simply extend the current water-management plan through 2025 without assessing the harm to protected wildlife and water quality.”

Kick Out Clause or Right of First Refusal?

Florida Realtors logoMore good info from Florida Realtors®, this article by Meredith Caruso. She is Manager of Member Legal Communications, answering calls Florida Realtors® Legal Hotline and she also keeps the Forms Content Committee on track.

“Legal Hotline calls suggest that there’s some confusion over what Right of First Refusal and Kick Out Clause mean, and they’re often used interchangeably. Some calls start with “I’m looking for a Right of First Refusal rider”. Usually, however, this member is actually lookin for the Kick Out Clause rider but is confused over terminology.

What is Right of First Refusal? How does that differ from the Kick Out Clause rider? Here is what you need to know.

Right of First Refusal: In general, a Right of First Refusal is an interest granted to a person or entity to purchase property before another third party can do so. A commonly seen example is a property association’s right of first refusal. Normally recorded within the community’s documents, this right allows the property association to purchase a property before another buyer can.

“In this case, the association has the right to review the contract between a seller and a buyer within a certain timeframe (i.e. 10 days) so the association can decide whether or not to exercise its right to purchase. If the association chooses to do so, it then “stands in the shoes” of the buyer in the contract, meaning that the terms of the contract remain the same, pending renegotiation, and the association can’t make the seller change a term, such as the purchase price.

“Another common scenario that might have a Right of First Refusal is in a landlord/tenant relationship. Some tenants might incorporate a Right of First Refusal into their leases, stating that they have the right to buy the home before another buyer does, should the landlord want to sell that property one day. The Florida Supreme Court-approved leases don’t contain such language, so tenants who may want a right of first refusal in this context should consult their attorney for the appropriate language to add to their lease.

Kick Out Clause: The language in kick-out clauses could vary depending on the contract used, but in the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (FR/Bar), the Kick Out Clause language is in a rider.

“Adding Rider X to the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar contracts clarifies that the seller can continue to show the property and enter into bona fide back-up contracts. Any back-up contract with a third-party is, of course, subject to termination of the primary contract.

“Upon entering into a back-up contract, the seller must share a copy of said contract with the primary contract buyer, though with certain information, like price, redacted.

“This puts the ball in the buyer’s court, and the buyer must make a decision: either place an additional deposit down with the designated escrow agent and, in doing so, waive contingencies for financing and sale of buyer’s property (if any) or don’t place the additional deposit in the timeframe required, thereby terminating the contract. In the case of termination, the buyer would receive any initial deposit back and both parties would be released from further obligations under the contract.

“Once terminated, the seller then notifies that back-up contract buyer that that contract is in primary position.

When might a seller want to use this rider?

“A common use is when the buyer’s offer contains a contingency for the sale of a property the buyer currently owns. A seller may want to counter the buyer’s offer with this rider added to retain the ability to go with an entirely different contract with a subsequent buyer should they choose.

“In sum, a Right of First Refusal is granted to a party via a separate legal document (i.e. a declaration of association or a lease) to purchase property before another third-party. On the other hand, a Kick Out Clause rider to the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar contract gives the seller the potential opportunity to proceed with a back-up contract….”

Question About “As Is” Contract

clip-art-of-contracts-being-signed-clipart-1The following question and answer are from the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of “FloridaRealtor®” magazine under “Talk to An Attorney” Advice from the Florida Realtors® Legal Hotline:

“Question: “The buyer and seller executed a Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase. The buyer submitted a proposed amendment during the Inspection Period, requesting a reduction in the purchase price based on issues revealed during the buyer’s home inspection. The seller is offended by the request and wants to cancel the contract. Does the buyer’s proposed contract amendment give the seller the right to cancel the contract?

“No. After a contract is signed, either side is welcome to propose amendments to the other side. The side receiving the proposed amendment in this case, the seller, is welcome to accept, reject, counter, or even ignore the proposed amendment. If the seller and buyer don’t end up agreeing to this proposed amendment, then the existing contract continues forward on the terms the parties already agreed upon.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 21-28, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Kings Crown #309 2/2 $879K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 listed at $949K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #H309 1/1 $447.9K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 1350 Middle Gulf Dr #2E (Moonshadows) 3/3 half-duplex $895K, 1159 Golden Olive Ct 3/2 $1.495M, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 $1.595M, 2411 Blue Crab Ct 4/3.5 $2.599M.

5 price changes: 1851 Farm Trl 3/2 now $569.9K, 9465 Coventry Ct 3/2 now $625K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $989K, 735 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3 now $1.179M, 430 Glory Cir 4/4.5 now $1.345M.

1 new sale: 1438 Causey Ct 3/2 listed at $895K.

4 closed sales: 1236 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $545K, 4436 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 $675K, 9028 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 $799K, 8991 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $830K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1032 Sand Castle Rd $399,880.

1 price change: 2987 Wulfert Rd now $450K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 595 Piedmont Rd $190K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Lands End Village #1602 3/3 $2.3M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

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.

happy new year coloring book.jpgUntil next week, here’s to the last Friday in 2018!

Happy New Year!

See ya next year!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s a Seashell Kinda Christmas! Merry! Merry!


Before embarking on today’s weather report, here is a little shell art. The gingerbread man was in front of Coquina Beach condos earlier this week. Probably washed away by now. The others from past years, but fitting for the holiday season.

sanibel shell art 2 12-18-18.jpg

As The SanibelSusan Team counts down to the Christmas holiday and hopefully more real estate action, it has been interesting to have a winter storm pass through Florida. I liken it to a northern snowstorm, but without the white stuff and the cold. With westerly winds blowing on shore off the gulf beginning about noon yesterday, early flooding was reported at The Castaways cottages (the Santiva area) as I read email warnings from my local landscaper and the City, about the expected high wind, waves, erosion, and possible tornadoes in the forecast – all of this while the air conditioning still on at the office.

Santa looking for junoniaToday temperatures haven’t gotten out of the 70’s. The rain has become sporadic, but the heavy wind continues with palms down and debris reported in some beachside locations. Social media has shown videos of gulf waters crashing through some beach access paths along West Gulf Dr. I hope it is rolling in junonias.

Teammate Elise just saw it posted that electricity is out in Naples and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay is closed (following reported 78 mph winds). Yikes!

SanibelSusan Realty

With the team off on extended holiday both Monday and Tuesday, Elise today is busy printing extra fliers and checking listing occupancies so we are ready for arriving visitors looking to make a last minute Christmas real estate purchase.

santa kiting 2015Teammate Dave, on the other hand, has already scooted out and is busy networking with his kiteboarding buddies on the causeway, I expect we’ll see them on the evening news later, as wind like today hasn’t happened here in a very long time.

Teammate Lisa will be in the office tomorrow, while I am covering Sunday and Monday. As I make showing appointments for next Wednesday morning, it seems that many island offices will be closed for the long weekend. Here’s wishing them all and you a very Merry Christmas!

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

Real Estate in a Digital Age

Having been involved in the islands’ transition of real estate listing info from the old 3”x5” index cards, to listing books, and then to the internet, it was fun to participate in the task force that just picked a new MLS provider for our Association of Realtors®. Technology changes always take time and training, so won’t be occurring until after “season”, later in 2019. Since the details about our new provider haven’t been issued to our members yet, suffice it to say that the new features and capabilities of what is coming will blow the socks off anything you have seen or used before. Users both consumers and Realtors® will be “wowed”. With that in mind, an email today from the National Association of Realtors® with the below article, seemed timely:

“The world we live in today is a digital one and searching for a home is no different. Buyers now have apps that let them search by location and neighborhoods. Online searching maximizes the ability to compare and contrast homes on the market by selected features. Most of this is done before a potential home buyer connects with a real estate agent.

“In the Real Estate in a Digital Age report, we examine the process home buyers go through in the initial online search and how REALTORS® are connecting with customers in the digital space.

“In 2018, buyers worked with an agent 87% of the time to find their home, so trust in a REALTOR® is still king. While the initial process may start online, home buyers turn to the advice from a trusted real estate agent.

In addition to the home buying process, REALTORS® also utilize technology in their everyday business practices. Staying up to date with new technology is important, but also cited as one of the biggest challenges for firms in the next two years.

“Over 90% of real estate firms have websites, and the most common feature on their websites were property listings.

“Along with web use, REALTORS® are also using their mobile devices for a multitude of different activities, with the primary being to communicate with their clients.”

Condo Boards Don’t Always Understand Florida Law

This below article posted on-line Dec 17 by Florida Realtors® has a few disclosures, but also contains some interesting information. Here is the article in total:

“By Richard D. DeBoest

“Dec. 17, 2018 – Question: I am an owner in a condominium. I have made a request to see the individual unit owner assessment ledgers for owners who are delinquent in the payment of assessments. The board has denied my request and they claim I am not allowed to see this information. Is this true? – J.B., Hutchinson Island

Answer: No, it is not true. You are legally entitled to this information. The individual assessment ledgers of all owners are official records of the association. Both Statutes 718 (Condominium Associations) and 720 (Homeowner Associations) provide that most official records of the association must be made available for inspection and copying within 10 working days of a written request.

There are certain official records that are not allowed to be given to owners. These records include medical records, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and social security numbers, but there is no exception for individual owner assessment ledgers. If an association intentionally fails to provide access to the records within the time provided, the owner is entitled to $50 a day up to $500 a penalty.

“Question: I wanted to organize a “meet the candidates” night in our condominium clubhouse for local political candidates in the area. When I talked to the board about this, I was told this is illegal because the association common elements cannot be used for political purposes. Is this true? – S.F., Vero Beach

“Answer: No, it is not true. Section 718.123, Florida Statutes expressly provides that “no entity or entities shall unreasonably restrict any unit owner’s right to peaceably assemble or right to invite public officers or candidates for public office to appear and speak in the common elements, common areas and recreational facilities.” If the board violates this law, you could sue the association to enforce your rights.

“Question: If the association sends information out to owners via e-mail, am I entitled to copies of the other owners’ e-mail addresses? Also, can I refuse to receive information via e-mail and, if I do, does the association have to send the information to me in the traditional way? – K.J., Palm City

“Answer: An association’s use of e-mail to communicate with homeowners is common, but very often the use of electronic transmission is not done in accordance with the law.

“First, and foremost, it is important to understand that while both the Florida Condominium Act (Chapter 718 Florida Statutes) and the Homeowners Association Act (Chapter 720 Florida Statutes) allow associations to send official communication to the owners via electronic transmission, it may only do so if the owner chooses to receive official communications electronically.

“Second, if some owners elect electronic transmission and some do not, the association must send official communication in two different forms. Thus, it becomes cumbersome to keep track of each owner’s preference.

Most associations use e-mail for “casual” communication about the goings on of the association but still use regular mail for things with legal implications such as notice of meetings, election ballots, notice of covenant violations, warning letters and the like. This, however, presents another problem when dealing with an official records request made by an owner.

“All e-mail addresses kept by the association are official records BUT only the e-mail addresses kept for those owners who have chosen e-mail as their official form of communication are available to other owners who make an official records request. All other e-mail addresses are not to be made available to owners who make official records requests. As such, if the association keeps e-mail addresses in the official records, it must segregate the e-mail addresses between those persons who have chosen e-mail as the official form of communication and those that have not.

“Finally, if the association does use e-mail for “un-official” casual communication with the owners, I believe an owner who does not have or use e-mail could complain that he or she is being treated differently and unfairly. Although I know of no condominium arbitration cases or other rulings on this issue, I suspect that a court or an arbitrator would rule in favor of the unit owner on this issue.

“The bottom line is that for all official communication and communication that has legal significance, the association should use the traditional U.S. mail. For lesser items, e-mail and posting on the association’s website is, for now, acceptable.

“Richard D. DeBoest II, Esq., is co-founder and shareholder of the Law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

“The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.

“Editor’s note: Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC., respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, litigation, estate planning and business law.

© 2018 Journal Media Group, Richard D. DeBoest”

Christmas Dining on The Islands

It’s getting pretty last minute, but visitors continue to ask what island restaurants are open on Christmas. Here’s a short list, but please call to be sure there is room for you if you don’t already have a reservation:

  • Bubble Room
  • Captiva House (in Wakefield Room) (buffet 11:30 a.m. to 8: p.m.)
  • Crow’s Nest at Tween Waters
  • Doc Ford’s Captiva (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
  • Island Cow (7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • Island Pizza ( 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
  • Keylime Bistro (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Normandie at West Wind Inn (8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. & 4:30 to 7 p.m.)
  • R C Otters (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • Sand Dollar at Sanibel Island Beach Resort (7 to 11 a.m. breakfast buffet, 5 to 9 p.m. dinner)
  • Sanibel Café (7 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Sanibel Grill (4 to 11 p.m.)
  • Sea Breeze Café at Sundial (7 to 11 a.m., buffet dinner seatings at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., & 7 p.m.
  • Thistle Lodge (holiday buffet 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Timbers (4 to 8 p.m.)
  • Traditions

For quick eats, the following also will be open on Christmas:

  • Dairy Queen
  • Gepetto’s (2 to 9 p.m.)
  • Huxter’s Market & Deli
  • Joey’s Custart (5 to 9 p.m.)
  • Pinocchio’s (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sanibel Sprout (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 14-21, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

10 new listings: Sundial #F206 1/1 $429K, Blind Pass #D205 2/2 $490K, Sundial #B407 1/1 $529K, Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 $719K, Loggerhead Cay #192 2/2 $799K, Shell Island Beach Club #7C 2/2 $825K, Surfside 12 #A3 3/2 $829K, Sundial #K103 2/2 $935K, Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $949K, Wedgewood #305 3/3.5 $1.695M.

2 price changes: Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 now $825K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 now $1.035M (our listing, view below).

Roof Deck View a

1 new sale: Sundial #H309 1/1 listed at $455K.

2 closed sales: Blind Pass #C102 2/2 $455K, Shell Island Beach Club #5D 2/2 $760K.

HOMES

11 new listings: 6447 Pine Ave 3/2.5 $625K, 945 S.Yachtsman Dr 2/2 $649K, 5256 Punta Caloosa Ct 3/2 $695K, 1217 Par View Dr 3/3 $779K, 702 Durion Ct 3/2 $849.9K, 9094 Mockingbird Ln 4/3.5 $945K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/2 $1.295M, 4166 Dingman Dr 4/4 $2.495M, 5145 Joewood Dr 5/4.5 $2.997M, 1238 Isabel Dr 4/4.5 $3.495M (our listing, views below), 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $6.395M.

SA 12-6-18 toward Pine IslandSA 12-6-18 toward causeway

 

11 price changes: 1304 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $552K, 659 Donax St 2/2 now $585K, 5260 Caloosa End Ln 3/2 now $647K, 721 Cardium St 3/2 now $795K, 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $879K, 205 Hurricane Ln 3/2 now $1.089M, 5842 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $1.149M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/4 now $1.25M, 243 Daniel Dr 4/3.5 now $1.394M, 532 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 now $1.575M, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.499M.

5 new sales: 568 Sea Oats Dr 3/2.5 listed at $749K, 1433 Sanderling Cir 3/3 listed at $1.089M, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 listed at $1.099M, 6412 Pine Ave listed at $1.175M, 4689 Rue Belle Mer 5/6.5 listed at $6.995M.

4 closed sales: 1190 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $558K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 $1.025M, 1150 Seagrape Ln 3/2 $1.22M, 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1.5M.

LOTS

3 new listings: 2319 Wulfert Rd $199K, 3013 Poinciana Cir $249K, 1219 Par View Dr $374.9K.

2 price changes: 2307 Wulfert Rd now $199K, 5170 Sea Bell Rd now $324.9K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Captiva Shores #8B 3/2.5 now $1.398M.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 11555 Wightman Ln 3/2 $3.849M, 16405 Captiva Dr 8/7/2 $6.2M.

3 price changes: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $1.028, 16825 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 now $2.695M, 1124 Longifolia Ct 4/5 now $3.9M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

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.

Merry Christmas from Sanibel Islands!

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

P.S. I sold a house once on Christmas Day & would love it do it again, just please make it after brunch. I’ve got the family coming for that! Enjoy your holiday!

Christmas Lighthouse cropped

Sanibel lighthouse 2018

Counting Down to Christmas Island-Style


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that it has been another fun week on sunny, though at times chilly, Sanibel and Captiva Islands. This is the time of the year when it’s always fun to see what folks are wearing. When the temperatures dip down into the 50’s and 60’s at night, locals are happy the next morning to dig out their rarely-used jackets, sweaters, shawls, scarves, and boots, while vacationing visitors in tank tops, shorts, and flip flops also are smiling broadly. It’s easy to pick out the tourists! This afternoon, it’s a breezy 77 degrees!

Luminary 2018 bannerThe many palm trees festooned with twinkling lights add to the holiday happiness too. This year, the City expanded their tunnel of lights along the bike path across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. Adding a bench seat and 2018 Luminary sign has made it a popular photo op spot. It’s really festive and quite striking to stroll through after dark.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Yesterday, was the local Association of Realtors® monthly membership breakfast – a little earlier than usual thanks to the holidays. Our Association’s Administrative Assistant, Megan Rose, posted some outstanding sunset pix this week. She said I could borrow some to post here. (I hope you enjoy them too. Thanks, Megan.)

Causeway sunset dec 2018 2causeway sunset dec 2018

What’s Happening At CROW

crow-logoThe speaker was Dr. Heather W. Barron, DVM, Medical & Research Director at CROW (The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). CROW is a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine. Each year, CROW cares for thousands of wildlife patients including hundreds of species of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in its veterinary hospital, which is one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation facilities for native and migratory wildlife. They also offer educational fellowships and externship programs for undergraduate students, and internship programs for veterinarian graduates.

As you can probably imagine, this has been an unusually busy year for CROW. We are so lucky to have them here, educating us and visitors, as well as taking care of wildlife and supporting conservation and research. Here is one thing that Dr. Heather mentioned that really stuck in my mind. We all need to do our part, because “there is no Planet “B”.”

Bear in mind that CROW has been around since the late 60’s and Dr. Heather is a no-nonsense mother of three who has worked practicing and teaching wildlife medicine for over 20 years. She is a board-certified avian specialist and a licensed wildlife and sea turtle rehabilitator, and she tells it like it is. Some other tidbits:

Animal population around the world, the U.S. and Florida is changing. “Pythons have been documented as close as Estero.” Research also shows that there probably are somewhere between “35 and 60 coyotes on the island.” They don’t always stay here, but probably swim back and forth from the mainland and Pine Island.

Iguana population also is up here, as is that of the marsh bunnies. Most of us like the cute little bunnies, but Dr. Heather said that probably means that next year the population of hawks and other animals that prey on rabbits will be up.

She also said, “Personally, I wouldn’t eat any local seafood.” Though Sanibel is one of the most pro-environment conservation-conscious communities in the country – being downstream of areas that are not, really hurts us. The long-lasting effects of red tide and blue-green algae are just now being evaluated. We cannot depend on local, state, or federal governments or health departments to advise us of what they don’t know. We all need to be part of the solutions!

Caravan

Following the speaker, in typical December fashion, the Caravan property announcements included plenty of new listings and some price reductions. The details on those (or the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service this week) follow a couple of news items below. I probably don’t need to share that we all groaned when not a single new sale was announced. We know it’s the holidays, but it’s always positive news when we hear of colleagues’ successes.

Our new listing at 1050 White Ibis Dr (photos below) was one of the 15 properties that was open for viewing after the Caravan meeting. My teammates took inventory while there then. We want to be ready when the right buyer comes along.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Thank goodness, we are a flexible team. With seven BIG ARTS Chorus singing gigs since last Friday, it has been a whirlwind week for me. Part of the fun of this business is not knowing what will happen next, regardless of whether it’s from a phone call or a walk-in.

Short Term Rentals

henderson-franklinWith so much in the news lately about Airbnb rentals, it was interesting to learn that at a recent Sanibel City Council meeting three issues were added to the Department of Community Services’ planning goals. Those issues are: transportation, political signage, and short-term vacations rentals.

Then I saw the below article posted online this week by Kaylee Tuck of Henderson Franklin Attorneys. Betcha the same applies to Sanibel’s 28-day rental minimum for residential communities.

“Limited Vacancy: Florida Appeals Court Rules in Favor of the City of Miami’s Airbnb Rental Ban

“Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal handed down a win for local governments on Wednesday when the Court reversed a previous Circuit Court injunction that barred the City of Miami from enforcing a ban on short-term rentals in residential areas of the City.

“Background – In 2017, the City of Miami adopted a resolution that affirmed the City’s zoning regulations “as they pertain to short-term/vacation rentals,” and stated that neighborhoods zoned as T3 were limited to permanent residential use, which precluded rental accommodations per night, week, or anything less than one month.

“Notably, the T3 zone encompassed most of the City’s single-family houses and duplexes. When residents who had been using Airbnb to rent their properties spoke against the resolution, residents were directed to state their name and address for the record, and the City Manager made the comment that the City was “now on notice” of those who spoke against the City’s code and that he would direct his staff to enforce the City code.

“Airbnb took the issue to the Circuit Court, claiming that the 2017 resolution was preempted by a 2011 state law that prevents cities and counties from passing ordinances prohibiting or unduly regulating vacation rentals.

“Airbnb and individual residents also filed for an injunction to stop the City from enforcing the resolution against the residents who spoke out against it at the City Commission meeting.

“After hearing arguments, the Circuit Court issued a temporary injunction against the City which stopped the City from enforcing its vacation rental ban, as well as prevented the City from requiring residents to give their name and address if they wished to speak during the public comment portion of a City Commission meetings, stating that the requirement had a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

Holding – Fast forward to December 5, 2018, and the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the Circuit Court’s orders.

“In reversing the Circuit Court, the 3rd DCA stated that the injunction halting the City’s vacation rental ban was overbroad and not preempted by state law because, although Miami’s land use code was updated in 2016 and the resolution passed in 2017, the material provisions of the code were adopted in 2009 and, therefore, were not preempted by the 2011 state statute. Simply stated, this decision means the City of Miami may now enforce its zoning regulations on short term vacation rentals.

“The 3rd DCA also reversed the injunction that stopped the City from requiring speakers at public hearings to give their names and addresses. The 3rd DCA stated that preventing the City from requiring speakers to give their name and address at any public hearing was overbroad, and that the City has a legitimate interest in knowing the speaker’s name and address for various purposes, such as whether the speaker is actually a resident of the City.

Take-Away – Airbnb and short-term vacation rentals have been long contested by hotels, neighbors, city officials, and many others. This ruling may be the first in a long line of litigation stemming from municipal and county enforcement against such short-term rentals. Therefore, residents and homeowners are encouraged to know the laws of their jurisdiction before renting out their home through Airbnb in order to avoid fines, citations, or any other remedy a city or county has authority to pursue under local law. If you have any questions regarding short term vacation rentals, please feel free to contact me at kaylee.tuck@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1164.”                 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 7-14, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $649K, Loggerhead Cay #282 2/2 $695K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 $699K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $775K, Shorewood #3C 3/2 $1.449M.

2 price changes: Tennisplace #C32 2/1.5 now $310K, Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 now $329K.

2 new sales: Sundial #J401 1/1 listed at $589,985, Shell Island Beach Club #5D 2/2 listed at $799K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

11 new listings: 651 Donax St 4/2 duplex $539K; 9431 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $597K; 9444 Cotten Ct 3/2.5 $725K; 3350 Barra Cir 3/2 $729,927; 9307 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $749K; 743 Windlass Way 3/2 $765K; 1223 Par View Dr 3/2 $839K; 1050 White Ibis Dr 4/3.5 $899K (our listing); 446 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $1.059M; 1230 Ferry Rd 3/4 $1.095M; 927 Strangler Fig Ln 3/3.5 $1.215M.

4 price changes: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 now $548K, 1325 Par View Dr 3/3 now $665K, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $874.9K, 478 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $1.05M.

2 new sales: 4436 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 listed at $729K, 1838 Buckthorn Ln 3/2 listed at $1.295M.

4 closed sales: 746 Nerita St 3/2 $717K, 718 Oliva St 3/2 $725K, 544 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 $1.15M, 794 Conch Ct 3/2.5 $1.255M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 9056 Mockingbird Ln $399K.

1 price change: 1817 Long Point Ln now $323K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Homes #11 4/3 $2.995M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Cottages #1408 2/2 $1.16M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1114 Schefflera 4/3.5 $2.65M.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 now $3.395M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.4M.

LOTS

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, enjoy your holiday festivities wherever you are.

How about this shell tree?

shell tree 2018

Or my favorite mailboxes which are always decorated for the holidays, across the street from each other – the dolphin & the manatee!

dolphin 2018Manatee 2018

Gotta love Sanibel at Christmas! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s Time for Island Luminary 2018


Lighthouse with christmas bowsSusanSusan here reporting another sunny week on Sanibel, though another little taste of winter arrived on Wednesday night when the temperatures dipped down into the 50’s. That gave everyone a chance to dig out their jackets Thursday morning, but it is back into the high 70’s today. Not exactly Luminary weather, but we’ll take it. The local Santa probably will be wearing shorts tonight.

A repeat of the weekend and upcoming holiday events is posted below, followed by some news items, and the action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Teammates Dave and Elise are holding down the fort this afternoon at the office while SanibelSusan is involved in three singing gigs today/tonight and another on Sunday night, followed by the BIG ARTS Chorus holiday concert next week. Island Christmas events are always early since many owners and snowbirds head north to spend holidays with family.

There were no sales announced at the Thursday morning Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday, though you will notice that a couple of sales posted in the MLS report below. The only Sanibel condo sale was by teammate Dave. He handles our off-island listings and sometimes hears from former island owners who miss Sanibel and want to come back. This was one of those and we certainly can understand folks wanting to be here, particularly this time of the year when island weather is so grand!

Weekend Holiday Events & Upcoming Concerts

  • Christmas flamingos34th Annual Sanibel Luminary, today, Dec 7, begins with “A Sanibel 70’s Christmas” at the Historical Village from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Then from 5:30 to 9 p.m. from one end of Periwinkle Way to the other, churches, shopping centers, and businesses will be open for holiday shopping, music, and good cheer.
  • 34th Annual Captiva Luminary, Saturday, Dec 8, similar to Sanibel’s event. The business and shopping areas of Captiva will be lined with lights and open for holiday fun, refreshments, and shopping.
  • Tween waters at christmas 20166th Annual Captiva Holiday Stroll, at South Seas Island Resort, on both Friday and Saturday evenings from Dec 7 through 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. where there will be holiday treats; skating; live music; arts and crafts; entertainment including face painting, stilt walking, juggling and balloon artists; holiday movies; photos with Santa; and food and beverages. Tickets are $10 (for non-resort guests), children under 12 are free. Proceeds to benefit Captains for Clean Water.
  • Captiva Chapel By The Sea CarolsCaptiva Christmas Carol Sing, at Chapel-By-The-Sea, Sunday, Dec 9 at 6 p.m. Seating both inside and on the sand under the holiday lights.
  • BIG ARTS Holiday Concerts, Band concert is Saturday, Dec 8. Chorus concert is Wednesday, Dec 12. (I am front row alto section, if you attend. It’s my 25th year singing with this group which began the year I moved to Sanibel.) Both are at Schein Performance Hall beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 (children free) at www.bigarts.org.

Sanibel Library Earns National Star Award

sanibel-library-logoFor the 5th time, Sanibel Public Library has been recognized as one of the best libraries in the U.S.A. The “star” awards by “Library Journal” are based on a library’s performance measuring such statistics as library visits, program attendance, circulation, and computer usage. This year, more than seven thousand libraries were scored with just 257 receiving stars. Sanibel Library was the first in Florida to offer laptops for use in the library. With online language learning tools, downloadable magazines and songs, streaming video services, loanable cooking kits, and advanced referencing, stop in to see the first phase of the “Your Library Reimagined” program which is almost complete. It has been in the planning since 2015, has a budget of $5.9M which is being covered by library reserves, grants, and gifts.

SCCF Earns Stars Too

sccfSanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, which is America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the 3rd time that SCCF has earned this distinction. Based on strong financial health and transparency, the foundation is one of only four conservation nonprofits in Florida to earn this rating.

Flood Insurance Extended to December 21

NationalFloodInsuranceProgrAs posted at Florida Realtors® on-line yesterday, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) no longer expires tonight at midnight, but Congress extended the program for only two weeks – until December 21, 2018, at midnight. As the article describes, “a number of high-profile issues now come to a head only a few days before the Christmas holiday.

“Congress also postponed a decision on government funding until December 21, and President Trump has threatened a government shutdown if Congress doesn’t include money in that funding to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. If lawmakers have trouble finding common ground on the higher-profile funding issue, it’s unclear what might happen to NFIP.

“However, a bipartisan group of senators from states that rely on flood insurance also filed a bill Wednesday for a 10-month NFIP extension. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced a bill, S. 3703, to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for 10 months – through Sept. 30, 2019.

“Should Congress pass the bill after flood insurance expires on Dec. 21, the S. 3703 includes a provision that would make flood coverage retroactive in the event of a program lapse. However, it’s not yet clear whether the bill will pass in favor of more shorter-term extensions.

“”While I am frustrated with the continued need for extensions, it has become clear that we need additional time to come to a consensus on bipartisan and bicameral reforms to the NFIP,” Rubio says. “Floridians who rely on this program cannot afford this uncertainty when we enter the 2019 hurricane season. I urge my colleagues to pass this important extension as soon as possible.”

“”More than five million Americans depend on the National Flood Insurance Program,” Kennedy says. “For those of us who live along the Gulf Coast, the NFIP means we don’t have to worry every time it rains.”

“”It’s critical that we prevent a lapse that would disrupt the real estate market and leave thousands of families uninsured and vulnerable,” adds Menendez. “This (10-month) extension will give Congress time to pass a long-term reauthorization with real, meaningful reforms in line with my SAFE NFIP Act, which is the most bipartisan flood insurance bill in the Senate.””

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

REALTOR-Magazine_Logo_The below article came from a November on-line article from REALTOR® Magazine. The SanibelSusan Team strives to have good communications. It sure can be key in keeping unforeseen obstacles away. That communication is a 2-way street. Here’s what Sam Silverstein said in the article:

“Sellers who won’t budge on the price they want for their homes. Buyers who can’t decide what they’re looking for in a property. Other real estate professionals involved in a transaction who just won’t cooperate. You can raise your chances of avoiding these common problems by setting the proper expectations before you invest any time in working with someone, Greg Glosson, ABR, CRS, managing broker at Fast Track Realty in Memphis, Tenn., said Sunday at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston.

“Broker Greg Glosson told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo that building trust at the beginning of any business relationship is key to avoiding setbacks in a transaction. The key is to build trust with clients and colleagues at the start of a working relationship, which will give you the credibility and authority to stay on top of the deals you manage, Glosson said. By laying out how you do business in advance, you’ll be in a better position to keep things moving as a transaction proceeds. Don’t be afraid to be upfront with people and let them know how you operate. “Say, ‘I’m going to be available for you, and I’d like you to be available for me,’” Glosson said.

“When you have an initial consultation with a prospective buyer, emphasize that they need to know what they are looking for in a home, so they are prepared to decide quickly if they want to make an offer on a property you show them, Glosson said. In addition, make it clear that you won’t invest time in working with them unless they are preapproved for a mortgage or are planning to pay cash.

“Also, be sure that spouses or other co-buyers are in agreement about their goals and that no one has unrealistic expectations that could cause them to balk when time is of the essence, he said. “If you sleep on it, you won’t sleep in it.” Keep in mind that you may have to help people understand that what they’ve heard about the homebuying process may not be realistic, he added.

“It’s also important to be clear with sellers about what they need to do before you agree to list their property, and look for signs that they aren’t prepared to cooperate, Glosson said. This will help you avoid clients who won’t declutter their homes, insist on being there during showings, refuse to follow your advice on counteroffers, or otherwise impede your ability to find a buyer for their property, he said. “Some listings are not worth it. … It all goes back to the seller consultation process.”

“You should also establish ground rules when a deal goes under contract, and you have to work with the agent on the other side of the transaction, Glosson said. Make sure you agree upfront about how you will communicate, understand how the other agent interacts with their client, and ask about potential obstacles that could come up later.

“Unlike potential clients who pose red flags, however, you may not be able to avoid other real estate professionals you’d rather not work with on a transaction. For these situations, Glosson has a simple piece of advice: “Sometimes, you just have to get it done.””

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Nov 30-Dec 7, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Spanish Cay #B4 2/2 $399K; Sundial #H210 1/1 $405K; Sundial #I104 1/1 $469K; Sundial #J401 1/1 $589,985; Shell Island Beach Club #5D 2/2 $799K; Kings Crown #311 3/2 $999K; Gulfside Place #305 2/2 $1.295M.

1 price change: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 now $264K.

1 new sale: Compass Point #232 2/2 listed at $659K (our buyer) (community aerial below).Compass Pointe 2

3 closed sales: Sandy Bend #4 2/2 $710K, Sunset South #5D 2/2 $1.1415M, Tamarind #B202 2/2.5 $1.69M.

HOMES

9 new listings: 1284 Par View Dr 2/2 $679K, 1978 Roseate Ln 749K, 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $874.9K, 225 Violet Dr 3/3 $965K, 4345 Gulf Pines Dr 4/4 $1.05M, 931 Snowberry Ln 4/4 $1.35M, 1152 Buttonwood Ln 3/2.5 $1.65M, 2282 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.795M, 925 Whelk Dr 3/3.5 $2.375M.

8 price changes: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 now $549K, 1851 Farm Trl 3/2 now $599K, 1327 Tahiti Dr 2/2 now $619K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $789K, 824 Birdie View Pt 3/3 now $995K, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $1.029M, 1305 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.094M, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr #2C (Moonshadows) 3/3 half-duplex now $1.595M (our listing) (beachfront home location shown below).

Image 8 c.jpg

2 new sales: 4290 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 listed at $595K, 8991 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed at $875K.

3 closed sales: 3837 Coquina Dr 2/2 $621K, 617 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $750K, 1350 Middle Gulf Dr #2F (Moonshadows) 3/3 half-duplex $820K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2279 Wulfert Rd $324K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 595 Piedmont Rd listed at $209.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 $658K, Marina Villas #703 2/2 $759K, Lands End Village #1659 2/2 $995K.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #103 2/2/2 now $899K.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 listed at $399K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16596 Captiva Dr 5/5/2 now $6.99M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

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, may your holiday fun continue too! shell christmas trees

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

“Goodbye, November” on Sanibel Isle


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that “it’s official – Sanibel/Captiva weather finally flipped for a couple of days this week from summer-like to chilly.” Yesterday was our local Association of Realtors Monthly Membership meeting (followed by Caravan) at The Sanctuary Golf Community Clubhouse. Those meetings begin at 8 a.m. when it was down into the mid-50’s when I left my home (dressed in my winter flip flops and only jacket). It sure felt good.i-wear-flip-flops-in-winter

Temperatures only made it up to 68 degrees later in the day before dipping down again last night, though not as low. The forecast for the next few days has temperatures back up into the high 70’s, with nights in the low 70’s. The next cool front is expected to arrive next Wednesday. We have our fingers crossed that it will be cool that weekend as island holiday events kick-off.\

Below are some real estate news and more info about those events, followed by the action with our listings and the Sanibel-Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday. Just two Sanibel homes and one Captiva condo were sold during this time.

First, here’s the inquisitive white heron that was just checking out the recently-installed Christmas lights next to where I park my car at the office.

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Upcoming Island Events

  • 34th Annual Sanibel Luminary, Friday, Dec 7, begins with “A Sanibel 70’s Christmas” at the Historical Village from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (I’ll be singing carols with the Sanibel Community Chorus at 4 p.m. as we stroll through the Village.) Then from 5:30 to 9 p.m. from one end of Periwinkle Way to the other, churches, shopping centers, and businesses will be open for holiday shopping, music, and good cheer. (At the Olde Sanibel Shoppes, Sanibel’s Island Brass will perform holiday favorites, while the Sanibel Community Church will feature their annual dramatic “Walk Through Bethlehem”. From the unveiling of the renovated Chamber of Commerce building to the Sea School, and Jerry’s, Bailey’s, Periwinkle Place and more, there always are so many things happening at once on Luminary night that it’s impossible to visit them all – not to mention the spectacular twinkling lights and holiday décor.
  • 34th Annual Captiva Luminary, Saturday, Dec 8, similar to Sanibel’s event. The business and shopping areas of Captiva will be lined with lights and open for holiday fun, refreshments, and shopping.
  • 6th Annual Captiva Holiday Stroll, at South Seas Island Resort, on both Friday and Saturday evenings from Dec 7 through 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. where there will be holiday treats; skating; live music; arts and crafts; entertainment including face painting, stilt walking, juggling and balloon artists; holiday movies; photos with Santa; and food and beverages. Tickets are $10 (for non-resort guests), children under 12 are free. Proceeds to benefit Captains for Clean Water.
  • Captiva Christmas Carol Sing, at Chapel-By-The-Sea, Sunday, Dec 9 at 6 p.m. Seating both inside and on the sand under the holiday lights.
  • 2018 Holiday Chorus PosterBIG ARTS Holiday Concerts, Band concert is Saturday, Dec 8. Chorus concert is Wednesday, Dec 12. Both are at Schein Performance Hall beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 (children free) at www.bigarts.org.

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoHere are some highlights from the speakers at our membership meeting yesterday:

kemp turtleKelly Sloan, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Sea Turtle Coordinator/Biologist reported on how water quality this year has affected the turtle population. As of Nov 9, Southwest Florida from Collier to Pinellas Counties have documented 1,205 turtle strandings, most of these animals (1,051) were found dead. The previous average was 477, making the current number 2.5 times greater than the norm. Lee County had 293 strandings, the county previous 5-year average was 94. This year was the largest number of stranded turtles attributed to a single red tide event.

Sanibel Vice Mayor Mick Denham provided an update on what The City of Sanibel is doing regarding improving water quality. Guided by the City’s Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, Sanibel has:Sanibelcityseal logo

  • Environmentally Sensitive Lands Conservation Program
  • Established a fertilizer ordinance
  • Golf Course Report Card Program
  • Native plant protection and sod limitations
  • Converted most of the island from septic to central sewer
  • Reduction of impervious surfaces for single-family homes
  • Implemented of NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems) to reduce stormwater runoff
  • Beach and dune protection
  • Mangrove protection through state regulation
  • Constructing a water quality treatment park
  • Upgrading the Donax Wastewater Reclamation Facility

Sanibel’s fertilizer ordinance was the first in the state. It requires that fertilizer nitrogen content must be 20% or less and at least 50% must be a slow release form. Phosphorus content must be 2% or less and no fertilizer can be used within 25’ of a body of water. Additionally, the fertilizer blackout period is during the rainy season (July through September).

The City recently sent letters to all 460-some mayors of every city in Florida asking them to similarly do their part to help improve water quality. Sanibel efforts to-date cost $120M. A new $20M project is in the works that will remove nitrogen out of reclaimed water.

Together we can all make a difference. Please pass the word that water quality affects real estate values. As water gets cleaner, property prices rise. We all need to do our part and stay involved.

The Makings of a Buyer’s Market

REALTOR-Magazine_Logo_From “REALTOR®” magazine, November-December 2018 issue:

“Buyers are pulling back. Home prices have been rising too much relative to income for many would be buyers to keep pace. Since 2011, the U.S. median home prices have risen 55% while wages are up only 18%. Now, the Federal Reserve has become more aggressive against inflation; with several short-term interest rate increases over the past year and more likely on the horizon, mortgage rates are trending up. A monthly mortgage payment on a typical home today is $1,136 up from $639 in 2011. And confidence is down. Only 38% of consumers today strongly believe it’s a good time to buy, down from 43% last year, and the numbers are lower for renters who don’t have equity to tap for a down payment.

“It’s not all bad news, though. The reason for the Fed’s rate hikes is that the economy is roaring. Jobs openings are at a record high, and the number of people applying for unemployment checks is at historic lows. As long as the economy stays strong, home sales could head up – even as rates continue to rise.

“Mortgage rate increases don’t automatically push home sales down. In 1984, 1994, and 1999, interest rates rose about 2-percentage points in each year while home sales either stayed flat or continued up. An exception was 2008, when higher rates caused a large number of subprime loans to go sour and home sales dropped. Fortunately, subprime mortgages are gone and nearly all are locked in safely at fixed rates.

“With buyers stepping back a bit, inventory is no longer falling. New home construction is increasing and more homeowners are considering listing. A recent survey NAR conducted shows 50% of consumers strongly indicate it is a good time to sell, compared to only 28% just two years ago. Most home sellers will also be buyers. With inventory expected to grow, prices will stop rising so fast. That’s a healthy adjustment. Buyers can soon resume their search for the American dream.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Nov 23-30, 2018

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial #J101 1/1 $499K, Loggerhead Cay #133 2/2 $949K, Sanibel Arms West #F8 2/2 $969K, Sanibel Moorings #522 3/2 $1.295M, By-The-Sea #C102 3/2 $1.624.9M, Somerset #B202 3/2.5 $2.1M.

3 price changes:  Pointe Santo #B2 2/2 now $729K, Signal Inn #19 3/2 now $1.095M, White Pelican #133 3/3 now $1.85M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Blind Pass #G201 2/2 $468K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 221 Robinwood Cir 3/2 $679K, 5260 Caloosa End Ln 3/2 $697K, 9052 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 $749K, 4339 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 $795K, 698 Birdie View Pt 3/2 $839K, 335 Cowry Ct 3/3.5 $1.199M.

11 price changes: 9248 Kincaid Ct 2/1 now $399K, 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $439.5K, 1325 Par View Dr 3/3 now $667.5K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $850K, 1225 Seagrape Ln 3/3 now $875K, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $950K, 920 Snowberry Ln 3/3.5 now $1.175M, 2640 Coconut Dr 2/2 now $1.375M, 2414 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.597M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.749M, 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/6/3 now $3.399.9M.

2 new sales: 1150 Seagrape Ln 3/2 listed at $1.279M, 4771 Tradewinds Dr 3/3 listed at $1,795,555.

2 closed sales: 1035 S Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 $850K, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 $2.2M (our buyer).

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: 1820 Ardsley Way now $166.5K, 978 Main St now $194.9K, 2987 Wulfert Rd now $295K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3137 2/2 $445K, Beach Villas #2636 2/2 $759K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #13 4/4.5 listed at $3.949M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

4 price changes: 55 Sandpiper Ct 3/2 now $969K, 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex now $2.495M, 16801 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 now $2.595M, 15819 Captiva Dr 5/4 now $10.9M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11534 Laika Ln 4/3.5 $1.61M.

LOTS

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.

thankfull-for-flip-flopsUntil next Friday, when it’s December!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan