Island-Style Valentine Sights


Manatee mailboxDolphin mailboxboth mailboxesIt’s SanibelSusan, reporting another fine Friday here. This one, wrapping up a week of fantastic Florida winter weather. After expecting temperatures to be in only the low 70’s, locals and visitors have been “out and about” happily enjoying sunny days, with temperatures almost setting records – into the low 80’s.valentine

Early this afternoon, my car registered 82 degrees as I drove down Periwinkle Way. On my return, because of the traffic, I elected to go “the back way” and saw a sight that made me smile. Near one of the bends just off East Gulf Drive are two mailboxes across the street from each other with those big concrete-looking bases – one is a manatee and the other a dolphin. Here they are in their adorable Valentine’s garb. These island neighbors sure have the holiday spirit.

With Southwest Florida so nice and the news reporting ice, snow, sub-zero temperatures, and pile-ups in the northern states, I have been hit up several times this week with folks looking for help in finding last minute island accommodations. (Some are even having trouble looking for February and March next winter!) Very little is available for long-term stays, so we are trying hard to convince some of those folks to buy. We’ve got some listings with excellent income that could help pay the way when you aren’t using the property yourself.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a couple of news items below.

NFIP Extended For Six Weeks – to March 23

Posted today by “Florida Realtors®” on line:NationalFloodInsuranceProgr

“As part of the just-passed continuing resolution to keep the government open, the National Flood Insurance Program now won’t expire until March 23, 2018.

“While the legislation only extends government operations for six weeks – including NFIP – Congress agreed to some long-term changes, including $90 billion in assistance for post-hurricane cleanup in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

“While the national flood insurance program isn’t a direct part of federal funding, its future has been tied to it recently because the flood insurance extension has been voted on alongside the larger spending packages.

“For at least the next six weeks, however, homebuyers and sellers in flood zones can stop worrying about the loss of flood insurance derailing their transaction.”

What’s Happening at Island Inn

island inn matthews suitesIf you’ve recently driven down West Gulf Drive, you may have noticed the construction at Island Inn. The historic Island Inn, the oldest hotel on Sanibel (established in 1895) began their latest multi-million-dollar investment last year when construction began to replace the Matthews Lodge, a 12-unit concrete-block building built in 1961. This week, they announced the opening of the new Matthews Lodge Luxury Suites (their photo above) which are 12 new 600 sq. ft. accommodations. Benchmark General Contractors was the builder. For more info on the Island Inn, Traditions on the Beach, or the new gulf-view luxury suites, visit

Upcoming Events

  • 16th Sanibel-Captiva Art League “Clothesline Sale”, Sunday, Feb 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Community House, with ~30 artists participating. Some of these artists also feature their work at monthly events just outside Bailey’s General Store. Called “Art on the Veranda”, they will be there tomorrow, Feb 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Livingston Taylor – at South Seas Resort, Sunday, Feb 18 from 8 to 10 p.m. Doors open at 7. Tickets at
  • 25th Annual Children’s Education Center of the Islands “Spring Festival” – Thinking ahead, if you have children or grands coming to town for Easter you might want to put this event on your calendar: Saturday, Mar 31 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Sanibel Community Park (next to The Community House).

How Fast Can Home Prices Rise?

In last week’s update from the recent economic analysis presentation at Florida Realtors’® Governance Meetings, it recounted how Lee county is one of the few areas in the state where the supply of residential real estate is greater than demand. An article posted yesterday on further describes what is happening to home prices throughout the rest of the U.S., with some cities breaking price records.

attom data solutions logoStrong demand and low inventories fueled home prices to record highs in 2017. The median home price in the U.S. reached $235,000, up 8.3% from 2016, according to real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions.

“Still, annual price appreciation showed signs of slowing; in 2016, the national median home price jumped 8.5% year over year, according to ATTOM’s latest housing report.

“Sixty-four of 112 metros (57%) set a new record for metro-level home prices in 2017, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Among 112 metros, each with populations of 200,000 or more, the cities with the biggest year-over-year price increases were Ocala, Fla. (up 14.3%); Kansas City, Mo. (13.4%); San Jose, Calif. (13.3%); Salem, Ore. (12.9%); and Nashville, Tenn. (12.5%).

“Among major metro areas with populations of at least 1 million, the cities that posted double-digit gains included Las Vegas (up 12.3%); Salt Lake City (10.9%); Seattle (10.8%); Orlando, Fla. (10.7%); Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (10.7%); Portland, Ore. (10.5%); and Jacksonville, Fla. (10.1%).

“Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach also ranked in the 1-million-plus category, with the area’s 2017 price rise at 8.9%.”

© Copyright 2018 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Webcam Back Up At “Ding” Darling

Paul collins roseate 04-13-14

As reported in the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter dated February 8, 2018.

“Our live Refuge Webcam, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma, is back up and running better than ever. The solar-powered camera broadcasts live scenes from the Wildlife Drive observation tower during daylight hours. So, now when you need your Refuge “fix,” just head to our home page and click on the live cam. It’s the next best thing to being here in person.”

Right to Inspect: The Devil is in the Details

Florida Realtors logoThough written to help Realtors®, the below article posted on Florida Realtors® this week by their COO and General Counsel (& fellow New Englander), Margy Grant, has good info for buyers and sellers too.

“Feb. 5, 2018 – One of the most common clauses buyers utilize when submitting an offer to purchase real estate is the “right to inspect.” Based on the number of calls to the Florida Realtors Legal Hotline, this also is one of the most misunderstood clauses – and one that could have serious consequences for buyers and sellers if it is not interpreted and enforced correctly.

“In the “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase approved by Florida Realtors® and The Florida Bar – the purchase contract most commonly used by members – the right to inspect clause contains the language “in the Buyer’s sole discretion.” This phrase is intended to mean that a buyer may cancel the purchase contract at any time during the inspection period for any reason. Occasionally, Realtors confuse this language. They interpret it to mean a buyer is required to discover a defect in the property or structure and only then is entitled to cancel. This is incorrect.

“A buyer may terminate the contract by delivering written notice to the seller for any reason, even something as minor as the color of paint in a bedroom. However, to be binding, the notification has to be made prior to the expiration of the inspection period.

“Another issue that is often misunderstood is the process for renegotiating a contract before enacting the right to terminate.

“Let’s say you are representing buyers who have signed a contract to purchase a home. An inspection has revealed the roof is aged and leaking in one section. Your buyers still want to buy the house; however, they want the seller to either fix the roof or reduce the purchase price to reflect the repair amount. Otherwise, they will have to cancel.

“Simply contacting the listing broker to communicate the problem does not constitute a cancellation under this section of the contract. If a buyer wishes to renegotiate then you, as the buyer’s Realtor, need to provide specific information to the listing broker. Explain exactly what the buyers want and explicitly say that if the seller refuses, then the buyers intend to cancel under the inspection clause of the contract.

If you fail to accurately explain what the buyers want as a remedy, and the seller does not respond before the time to inspect the property lapses, your buyers may be in jeopardy of losing their deposit.

“How do you as a Realtor protect yourself from situations like this? Simple: Communicate and watch the calendar. In writing, explicitly explain to the listing broker what your buyers want from the seller. At the same time, make sure your buyers do not miss the deadline to cancel the agreement if the parties cannot agree on repairs or a reduction in purchase price. Remember: The “As Is” form contract is calculated on calendar days, not business days.

“Real estate contracts vary in terms of when a buyer or seller can amend or cancel. You should carefully review each contract’s right to inspect clause. In the event there is confusion about which day is the final date to cancel, you should contact the other side and make sure everyone is in agreement. But when in doubt, err on the side of the earlier date to protect yourself and your buyer.

“In most transactions, a buyer wants to buy and a seller wants to sell, so approach all negotiations positively and work toward a sale. But, at the same time, take precautions to make sure you do not inadvertently put the buyer’s deposit at risk.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity February 2-9, 2018sancap GO MLS logo



1 new listing: Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 $429K.

4 price changes: Mariner Pointe #1061 2/2 now $574.9K (our listing), Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 now $630K, High Tide #C101 2/2 now $899K, Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 now $1.69M.

5 new sales: Tennisplace #E33 2/1 listed at $320K, Sundial West #F308 1/1 listed at $439K, Loggerhead Cay #402 2/2 listed at $580K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 listed at $850K, By-The-Sea #B202 2/2 listed at $1.249M.

No closed sales.


6 new listings: 962 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $639K, 9225 Belding Dr 3/2 $650K, 753 Cardium St 3/2 $679K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $689K, 1582 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $699K, 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/6/2 $1.995M.

15 price changes: 813 Rabbit Rd 2/2 now $439K, 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $460K, 6143 Henderson Rd 4/3 now $468.5K, 3043 Poinciana Cir 4/2 now $549K, 5280 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 now $675K, 1342 Junonia St 3/3 now $679K, 1450 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $769K, 1245 Anhinga Ln 3/2 now $829K, 9028 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 now $879K, 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $899K, 940 Spoonbill Ct 3/2.5 now $1.095M, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 now $1.174M, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 now $1.195M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/6.5 now $1.994M, 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $3.1M.

5 new sales: 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 listed at $545K, 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 listed at $787K, 3010 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $799K, 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 listed at $1.349M, 747 Windlass Way 4/3.5 listed at $2.295M.

4 closed sales: 915 Palm St 3/2 $445K, 1807 Buckthorn Ln 3/2.5 $615K, 1314 Par View Dr 3/2 $750K, 1255 Isabel Dr 3/3 $1.615M.


1 new listing: 976 Whelk Dr $699K.

3 price changes: 4566 Buck Key Rd now $159K, 1550 Centre St now $205K, 1800 Woodring Rd now $2.695M.

2 new sales: 2626 Coconut Dr listed at $379K, 4767 Tradewinds Dr listed at $1.75M.

No closed sales.



2 new listings: Beach Villas #2625 2/2 $645K, Lands End Village #1608 3/3 $2.595M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1657 2/2 $1.06M.


1 new listing: 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $10M.

1 price change: 11531 Paige Ct 4/3.5 now $3.45M.

1 new sale: 11521 Andy Rosse Ln 7/8 listed at $2.799M.

No closed sales.


Nothing to report.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

valentineHere’s hoping that you and your Valentines have a great week!

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Merry Christmas from Sanibel

It’s been a beautiful weather week, some fog in the early mornings, but with sunny skies every day. The Christmas Eve & Christmas Day forecasts look just as nice & sunny.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoAs a reminder, there was no Realtor® Caravan this week, but the every-Thursday-morning schedule begins again on Dec 28 with a West Caravan.

ding darling goose logoFree Refuge Programs and Tours Begin In January 

This year, JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge adds a new Horseshoe Crab program to its calendar of daily free tours and activities. The seasonal calendar of free programs and tours begins on Tuesday, January 2 and runs through April 8. Daily programs begin at 8:30 a.m. and include programs such as Nature Photography, Beach Walk, Birds of Prey, and Indigo Trail Walk. They have something for visitors of all ages and the programs/tours last anywhere from a half hour to two hours. For a full calendar of programs/tours and descriptions, visit

henderson-franklinRent Tax Reduced Beginning January 1, 2018

Here is an article written by Henderson Franklin, Attorneys at Law:

The Florida Legislature recently delivered a small win for the business community with Florida House Bill 7109. Effective January 1, 2018, Florida Statute 212.031(1)(c) is amended by lowering the sales tax levied against commercial tenants from 6% to 5.8%. A more significant decrease would have been better, but commercial tenants will take what they can get, we suspect. The tax – known as the Business Rent Tax or “the BRT” – affects commercial tenants including retail, office space, and industrial tenants.

What is the BRT?

The Florida Legislature enacted the BRT in 1969, declaring that the business of renting, leasing, letting or granting a license for the use of commercial real property is a “taxable privilege.” In part because Florida has no personal income tax, the state government relies on sales taxes, including the BRT, as a significant source of revenue. Many local governments also impose a local option sales tax on top of the state BRT.

Florida is the only state to levy a statewide tax against commercial tenants, and thereby creates a competitive disadvantage for Florida businesses that lease rather than own their commercial space.

House Bill 7109

Florida’s BRT is unique from a national perspective in two respects: not only is it the only standard, statewide sales tax on commercial real estate rents, but unlike other corporate taxes, it is not pegged to profitability. As a result, the BRT significantly raises occupancy costs on all commercial tenants, regardless of their financial condition. New and/or struggling businesses in Florida may have the greatest difficulty with the burden this tax creates, and these businesses are likely to benefit the most from the tax relief in House Bill 7109.


Many voices within Florida’s business community have pushed for years for steep cuts to the BRT and, beginning in 2018, start to see their lobbying efforts bear fruit. Considering the significant impact the tax has on occupancy costs, the BRT should continue to be the subject of considerable debate in Tallahassee. As with all tax matters, please consult with your tax professional.

homesteadYou Can Inherit A Home, But You Can’t Inherit Taxes

Here is a helpful article posted at FloridaRealtors®. This one on Dec 18, 2017 is credited to Marty Kiar, Broward County property appraiser.

“The family home often passes from generation to generation as parents pass on, but Broward County’s property appraiser says he often gets a similar question the following year: Why did my property taxes go up so much?

“This happens when the decedent’s Homestead Exemption is removed the year following their passing and the Save Our Homes value is reset,” says Broward’s Marty Kiar. While alive, the parents had a cap on the amount their property taxes could go up each year thanks to Florida’s homestead exemption.

However, that protection ends and the house’s taxable value resets when it gets a new owner, even if that new owner inherited the house from his or her parents. In some cases, that higher taxable value can be dramatic.

Kiar notes only a few exceptions: A surviving spouse can inherit a house as well as the existing tax savings via Save Our Homes, as can a “legal dependent who was permanently residing on the property at the time of the decedent’s death.”

In all other cases, the new owner – even if he or she grew up in that house – must file for a new Homestead Exemption when they become the legal owner. Once filed, they also then have protection from yearly increases through Save Our Homes, though going forward it’s based on the first year they applied for the Homestead Exemption.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 15-22, 2017 



7 new listings: Spanish Cay #4 2/2 $374K, Sundial West #G105 1/1 $425K, Blind Pass #B211 2/2 $469K, Sunset South #1A 2/2 $775K, Loggerhead Cay #134 2/2 $995K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 $1.149M, Atrium #201 3/3 $1.495M.

3 price changes: Sundial West #G204 2/2 now $649,999; Island Beach Club #220E 2/2 now $979K; Pointe Santo #E23 2/2 now $995K.

2 new sales: Sundial West #G105 1/1 listed at $425K, Sundial West #J207 2/2 listed at $695K.

6 closed sales: Seashells #44 2/2 $320K, Captians Walk #B5 2/1 $340K, Sundial West #C306 1/1 $404.5K, Blind Pass #B207 2/2.5 $469K, Sanibel Arms West #G8 2/2 $475K, Bougainvillea #A3 4/4 $3.55M.


12 new listings: 1613 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $499K, 1027 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $575K, 693 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $579K, 2521 Key Lime Pl 3/2 $599K, 1357 Jamaica Dr 2/3 duplex $650K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $784.5K, 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 $875K, 1106 Buttonwood Ln 3/2 $1.2M, 4166 Dingman Dr 4/4 $2.9M, 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 $1.395M, 1035 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 $1.7495M, 1191 Bird Ln 5/4.5 $7.9M.

5 price changes: 667 Spartina Ct 3/2 now $619,555; 5299 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/3 now $648K; 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 now $990K; 5403 Shearwater Dr 4/3 now $1.195M; 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 now $1.349M.

9 new sales: 915 Palm St 3/2 listed at $475K, 3273 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed at $825K, 3358 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 listed at $979K, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 listed at $1.224M, 899 Almas Ct 3/2 listed at $1.249M, 2441 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.295M, 2190 Starfish Ln 3/3 listed at $1.395M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 listed at $1.675M, 267 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed at $1.795M.

1 closed sale: 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 $737.5K.


1 new listings: 2987 Wulfert Rd $450K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1311 Par View Dr listed at $274K.

1 closed sale: 461 Lake Murex Cir $325K. 



No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #302 4/3 now $2.895M.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3210 1/1 listed at $300K, Lands End Village #1657 2/2 listed at $1.095M

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1660 3/3 $1.5375M.


2 new listings: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 duplex $1.749M, 16814 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $8.2M.

2 price changes: 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 now $2.795M, 16447 Captiva Dr 6/5/2 now $3.599M.

No new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Santa on Beach

Wishing You & Your Family A Happy Holiday Weekend!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team


Almost Fathers’ Day 2015 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SusanSusan reporting that it was another fairly quiet week on the islands – but with gorgeous weather, occasional afternoon showers, fabulous sunsets, and probably more people on the island than we typically see in mid-June. The activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below.



June Membership Meeting – Sanibel/Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoThough it had been three long weeks since our last local Realtor® Caravan Meeting, attendance was light at our monthly breakfast meeting on Thursday.

Seacoast Cottage Company logoTwo affiliate members spoke during the professional development segment of the meeting: Art Monahan with Seacoast Cottage Company discussed the various window types and designs used on the islands. “It’s amazing”, he said “how many consumers don’t realize that the windows used in Florida are different from those in homes in northern states.” Here we want to keep the heat out. There they want to keep the heat in. The impact resistant windows required here now are tested to 170 mph, many have three layers of glass and an inner shatterproof Mylar membrane which is what keeps the elements from penetrating a home even when the glass may break.

Tradewinds logoJeff Carroll with Tradewinds Custom Homes discussed the three varieties of home exterior finishes popular in Florida because of their easier maintenance and durability (as compared to wood): vinyl siding, Hardie board, and Boral. He brought samples. Most of us recognize vinyl siding, it’s been popular for years. Hardie board, perhaps not as well know, was developed by James Hardie and is a siding made of fiber cement. Cement is combined with sand, water, and cellulose wood fibers to make a solid building material well suited for protecting building exteriors. We see a lot of Hardie board here. I hadn’t heard of Boral until Jeff’s presentation. He said that it is a relatively-new product that does not change even when submerged in water. His sample was in a jar of water and had been for two months, without compromising its integrity. Jeff said that Boral is made from fly ash and resin. He also described it as a true green product from cradle to cradle, meaning no nasty byproducts or gases are produced during its manufacturing. Sounds like a perfect material to be used on homes in hot humid Florida. In comes in a variety of shapes and sizes too, so can look like wood shakes, shingles, beadboard, and a variety of lapboards, etc.

LCEC Island Vegetation Trimming

Lcec logoLee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) has advised the City of Sanibel that circuit crews will begin trimming vegetation on Sanibel and Captiva the week of June 22, 2015. Crews expect to be trimming vegetation for approximately three months, weather permitting.

The trimming will begin near East Gulf Drive and Bella Vista Way and proceeding through Sanibel to Sanibel-Captiva Road.  See LCEC’s map below showing where trimming will occur.

lcecmap 2015 tree trimAs part of this vegetation trimming process, LCEC crews will make efforts to contact home/business owners prior to trimming. Door hangers will be left where person-to-person contact is not possible.

Vegetation management is part of the ongoing LCEC electric system maintenance and reliability improvement plan and is critical to reducing outages and ensuring safety. Residents with questions should call LCEC directly at 239-656-2200.

F.I.S.H. Moving to New Location

FishAccording to an article in today’s “Island Sun”, F.I.S.H.’s soon-to-be-occupied new headquarters at 2430 Periwinkle Way, behind Bleu Rendez Vous French Bistro will give them more than 1,000 sq. ft. than their current location.

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc. is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, human services organization focused on “neighbors helping neighbors” on Sanibel and Captiva islands.  From their web site “The mission of F.I.S.H. is to lend a helping hand to those in need who live, work or the islands. Their objective is to make a social investment in our community that assists our neighbors to live independently with dignity in their homes.”

Founded in 1982, F.I.S.H. operated out of volunteers’ homes until their first office in The Village Shops. They have been in their second and current location at 1630 Periwinkle Way since 2007. The move to their own building later this month will allow them to expand their walk-in center to better serve their employees, volunteers, and clients.

The “Island Sun” article reports their success by giving some statistics from last year. “In 2014, FISH impacted the lives of 1,317 households representing 1,737 individuals. Las year, 86% of its annual budget was used for client programming. This included 386 senior households which benefitted from FISH programming such as Alzheimer’s assessments, daily well-check calls and prepared meals, emergency financial assistance, health equipment loans, non-emergency medical related appointment transportation and workshops. Also during the past year, 931 households – including 192 children – benefitted from FISH programming such as adult education assistance, community resource referrals and counseling, emergency financial assistance, ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) instruction, notary services, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) tax assistance, youth lunches, and scholarships.”

This wonderful hardworking organization is led by its 2015 President and CEO, Maggi Feiner, and Board Chair, John Pryor (also a fellow singer in the BIG ARTS Community Chorus & Ensemble). If you have the time or the wherewithal, please support them. They are always looking for volunteers and contributions, their web site also has a list of the food pantry needs. Today, it says canned proteins (tuna, chicken, beef), milk, juices (boxed for kids), paper towels, and toilet paper. When finishing up an island visit or prepared your hurricane box for the summer, it’s a good time to thin out your pantry and bring those non-perishable not-expired items to FISH.

Best wishes to FISH in their new location!

bleu rendez(You will be pleased to try Bleu Rendez Vous French Bistro too. I tried it a couple of weeks ago and it is divine. New décor, authentic yet reasonably-priced French menu. Open 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Hosts are Chef Christian and Mari Vivet. Check out their menu and be sure to make a reservation.

Housing Solutions for Emerging Markets

realtor logoNo related to island real estate, but interesting info in this on-line article posted last Friday on “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“Housing markets all over the world are dealing with a lack of affordable housing options. In many developing markets, builders are creating innovative properties that seek to solve the growing affordable housing and urbanization issue, as well as provide shelter for at-risk populations that battle natural disasters on a regular basis.

“Floating structures, monolithic domes, and even housing made from paper are just a few of the inventive housing creations that have popped up in emerging markets in order to solve various housing crises, according to global online real estate portal Lamudi, which focuses exclusively on emerging markets.

“Here are some examples of these housing solutions:

Paper Refugee Shelters, Rwanda – After the civil war in Rwanda left more than two million people homeless, Shigeru Ban, an award-winning modernist architect, decided to use low-cost paper tubes to build shelters for those in need. This inexpensive solution helped to conserve trees and avoid deforestation, and inspired Ban to make paper shelters all over the world in areas of need.

Paper Log Housing, Philippines – Paper tubes were also a solution after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, destroying 130,000 homes in the process. Shigeru Ban Architects were able to create emergency housing that included beer crates filled with sandbags, floor panels made of coconut wood and plywood, and paper tubes as the structural frame.
Makoko Floating School, Nigeria – In Lagos, urbanization and lack of space is a big problem. To confront this issue, NLÉ designed a prototype for a floating school to be built in the water community of Makoko.

Earthquake-proof Housing, Indonesia – A devastating earthquake in 2006 inspired the partnership of Domes for the World (DTWF) and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) in building 80 monolithic domes in Indonesia. These structures are made to withstand various natural disasters and provide a secure shelter for those most as need in the area.

Ecovillage, Uganda – Earthbag construction technology was the solution for the growing environmental, economical, and social challenges in Uganda. More than three million people near Lake Victoria are at-risk for violence and natural disasters, and this earthbag ecovillage was created specifically to provide protection from bullets, fire, wind, and rain.”

Upcoming Events

Captiva-Cruises-LogoFather’s DayCaptiva Cruises is offering free travel to Dads with a paid child on June 21, Sunday. Trips to Useppa Island or Cabbage Key, dolphin/wildlife adventure cruises, half-day shelling trips, and more. Reservations needed, call 239-472-5300.

Community House logoMango Tasting at The Community House – June 24, Wednesday, 6 p.m.  The owner of FruitScapes on Pine Island will be there with ten different types of mangoes for attendees to sample. Bring your own potluck item to share with about six people. RSVP at The Community House at 2173 Periwinkle Way, 239-472-2155.

90% of Properties Now Have Equity

core logic logoMore positive recovery news was posted on-line Wednesday at “Daily Real Estate News”:

“As home prices rise, more home owners are regaining equity. During the first quarter of this year, about 254,000 properties regained equity, according to CoreLogic’s latest equity report. That now brings the total number of residential properties with a mortgage that have equity to about 44.9 million – or 90% – by the end of the first quarter.

“Five states alone accounted for 31% of negative equity in the U.S., according to the report. Those states with the highest percentage of properties with a mortgage in the negative equity position in the first quarter are: Nevada: 23.1%, Florida: 21.2%, Illinois: 16.8%, Arizona: 16.8%, Rhode Island: 15.7%.

“About 90% of home owners now have housing equity and, as a result, have experienced an increase in wealth, which can spur additional consumption and investment expenditures,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The remaining 10% of owners with negative equity will find their home value rising while they continue to pay down principal on their amortizing mortgage loan.”

“The still elevated number of home owners who have negative equity remains a concern, however. The number of negative equity households stood at 5.1 million, or 10.2% of all properties with a mortgage in the first quarter of this year, according to CoreLogic’s report. That represents a slight drop from 5.4 million homes, or 10.8%, that had negative equity in the fourth quarter of 2014.

““Many home owners are emerging from the negative equity trap, which bodes well for a continued recovery in the housing market,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “With the economy improving and home owners building equity, albeit slowly, the potential exists for an increase in housing stock available for sale, which would ease the current imbalance in supply and demand. There are still about 5 million home owners who are underwater and we estimate that a further 5% appreciation in home values across the U.S. would reduce the number of owners with negative equity by about one million.”

“The following states had the highest percentage of properties in the positive equity territory by the end of the first quarter: Texas: 97.7%, Hawaii: 96.9%, Alaska: 96.8%, Montana: 96.8%, North Dakota: 96.2%.

“In general, the majority of positive equity properties are centered at the high end of the housing market, according to the report. For example, 94% of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity, compared with 85% of homes valued at less than $200,000.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 12-19



1 new listing: Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 $749K.

1 price change: Sanddollar #C101 2/2 now $870K.

1 new sale: Sunset South #9C 2/2 listed for $449K (our listing).

Sunset South #9C view

Sunset South #9C view

6 closed sales: Colonnades #41 1/1 $185K, Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 $230K (our listing), Sundial #F303 2/2 $460K, Cottage Colony West #102 1/1 $611K, Sand Pointe #214 2/2 $715K, Island Beach Club #P2E $720K.


1 new listing: 4221 Gulf Pines Dr 2/2 $589K.

6 price changes: 1024 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $589.9K, 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $598,150, 1388 Tahiti Dr 3/2 now $639K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $698K, 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/7.5.5 now $2.15M, 1253 Anhinga Ln 4/4 now $3.7M.

7 new sales: 9106 Mockinbird Dr 2/2 listed for $499K, 1314 Tahiti Dr 2/2 listed for $525K, 1593 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed for $529K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 lissted for $549K, 1409 Albatross Rd 3/2 listed for $595.9K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 listed for $645K, 4241 Old Banyan Way 3/2 listed for $739K.

7 closed sales: 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 $600K, 741 Nerita St 3/2 $625K, 1528 Angel Dr 3/2 $730K, 5076 Joewood Dr 3/2 $795K, 518 N Yachtsman 3/3 $995K, 1101 Schooner Pl 3/2.5 $1.089M, 5290 Caloosa End Ln 4/3 $1.4M.


No new listings or price changes.

3 new sales: 9239 Dimmick Dr listed for $139K, 1429 Albatross Rd listed for $269K, 3411 West Gulf Dr listed for $3.74M.

1 closed sale: 1336 Eagle Run Dr $250K.



1 new listing: 2416 Beach Villas 1/1 $535K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Marina Villas #707 2/2 listed for $595K, Lands End #1616 3/3 listed for $1.99M.

1 closed sale: Marina Villas #902 2/2 $620K.


1 new listing: 7 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 $2.195M.

1 price change: 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.79M.

1 new sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 listed for $2.349M.

No closed sales.


Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

 fathers-day-clip-art-HappysFathersDayClipArt1024x1024PB1Happy Fathers’ Day weekend!

What’s Happening Now on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SanibelSusan again with some Friday scoop. My team and I have been busy all week with action items on new listings, upcoming closings, and recently negotiated contracts, but new business was markedly slower this week, while traffic was markedly improved.

Yesterday’s Realtor® Caravan Meeting was lightly attended and showing activity/inquiries were down too. Below after a couple of news items is the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week.

Community House Renovation Plans Moving Ahead

Community Ctr renovationCommunity House logoIt was with interest that the April-May newsletter of the Sanibel Community Association “The House News” reported the following:

“The long-anticipated renovation of the Community House is moving forward, with building and site plans being completed this year and primary construction now expected to happen in the Summer of 2016. This will allow the House to host its normal schedule of activities during next season (2015/2016) without disruption.

“The renewal project will restore the historic North Room, in a manner consistent with its designation as a historical landmark, and the overall outside appearance of the Community House will be designed to be compatible with the “Olde Florida” style. Inside, the House will receive a major modernization, with upgraded electrical, plumbing, and audio-visual equipment, expanded and modernized kitchen and rest room facilities, and more flexible interior space, and a fresh look.”

A subsequent, email update today from SCA covered some points from their recent annual meeting including: that the last major renovation there occurred in the 70’s when the auditorium was added. After the upcoming summer 2016 renovation, the facility is expected to reopen in October. Local architect (& fellow Sanibel Chorus alto) Amy Nowacki has been appointed to design the project. Benchmark has been engaged as General Contractor. Cost for the project is estimated to be slightly under $2M.

“In the presentation to SCA membership, a new vision was outlined for how the Community House could participate in the Civic Core operations. “While SCA’s Board has decided to renovate its current building rather than construct a new Community House on the north side of Periwinkle at this time, we hope to be able to move SCA’s major outdoor festival-type events across the street to the planned Civic Core Community Green. This would include things like the major Arts & Crafts Fairs which operate over several days during the height of season. Locating those events on the Community Green would give them a more comfortable setting and make for easier parking and pedestrian access.

“SCA’s vision calls for the Civic Core project to include construction of an open-air pavilion on the Community Green that would serve as a base for the outdoor festival events and be available for other types of open-air functions, with parking provided by the new Civic Core shared parking lots. SCA plans to advance this idea with the City and other Civic Core stakeholder groups.”

Sweet Island Message

Facebook logoA couple of my teammates scowl when they hear that I have posted something on social media, particularly Facebook. But being a forward-thinking professional, I want to ensure that our business is marketed in whatever way necessary to best serve our clients and customers. Experts advise that younger generations rely on social media for business as well as pleasure, and since I have both received listings and found new prospective buyers through social media, my adventure into technology will continue.

What really irritates me though about social media, especially this week, is the amount of negativity that is posted and then perpetuated. My Dad always said “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I know that I don’t always follow that advice, so it is heartwarming to read what I consider a “sweet message” once in a while.

Seal_of_Maine_svgOn Facebook, there is a closed group called “Beautiful Sanibel Island”. The only requirement to join is that you “love Sanibel Island”. With over 6,000 followers, it is bound to have some naysayers occasionally and it does; but when I read the below message this morning from a gal who was here on visiting, I said to myself, “I must share this.” (Warmed my heart even more to see that the author is from Maine too! Those gals tell it like it is!)

“I returned home after another week in paradise a few days ago. The respect that everyone, young and old has for this magical island never ceases to amaze me. I just want to share 2 of my favorite interactions. I noticed a little girl, approximately 7 years old on a sandbar, holding the most beautiful, HUGE Lightening Whelk. I approached her to take a look and she, in a very matter of fact way says, “we can’t keep it, he’s alive”. It warmed my heart. The second was while I was taking a walk near the lighthouse. I saw a gentleman in his mid twenties, nice looking, nice physique, carrying something toward the water. I walked over to see what he had. It was a little Leopard crab. The handsome, young man says, “poor little fella, I need to get him back to the ocean. I hope he’ll be alright”. God, I love Sanibel…”

The Sanctuary Golf Club says “Please, Pardon the Dust…”

The Sanctuary Sign2July08As yet another indication that “season” is over, the following article was in the April issue of the “Sanctuary Sound”.

sanctuary golf club logo“The Members of The Sanctuary Golf Club have made a decision to remodel, redecorate, and refresh! …

“First, the Clubhouse will be remodeled. The integrity of the brand will remain but new furnishings, paint, carpet, decorations, etc. will be added to refresh the Club. Next, the outside dining will be enhanced to capture the magnificent golf course view. Lastly, the fitness center and pool will be removed for a 5,000 sq. ft. Tennis & Wellness building. It will include new state-of-the-art fitness equipment, an aerobics room, massage therapy rooms, and locker rooms. The lap pool will augment the exercise programs to include water aerobics…these changes will begin May 2016.”

Note: Their social membership is capped at 100 with 14 currently on the waiting listing. With normal attrition just 2 to 4 members a year, if you are considering joining The Sanctuary as a social member, it makes sense to complete an application and get your name on the list now. There are no fees for the applying. For more info, contact Sheryl Tatum, Director of Membership, 239-332-5182 or

RPAC Hair Color Challenge

rpacAt our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday, I challenged colleagues to change their hair color as part of our annual fundraiser for RPAC. RPAC (Realtor® Political Action Committee) contributions support a variety of things affecting all of us. Those issues include electing Realtor®-friendly legislators who protect property rights, competitive and affordable flood insurance, protecting the environment, cleaning waterways, and re-nourishing beaches. Realtor® dollars contributed to RPAC are used: 30% to national issues, 45% to Florida (, while 25% may be used by local associations.

SanCapAssnLogoEach May, after “season”, our Sanibel/Captiva Association hosts an event which originally was known as “The Over-the-Hump Party”. This year, the event includes advance raffle-ticket sales, a golf tournament, and both silent and live auctions with items donated by members, plus an after-party. The purpose is to celebrate that we made it through another “season” and to raise money for RPAC.

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® may be small, but we recognize the importance of RPAC. SanibelSusan’s challenge adds just a different twist to raising a few more dollars this year. Those taking the challenge only need to color their hair wild and colorful before the event on May 20. If they meet the challenge, I will make a contribution toward their RPAC goal, provided they are more than 50% vested themselves. Goal levels begin at just $100.

If I am the only one on the island with pink hair in a few weeks, you will know that no one took my challenge, but I am hopeful that you will see some fun local color soon! Sanibel/Captiva took home four of the five state RPAC awards last year for a board of our size. This year we are hoping for five out of five! The gauntlet has been thrown.

Six Florida Islands That Are Better (And Usually Cheaper) Than The Caribbean

huff post travel logoHere is the intro to an article posted this week on the Huffington Post’s “HuffPost Travel”:

“If you’re craving an exotic beach escape to one of the best islands in the world, then head to Florida. Floridian islands made up three of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Islands In The U.S. this year. They’re so stunning that earlier this year, the tourism bureau of Ithica, New York even begged travelers to go, to forgo the city to visit Florida’s islands instead. While getting to the Caribbean can be a schlep for your luggage and tough on your wallet, visiting Florida’s islands will not require going through customs and are often, though not always, cheaper to get to.”

The write-up included the below photo and had this to say about Sanibel: “Sanibel Island – With no chain stores, no stoplights and a population of just about 7,000 people, this place is pure, quiet island bliss. Hunt for seashells on the beach, or chow down on chicken wings at the Lazy Flamingo.”

HuffingtonPost photo 4-28-15

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 24—May 1 



1 new listing: Sunset South #2D 2/2 $525K.

3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 now $459K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $490K, Seascape #201 3/3 now $1.795M.

3 new sales: Lighthouse Point #231 2/2 listed for $670K, Lighthouse Point #323 3/2 listed for $899K, Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 listed for $995K.

2 closed sales: Lighthouse Point #132 2/2 $475K, Sundial #E408 2/2 $875K.


8 new listings: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $649K, 588 Boulder Dr 3/2.5 $795K, 1251 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 $824.9K (short sale), 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 $849K, 236 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $879K, 660 Oliva St 3/2 $950K, 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 $979K, 750 Periwinkle Way 4/4 $1.998M.

8 price changes: 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $599.65K; 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $719K; 1528 Angel Dr 3/2 now $749K; 5424 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 half-duplex now $795K; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $998.5K; 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 now $1.099M, 1137 Golden Olive Ct 5/3.5 now $2.175M; 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/4/3 now $3,999,999.

6 new sales: 2220 Camino Del Mar Dr 3/3 listed for $599K, 238 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $625K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 listed for $699K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 listed for $815K, 1101 Schooner Pl 3/2.5 listed for $1.189M, 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 listed for $1.395M.

7 closed sales: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 $325K, 744 Martha’s Ln 2/2 $449K (our listing, photo below), 1691 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $469K, 1228 Anhinga Ln 3/2 $570K, 543 Chert Ct 3/2 $630K, 5880 Sanibel Captiva Rd 3/2 $865K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $891K.



No new listings or price changes.

1 new sales: 223 Robinwood Cir listed for $195K.

2 closed sales: 2324 Starfish Ln $425K, 4334 West Gulf Dr $850K.



3 new listings: Beach Villas #2422 1/1 $539K, Beach Homes 37 2/2 $1.795M, Beach Homes #8 3/3 $2.7M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 listed for $299.5K.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1601 2/2 $1.225M.


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

2 closed sales: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $2.025M, 1 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 $2.175M.


Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Best wishes for a great weekend, SanibelSusan (Susan Andrews)

Read Why SanibelSusan’s Friday Sanibel/Captiva Islands Real Estate Blog is Late

SanibelBeachAnother Friday has arrived and SanibelSusan is not going to dwell on the additional heavy traffic on Periwinkle Way from the Shell Fair which ends tomorrow. To put a positive spin on it, for those properties that we don’t already open for showings, my team and I are offering delivery service to Realtors® needing keys or fliers.

This week, island weather likely again contributed to the many visitors enjoying the 70- and 80-degree temperatures, sunny days, blue skies, and also the gorgeous moon-glow skies at night. A favorite photos from island photographer, Jim Anderson, JMA Photography is above. The beach looked just like this week, including this afternoon.

Although not many sales were announced at the Sanibel/Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, many were posted in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Several price reductions were reported too, common for the end of February with just a few weeks left of “high season”.

At SanibelSusan Realty, we are showing property, holding open houses, writing offers, and negotiating contracts like crazy! We love it and hopefully will have some new sales to add the Multiple Listing Activity next week. That is why SanibelSusan’s blog is a few hours late.

Meanwhile, the island listing/sales activity over the past seven days follows a couple of news items below.

Sanibel Dark Skies Ordinance Passes Unanimously

Sanibelcityseal logoAs reported today in the “Island Sun”: This week, Sanibel City Council approved the revised Dark Skies Ordinance, ending 13 months of revisions, adjustments and “fine tuning” by the planning commission, city staff, and public input. The ordinance was established to protect the natural beauty of the island’s night skies as well as its habitat for a variety of animals, particularly sea turtles during nesting season. Beach-front properties and new construction already are required to be compliant. Non-beachfront properties have until January 1, 2018. Read the ordinance, its requirements and view a video about it at

Why Canada’s Snowbirds Are Under U.S. Scrutiny

TRC LOGORSPS LogoIsland sellers often ask their Realtors® if they do much business with out-of-country buyers. Thankfully SanibelSusan’s TRC (Transnational Referral Certified) and RSPS (Resort & 2nd-Home Property Specialist) designations often result in referral business that comes from over the border or across the pond.

For those readers wondering about the implications of Canadian residents spending their winters in Florida, here is an article that was posted in the February RSPS Newsletter and published earlier in “Reuters” on February 10.

“Canadians who normally head south of their border for warmer weather are keeping closer track of their time in the United States because if they stay too long, they could lose their Canadian health benefits and might owe U.S. income tax.

“Just last year, the two countries implemented an agreement to scan passports and share the information, meaning that, unlike in past years, America’s tax authorities now know exactly how long snowbirds are spending in warmer climes like Florida, California and Arizona.

“And that has many worried Canadians monitoring their stay on American soil. People like 74-year-old former TV producer Richard Simpson, who stays in Fort Myers, Florida, from the end of October through April, then heads back to Toronto. “People have this fear in the back of their heads about playing it too loose, and spending too much time down here,” he said. “Whenever there’s a ‘Canada Night’ gathering, it’s the No.1 topic of conversation.”

“The magic number is 182 days in a single year. More than that, and Canadians risk being considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes. If Canadians overstay their welcome, they risk creating a U.S. claim on their worldwide income, getting barred from the country for five years and losing prized health care, according to Dale Walters, the Phoenix-based chief executive officer of KeatsConnelly, a financial planning firm that specializes in cross-border issues.

“Even less than 182 days, though, and they still might meet what the U.S. Internal Revenue Service calls its “substantial presence” test. It is a complicated formula, but if snowbirds spend more than roughly 120 days per year in the United States over a three-year period, the IRS starts getting interested in them.

“”The technology has finally gotten to the point where they can track border crossings easily,” said Walters. “Snowbirds are very aware of this. Some of them have become pretty paranoid about it.”

“But the lure of a warmer climate can be very powerful indeed. Canadians purchased U.S. properties worth $13.8 billion in the 12 months leading up to March 2014, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors. That makes for 15% of all international sales. Canadians’ favorite spots, perhaps not surprisingly: Florida, Arizona and California, making for almost three-quarters of all their purchases.

“More than 500,000 Canadians own real estate in Florida alone, according to BMO Financial Group Swhose Annual Snowbird Outlook – issued last October – predicts continued gains for snowbird homeowners.

“The pace of those home purchases will likely slow, thanks to a falling Canadian dollar that has seen the loonie sink to around 80 U.S. cents. For those who have already purchased in the United States, the combination of rising real-estate prices and a U.S. dollar-denominated asset has proved to be a clever hedge indeed. “For Canadians who bought a couple of years ago, they have already gained 20% on the rising U.S. dollar alone,” says Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. “At the same time, home prices in many areas also rose double digits. So it was an excellent time to buy.”

“Compared to record-high Canadian real estate in hot markets like Toronto and Vancouver, housing in the American sunbelt is still attractively priced, the BMO report notes.

“So how can snowbirds avoid running afoul of the authorities, and not jeopardize their Canadian status or attract the scrutiny of the IRS? Many have been tweaking their calendars already, says KeatsConnelly’s Walters. While typical snowbirds used to return to Canada in April, he says, many have now shifted earlier to March.

Some, like Simpson, throw some cruising into the mix to pad their schedules. Since a March or April return to Canada can still be on the chilly side, Simpson sometimes leaves Florida to keep under the 182-day limit, but then takes an international cruise until things warm up.

“Also, know the letter of the law. Even if snowbirds meet the IRS’ “substantial presence” test, for instance, they can still fill out the agency’s Form 8840. It asserts closer connections to Canada, and should stave off any potential problems.

“Finally, when crossing the border, Walters advises that snowbirds come equipped with a “border kit” that proves Canadian residency in multiple ways – things like utility bills and property-tax statements. As for Richard Simpson, he does not regret leaving his homeland behind, at least for the coldest parts of the year. “Whenever I see the Canadian weather on TV, I think, ‘Thank God I’m here in Florida, and thank God I’m wearing shorts.'””

McMansions Remain a Hot Buy

realtor logoRealtor®Mag posted this article late last week on its “Daily Real Estate News”:

“Existing-home sales mostly fell flat in January, but a closer look at the data shows one segment of the market is seeing a lot of activity. McMansions – those traditionally large homes in the $750,000 to $1 million range – saw a sales growth rate of 13% in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That is the fastest growth rate of any other home price range.

“NAR’s latest housing reports:Home Sales Off to a Bumpy Start in 2015 and Tight Supplies Put Home Prices on the Move. “It’s a reflection of the U.S. economy where the upper end has done much better in this recovery in terms of income,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, told MarketWatch.

“As the stock market hits new highs, the luxury buyer is continuing to be a strong player in the housing market this year. Last year, the million-dollar plus segment had the strongest growth. “Now, it’s the next level that is beginning to pick up,” Yun says.

“As for more traditional buyers, they may be locked in to their current home. Home owners who snagged low interest rates may be reluctant to trade up or move on unless job or family changes press them to, Yun notes. That’s how he explains why the strengthening job market as well as rent growth is not currently leading to a stronger housing market than expected. “People may be delaying two years, four years before returning to normal moving patterns,” Yun says.”

Nearly 80% of Housing Markets Are Stabilizing

FreddieMacLogo_3Here is some more good news, also from the last Thursday “Daily Real Estate News”:

“Thirty-eight of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, are now showing an improving three-month trend in housing activity, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Multi-Indicator Market Index. What’s more, 40 of the 50 major metros Freddie Mac tracks are also showing a three-month improving trend.

“Yet, Freddie Mac’s national MiMi value stands at 74.9, which still indicates a weak housing market overall. The all-time MiMi high was 121.7, recorded in April 2006; its lowest point was 57.2 in October 2010, when the housing market was at its weakest point. Since its low in 2010, the housing market has rebounded 31%.

Freddie Mac’s MiMi index monitors the stability of the nation’s housing market by assessing each single-family housing market relative to its long-term stable range. It takes into account such data as home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, on-time mortgage payments, and the employment market.

Overall, “housing markets are getting back on track,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “The national MiMi improved for the fourth consecutive month. Nearly 80% of the state and metro housing markets MiMi tracks are improving or in their stable range of activity. … Low mortgage rates and moderating house price growth are helping to keep payment-to-income ratios favorable for the typical family in most of the country. In fact, Los Angeles is the only metro market with an elevated MiMi payment-to-income indicator whereas most other markets remain quite affordable. And of course, labor markets are generally improving.””

Sanibel Island Survival Camps for Teens

Sanibel Sea schoolAnother article in the “Island Sun” today caught my eye. Makes me wish to be a teenager again.

This summer Sanibel Sea School is offering three weeks of survival camp for teens (13- to 18-year olds) yearning to embark on an adventure. Can they endure a night on the island with only a fishing net, a coconut, and a paddleboard? Sound like fun?

Each week the group will venture into the lesser-known places on Sanibel for a week of exploration. Attendees will learn the basics of paddle-boarding, and then learn survival skills that will be as useful in a city as on a desert island. Tire changing races, fire starting contests, and shelter-building competitions are all part of the plan, along with basic first aid and figuring out how to find food and water in the wilderness. One night, they will paddle out to camp on Picnic Island and put their new skills to the test, where conditions will be primitive, bugs will be many, and memories should be everlasting. Each week will be different so teens can attend just one or sign up for the series. The sessions are June 22-28, June 29-July 3, July 13-17. Register on-line at

Sanibel-Captiva Art League Clothesline Sale

clothesline saleProperty owners often ask us when the “clothesline show” will be this year.

That event is an excellent time to purchase island art from San-Cap Art League Members. I just heard that this year, the sale will be Sunday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House (across the street from SanibelSquare and SanibelSusan Realty).

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 27-Mar 6 



4 new listings: Colonnades #41 1/1 $194.5K, Breakers West #C2 2/2 $535K, Sundial #H303 2/2 $589K, Seascape #301 3/3 $1.315M.

3 price changes: Sundial #H211 1/1 now $269K, Coquina Beach #4B 2/2 now $449K, Sundial #O201 2/2 now $725K.

7 new sales: Tennisplace #B23 2/1.5 listed for $310K, Sundial #I301 1/1 listed for $389K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 listed for $490K, Loggerhead Cay #574 2/2 listed for $549.9K, Sundial #Q205 3/2 listed for $825K, Atrium #204 2/2 listed for $1.295M, Lantana #102 4/3.5 listed for $1.495M.

6 closed sales: Sundial #C306 1/1 $310K, Lighthouse Point #113 2/2 $450K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 $630K, Pointe Santo #B4 2/2 $580K, Sand Pointe #228 2/2 $720K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 $880K.


8 new listings: 5131 SanibelCaptiva Rd 2/2 $535K, 1702 Sand Pebble Way 3/2.5 $535K, 667 Anchor Dr 4/3.5 $1.1M, 1501 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 $1.15M, 1220 Morningside Place 5/5 multi-family $1.198M, 2617 Coconut Dr 3/2.5 $1.35M, 5235 Indian Ct 4/3.5 $1.598M, 3675 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $4.4M.

9 price changes: 1347 Jamaica Dr 2/2 now $550K, 1228 Anhinga Ln 3/2 now $598.5K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $629.9K, 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $649K, 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $689K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $699K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 now $815K, 6101 Castaways Ln 4/2 now $850K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $945K.

10 new sales: 2621 SanibelCaptiva Rd 3/2 listed for $279K, 702 Donax St 2/2 listed for $399K, 918/920 Main St 5/5 multi-family listed for $449K, 1063 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 listed for $510K, 475 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 listed for $524.9K, 5406 Osprey Ct 3/2 listed for $729K, 2596 Roosevelt Pl 3/2 listed for $739K, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 listed for $1.149M, 2720 Coconut Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.5M, 6170 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3 listed for $1.595M.

10 closed sales: 938 Palm St 3/2 $390K, 1717 Windward Way 3/2 $635K, 6001 Clam Bayou Ln 3/2 $745K, 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 $875K, 1671 Hibiscus Dr 4/3 $875K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $890K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 $970K, 2400 Los Colony Rd 3/3 $1.4M, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 $2.9M, 4265 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $4.1M.


No new listings.

5 price changes: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $214,555; 5126 Sea Bell Rd now $245K; 5116 Sea Bell Rd now $250K.

1 new sale: 4636 Rue Royale listed for $429K.

1 closed sale: 2379 Wulfert Rd $300K.



No new listings.

1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 now $629K.

1 new sale: Beach Villa II #2418 2/2 listed for $650K.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 1131 Longifolia Ct 4/4 $3.69M.

4 price changes: 14981 Binder Dr 3/3 now $1.099M,16251 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $3.595M, 15891 Captiva Dr 5/4 now $3.649M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 now $9.9M.

No new or closed sales.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16950 Captiva Dr listed for $2.995M.

No closed sales.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.


Thinking of island real estate? Contact a member of The SanibelSusan Team, we are working close to 24/7 this time of the year (not really, but at least 12/7!

‘Til next Friday, SanibelSusan

Sharing Roadways, Eating Spaghetti, & Selling Real Estate on Sanibel/Captiva Islands

It’s been a week of warm temperatures, but a few cloudy/foggy/drizzly days on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Don’t usually have many of those in the winter. The overcast days continue to cause traffic delays when visitors turn to retail therapy and restaurant dining, instead of enjoying the great outdoors. The SanibelSusan Team like challenges, so it has been an interesting week scheduling showings, opening properties for viewings, and being on time for appointments.

Gulf-front properties have been exceptionally fun to show as there actually has been some serious wave action this week – Sanibel surf.

SanibelSurf Feb 2015

There has been another flurry of real estate activity this week too. It is described more fully in the weekly report of the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service action below. We have had showings, open houses, been out showing, written offers, received offers, announced sales, and also heard about a few disappointed prospective buyers because they didn’t make their showing arrangements before their travel plans or because they were too late in making offers.

It’s “season” with hot properties getting activity. You know we are full service when we show our listings at night using a flashlight. That was SanibelSusan’s role Wednesday night! Wrote an offer though, so it was productive!

Upcoming Sanibel/Captiva Events

It’s again that time of the year when multiple events are happening often simultaneously. Lots of choices if you are looking for social events. Here are a few favorites coming up:

kiwanis logoAnnual Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner – February 28, tomorrow night, 4 to 8 p.m., followed by after party and auction at the Sanibel Community House, proceeds to benefit scholarships & local youth programs. It’s a great evening of island-style camaraderie, CU there!

Shell show photo78th Annual Sanibel Shell Show & Festival – March 5, 6, & 7, Thursday & Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Community House (adjacent to SanibelSusan Realty).

Captiva ABC Campaign Dinner & Auction – March 5, Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. at Captiva Civic Center. Limited seating, call 239-472-2111 for more info.

BIG Arts logoBIG ARTS Concert Band Spring Concert – March 6, Friday, at 7 p.m. in Schein Performance Hall, BIG ARTS. Tickets at the Marks Box Office, 900 Dunlop Rd.

The Hottest Winter Home Markets

Since our winter real estate market is busy too, it was with interest that The SanibelSusan Team read the below article posted on-line at “Realtor®Mag” on Tuesday: logos“While most of the United States is currently under a deep freeze, real estate markets in many cities across the country are heating up, according to the recent Hotness Index compiled by®. Not surprisingly, warm locations continue to be hot spots for winter buyers. Miami, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Raleigh, and San Diego rank highest on the Hotness Index, and see busy Spring level home-buying activity earlier than other cities across the country.

“To compile the Hotness Index rankings, economists from® looked at 2014 monthly search volume on®, adjusted for population, and combined climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The correlation between warmer metropolitan areas and more January searches makes sense, as it’s easier to get out and go house hunting in these cities,” said Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for®. “In these markets, looking for a home in November or January makes as much sense as August.”

“Winter home-buying activity isn’t just booming in cities with balmy climates. Chicago is a surprisingly hot real estate market in the winter months, according to the Hottest Index. Despite Chicago’s frigid temperatures, their prime buying season actually begins in January and home showings during snowstorms are the norm.

Some suggest that what’s driving this push towards an earlier Spring buying season is the lack of inventory in many metropolitan areas. “Prices are appreciating and homes are selling more quickly,” Smoke said. “These are the criteria that we use to define a healthy market. When inventory is growing as well, the hot market can keep its momentum, which benefits both sellers and buyers.””

If this hotness index was based on 2014 data, SanibelSusan can hardly wait to see the data for 2015. After the brutal weather this year, more buyers should be flocking to the sunshine state. It is a little early in the year to be comparing statistics, but already on Sanibel in 2015, 20 condos have sold/closed, compared to just 11 in 2014. That’s healthy improvement. Now if we could only get into those units that are heavily booked, we could see more activity. Those sales likely will not occur until spring when units become easily viewable again. It’s going to be a good year!

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 20-27 



3 new listings: Sundial #F306 1/1 $379K, Sundial #P404 2/2 $899K, Gulfside Place #123 2/2 $1.25M.

4 price changes: Sanibel Arms #E7 1/1 now $376.5K, Pointe Santo #B46 2/2 now $825K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 now $864.9K, Kimball Lodge #306 2/2 now $1.139M.

Sandalfoot from beach

4 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #B5 2/2 listed for $499K, Sandalfoot #5C1 2/2 listed for $699K (our listing), Sundial #E408 2/2 listed for $925K, Gulfside Place #318 2/2 listed for $1.25M (our sale).

Gulfside Place

2 closed sales: Sundial #J203 1/1 $385K, Kinzie Island #A 4/3.5 $2.3M.


5 new listings: 656 Anchor Dr 3/2 $690K, 2210 Camino Del Mar 3/2 $695K, 4458 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 $829K, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 $1.149M, 1101 Schooner Pl 3/2.5 $1.189M.

11 price changes: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 now $289K, 2407 Shop Rd 2/1 now $299K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $565K, 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $585K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $595K (short sale), 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $599.9K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $669.9K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $749K, 1173 Kittiwake Cir 4/2 now $749.9K, 547 N Yachstman Dr 4/3 now $935K, 2388 Wulfert Rd 3/4 now $1.98M.

10 new sales: 581 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $495K (short sale), 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 4279 Gulf Pines Dr 4/3 listed for $699.95K, 625 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 listed for $769K, 218 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 listed for $829K, 190 Violet Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.05M, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.2945M, 6170 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3 listed for $1.595M, 4204 Dingman Dr 5/4.5 listed for $1.995M, 960 Whelk Dr 3/3 listed for $2.299M.

10 closed sales: 1550 Bunting Ln 2/2 $375K, 543 Chert Ct 3/2 $450K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 $555K, 548 Chert Ct 3/2 $562K, 1477 Albatross Rd 4/3 $565K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 $679K, 251 Daniel Dr 3/2 $768K, 2470 Harbour Ln 3/3 $950K, 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 $1.24735M, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 $1.7M (short sale).


1 new listing: 497 Sea Oats Dr $539K.

4 price changes: 3013 Poinciana Cir now $244.9K; 6411 Pine Ave now $339,999; 6519 Pine Ave now $995K; 6505 Pine Ave now $995K.

3 new sales: 2380 Wulfert Rd listed for $199K, 1316 Par View Dr listed for $320K, 4334 West Gulf Dr listed for $899K.

2 closed sales: Beverly Ln $170K, 6486 Pine Ave $359.9K.



1 new listing: Marina Villas #707 2/2 $695K.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2318 2/2 now $589,974.

2 new sales: Lands End Village #1601 2/2 listed for $1.259M, Lands End Village #1610 3/3 listed for $1.865M.

1 closed sale: Captiva Bay Villas #C 3/3.5 $2.2M.


No new listings.

2 price changes: 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.995M, 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.725M.

1 new sale: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 listed for $2.375M.

1 closed sale: 11520 Laika Ln 2/2 $2.45M.


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 925 South Seas Plantation Rd $4.5M.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.


(Photo above by our photographer, pal, Jim Anderson with JMA Photography.)

Until next Friday, warm weekend wishes to all,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Island Real Estate Is Moving, Traffic Not So Much

It is hard to believe that more people are expected to be on the islands next week for the President’s Day holiday. Suffice it to say, that Sanibel is busier now than The SanibelSusan Team ever remembers it and we are trying to “nicely” share with the many vacationers, snowbirds, and owners here enjoying it too.

No one seems to mind that the daily temperatures this week have, for the most part, only been in the mid-60’s. Bikers in their shorts and tee-shirts continue to fly by our office on the bike path, while we locals have rare chances to wear sweaters and jackets. Here are a few photos taken by our client/friend Ellie Hayward and others during some of the recent breezy days when the shelling has been amazing.

SanibelSusan had lunch this week with VIP’s Vacation Rentals Manager, and he said they do not have a single accommodation left that is available between now and Easter. Other companies and accommodations likewise report 100% occupancy. That is great news for the local economy, but tough traveling for us trying to keep showing appointments on schedule.

We also heard this week that the “Sports Illustrated” annual swim suit edition has hit the streets with some of the photos taken on the islands. Do suppose that could bring even more traffic to Southwest Florida?

SCCF 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon

SCCF logoTuesday, we attended SCCF’s 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon which concluded with a terrific presentation by Director Eric Lindblad on current and future conservation plans. This organization does so much for the islands, we should all be strong supporters.

Eric advised that thanks to cooperation with Tarpon Bay Explorers, SCCF in early April will begin construction of a new marine lab on the grounds of Tarpon Bay, facing the water, in the location of the former concession stand.

SCCF work at rehabbing and reconfiguring The Bailey Homestead continues with preliminary plans in-the-works for eventually moving the Native Plant Nursery there. It has already increased usage of the connected paths that now go from the Chamber of Commerce through the Shipley Trail to Pond Apple Park and City Park via the Starr D. Thomas Boardwalk. A colleague recently saw an eagle there. Here’s a link to the trails:

Other Island Happenings

rotary logoThe Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s 32nd Arts & Crafts Fair is tomorrow and Sunday at the Community House across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, they expect to have 7,000 attendees.

I’ll be at the office then, hoping they want to buy real estate to go with their other purchases. Here’s a link to the fair website:

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoNext week again will be busy. We have some Open Houses planned and have a big (over 6,000-piece) bulk mailing going out. It’s our annual inventory lists for owners of all of the property for sale on the islands, plus for comparison, recent sales.

If you would like a copy too, just give us a call (888-603-0603 or 239-472-HOME (4663)) or send us an email (

Below after a few more news items is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Vacation Home Tax Deductions

taxesTax time is here and though it is best to consult your tax advisor, here is a handy summary that was posted on-line by HouseLogic and reprinted in NAR’s “Real Estate News” on Monday.

“The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.

  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.”

Read more about home tax deductions at

‘Domino Effect’ to Set Off 2015 Housing Wave

clear capital logoInteresting concept recently described in the “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to a Clear Capital report of February 2, 2015 titled “Traditional Home Buyers, Make Your Move”:

“Home prices between the top and bottom segments of the housing market are rising, which could unleash a “domino effect” that builds first-time and move-up buyer momentum this year, notes a new real estate report by Clear Capital. But the build-up in traditional home buyers is coming at the cost of declines in the luxury home market.

“”The rate of appreciation for top tier homes is stalling, which is a more direct reflection of waning fair market demand,” says Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “While this is a concerning development, there is a silver lining. The moderating upper tier may give traditional buyers a moment to catch their breath, and entice move-up buyers to enter this segment of the market. The ripple effect of opening up inventory all the way down the price spectrum could provide opportunity and motivation across all segments, including first-time buyers, to enter the marketplace.”

“The lower and middle-range ends of the housing market is stabilizing, allowing traditional home buyers to re-emerge. “The next phase of the housing recovery is dependent on healthy demand from this segment,” Villacorta says.

“The lower-end of the housing market was once driven mostly by investor activity, but now doors are opening for first-time home buyers to break in.  Also, as the number of underwater mortgages steadily decreases, home owners in the mid-tier of the home pricing segment can finally trade up to a larger, more expensive home.

Lower-end properties have been outpacing price growth in the luxury market, Clear Capital reports. The low-tier has posted double-digit gains year-over-year of 10.2%, compared to the top tier, which saw the lowest price growth rate among the three tiers, at 3.6% year-over-year.

““This divide between a healthy low tier and stalling top tier could kick-off a domino effect,” Clear Capital notes in its report. “Stalling prices in the top tier of the market could create the perception of a good deal. This instills confidence in mid-tier home owners, motivating them to move-up to the top tier. In turn, this opens up more opportunity for low tier home owners to move-up to the mid-tier. … This domino effect could be the catalyst for balanced demand across all sectors of the market.

“The Midwest is leading the pack, according to Clear Capital. The Midwest posted double-digit gains in the low-tier segment at 13.6 percent, while seeing its top-tier of the market fall 3.3% with prices. The Midwest is the only region currently seeing price appreciation in the low and mid tiers, growing above 1%. As such, Clear Capital economists are predicting the Midwest to be the first region in U.S. to realize full buyer momentum among first-time and move-up buyers, due to its moderating top tier.”

“Bleu Rendezvous” Coming to Sanibel

Bue windowsMany islanders call it a “road trip” when we venture off island for dinner. A favorite spot for that since discovering it a few years ago is Blue Windows French Bistro in South Fort Myers which is a small classic French restaurant. Though tiny and only visited occasionally, I always see other islanders there enjoying it too, so it is great news that Christian and Mari Vivet are planning to open a second restaurant, Bleu Rendezvous, on Sanibel in May. It will be in the space of the former Sangria Grill at 2430 Periwinkle Way just up the street from our office.

According to a posting in the “News-Press” this week, “The Vivets, who usually close Blue Windows during the summer, plan to keep both restaurants open throughout this year. Christian hinted they might have other plans for the south Fort Myers store, but said it was too early to disclose anything. As for Blue Rendezvous’ menu, fans of Blue Windows won’t be disappointed. “We’re taking exactly what we’re doing here and doing the exact same thing there, even the same wine list at this point,” Christian said. “It’s worked for us so well, we didn’t see any reason to change it.”

“Blue Windows serves dinner Monday to Saturday at 15250 S. Tamiami Trail, south Fort Myers. Call 849-0622 or visit for more info.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 6-13 



6 new listings: Sundial #C306 1/1 $329K, Sundial #D312 1/1 $349K, Donax Village #8 2/2 $449K, Lighthouse Point #231 2/2 $670K, Sundial #F201 2/2 $829K, Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 $2.595M.

6 price changes: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 now $239.9K, Sanibel Siesta #105 2/2 now $424.5K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $490K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 now $499.9K, Sanibel Surfside #211 2/2 now $798K, Sundial #Q205 3/2 now $825K.

3 new sales: Seashells #15 2/2 listed for $324.9K, Sanibel Arms West #G5 2/2 listed for $525K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 listed for $940K.

4 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 $439K, Sand Pointe #235 2/2 $665K, Island Beach Club #330E 2/2 $783K, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2.0625M.


7 new listings: 2220 Camino Del Mar 3/3 $699K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $769K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $849K, 401 Lagoon Dr 4/4 $ 875K, 4620 Rue Bayou 3/2 $979K, 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $1.1M, 757 Windlass Way 3/2.5 $1.149M.

7 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $329K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 now $530K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $725K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $799K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr #1A 3/3 now $939K, 6015 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3.5 now $2.249M, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.359M.

13 new sales: 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 1075 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 listed for $629K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed for $715K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $719.9K, 8999 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed for $775K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed for $849K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $89.5K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $939K, 857 Birdie View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $995K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 listed for $999.9K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 listed for $1.295M, 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 listed for $1.898M.

2 closed sales: 490 Christine Rd 2/2 $534K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 $1.058M.


No new listings.

7 price changes: 0 Bowmans Beach Rd now $125K, 9239 Dimmick Dr now $139K, 9277 Belding Dr now $179.9K, 2324 Starfish Ln now $449K, 1242 Anhinga Ln now $525K, 1770 Dixie Beach Blvd now $699K, 4334 West Gulf Dr now $899K.

No new or closed sales.



2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5222 1/2 $322K, Sunset Beach Villas #2418 2/2 $650K.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $674.9K.

2 new sales: Captiva Shores #5C 2/2 listed for $898K, Captiva Bay Villas #C 3/3.5 listed for $2.395M.

1 closed sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 $585K.


1 new listing: 11520 Murmond Ln 5/5.5 $2.075M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

valentineUntil next Friday, best wishes for a great Valentines Day.

P.S. There’s no gift like a property in paradise for the one you love. SanibelSusan is working all day tomorrow for your last minute gift shopping!

Woohoo, It’s Another Great Friday at SanibelSusan Realty

It’s Susan and The SanibelSusan Team reporting that it has been another busy week on Sanibel. Glorious weather, more real estate showings, and sales activity, plus traffic traffic traffic.

This is the view from the Mariner Pointe condo that closed on Tues (SanibelSusan's sale)

This is the view from the Mariner Pointe condo that closed on Tues (SanibelSusan’s sale)

One of the lessons learned this week is that I may need to change my tune about open houses not being productive for the property being featured. During the 3-hour open house held last Saturday at our Sanibel Lake Estates home listing, there were three showings. One turned into an offer. Turns out, before the day was done, I received two offers. It is always great to get them and it can be especially good for a seller when there are multiples; but it can be a bit disheartening too, as someone always loses out.

View from Kings Crown #104

View from Kings Crown #104

It was not the only instance of multiple bids this week. Plenty of sales activity has been and continues to be reported. In addition to the Roseate home sale, I put a Kings Crown condo under contract, then this morning put a Sanibel Center home under contract, while this afternoon our 2-bedroom condo listing at Mariner Pointe #812 sold.

Four sales in a week make us and our clients happy!

It’s not just our office that is getting sales as the weekly report of the listing action reported in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service below shows. It follows a few news items. We hope the momentum continues. Tomorrow is expected to the biggest check-out/check-in day of the year, so new prospective buyers will be arriving.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of REALTORS® February Membership Meeting

SCCF logoThere was standing room only yesterday morning at our Realtors® monthly membership meeting. In addition to chatter about the increased sales activity, a short educational program was presented about Island Landscaping and Native Vegetation. Presenters were SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Education Director, Kristie Anders, and Becca Grotrian from the Native Plant Nursery.

For years in cooperation with our local Association of REALTORS®, SCCF has offered a welcome package for new island owners. It includes an introductory free 1-year SCCF membership and a property visit by one of SCCF’s Native Plant Nursery specialists, like Becca.

If you too are wondering how you can reduce landscaping and water costs, aid the environment and critters, and want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, here are a few of the tidbits I learned from their “show and tell”:

Coralbean• Coral bean – looks like a Charlie Brown tree when it blooms, because it has no leaves then, but the rose-colored tubular blooms attract hummingbirds.
gammagrass• Gammagrass – is well suited to banks & steep slopes. A good choice along the side of a lake/river/bayou for alligator diversion.
Joewood tree• Joewood – the official tree of Sanibel is slow growing (10-15′) & has small white fragrant blooms, butterflies love it & it’s on the endangered species list.

firebush• Firebush – fun colorful & showy shrub blooms for months & attracts both birds & butterflies. Hummingbirds especially love this plant too.

• Mimosa – often used as a grass replacement/ground cover, has pinky puffy flowers & acts as a host for sulphur butterflies.

spiderwort• Spiderwort – often used as ground cover has a small blue flower.
Simpson's stopper• Simpson’s stopper – has small flowers & an orange fruit that birds love.

coontie plant & butterfly• Coontie – ground cover that will eventually clump to 3’x3′, it’s a cycad, an ancient plant, with cones both male & female. Birds & small animals like the seeds, & is a host for the atala butterfly, also called arrowroot & Seminole bread because early settlers extracted their edible starch.
buccaneer palm• Buccaneer palm – on the endangered list, grows to 10-15′.

Carolina jessamine vine• Caroline jessamine vine – has yellow blooms in the winter & grows to 20′.

More info on SCCF’s website:

Sanibel Presidents’ Week Traffic

Here’s my traffic story of the week. On the Monday holiday, Periwinkle Way in front of SanibelSusan Realty was blocked in both directions starting mid-afternoon. By 6 p.m. when I was ready to go home and it still was blocked both ways, I decided to be resourceful and head west, thinking I could travel Tarpon Bay Road as a way to get to the Gulf Drives – so I could eventually head east via what we call “the back way”. This time, it didn’t work as when I got to Tarpon Bay Road, it was blocked in both directions too.

Timbers & Sanibel grillMy next idea was to take the path of least resistance and to go even further west, by traveling Tarpon Bay Road to San-Cap Road, then to Rabbit Road and West Gulf Drive. That entire trip took an hour. As the cars crawled down Tarpon Bay Road passing the post office, up ahead along the side of the road I spied Matt Asen, owner of The Timbers and The Sanibel Grill. He was standing at the restaurant entrance waving a cardboard sign that said “Beat the Rush Hour Traffic, Come in For Happy Hour”. Since the cars weren’t moving much, that sign may not have been very effective, but it sure gave me a laugh. A little traffic is a small price to pay for the extra business and wonderful weather we enjoyed here this week.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity February 14-21

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #474 2/2 $490K, Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 $559K.
7 price changes: Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 now $464.9K, Sunset South #1C 2/2 now $474K, Sundial #O302 2/2 now $699K, Shell island Beach Club #5D 2/2 now $775K, Pine Cove #1A 2/2 now $779K, Sundial #E208 2/2 now $799K, Anglers Key #201 3/3 $1.699M.
8 new sales: Sundial #G105 1/1 listed for $319K, Seawind #109 2/2.5 listed for $399K, Mariner Pointe #812 2/2 listed for $459K (our listing), Sunset South #6A 2/2 listed for $520K, Heron at The Sanctuary #2B 3/3.5 listed for $625K, Nutmeg Village #105 2/2 listed for $689.9K, Kings Crown #104 2/2 listed for $895K (our buyer), Plantation Village #A112 3/2 listed for $1.1M.
4 closed sales: Seashells #21 2/2 $316,356; Mariner Pointe #112 2/2 $535K (our sale); Sunset South #14A 2/2 $710K; Bougainvillea #4 3/3 $937.5K.

6 new listings: 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 $535K, 696 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $575K, 706 Emeril Ct 3/2 $679.9K, 5690 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $839.9K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3.5 $1.475M, 4265 West Gulf Dr 3/4.5 $4.495M.
9 price changes: 1596 Bunting Ln 2/2 now $409K, 1890 Farm Trl 3/2 now $449K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 now $499.9K, 778 Cardium St 3/3 now $525K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/2 now $699K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $759K, 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $835K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 now $839K, 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $1.099M.
11 new sales: 966 Fitzhugh St 2/1 listed for $333K (our sale), 1960 Roseate Ln 3/2 listed for $449K (our listing), 4546 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 listed for $499K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $569K, 1787 Serenity Ln 3/2 listed for $$579K, 977 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 listed for $599.9K, 706 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed for $679.9K, 1306 Par View Dr 3/3.5 listed for $799K. 231 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 listed for $998.5K, 988 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.095M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.545M.
3 closed sales: 696 Durion Ct 3/2.5 $565K, 991 Whelk Dr 4/3 $1.05M, 2380 Troon Ct 4/5 $1.75M.

3 new listings: 861 Birdie View Pt $369K, 4363 Gulf Pines Dr $389.9K, 6159 Starling Way $589.9K.
1 price change: 6081 Henderson Rd now $199.9K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 3351 Saint Kilda Rd $349,555.

No new listings.
1 price change: Beach Homes #6 3/3 now $1.895M.
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 listed for $295K.
No closed sales.

No new listings.
2 price changes: 15127 Captiva Dr 8/8 now $1.595M, 1114 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 now $1.849M.
1 new sale: 11527 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $2.695M.
3 closed sales: 11515 Laika Ln 4/4.5 $2.05M, 1133 Longifolia Ct 3/3 $3.487.5M, 15017 Binder Dr 3/3.5 $3.4M.

Nothing to report.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its 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. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

Here’s to another busy weekend of real estate sales & sunny weather on Sanibel!

Weekend wishes to all…SanibelSusan

Chilly Weather, But Still Lots of Real Estate Happenings in Orlando & Sanibel Island

It’s SanibelSusan reporting from Orlando that it was 46 degrees both here and on Sanibel this morning. Most of us are ready for this cold weather to be gone. It looks like Sanibel finally could get into the low 70’s again by tomorrow, but another cool-front is on its way next Wed. Ugh! 

Yesterday, I finished up on the all-day audition panel for new real estate instructors and have been enjoying networking here with the Florida Realtors 2014 leadership team. Last night, the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® again was recognized for their significant RPAC (REALTOR® Political Action Committee) contributions. This year, we took away four of the five awards presented to a small board, which is a new record for us.

L to R, from The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Assoc of Realtors: Shane Spring 2013 Realtor of the Year, SanibelSusan, Peggy Hummel CEO, Eric Pfeifer 2014 Prez-Elect, & Bill Robinson, MLS Director.

L to R, from The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Assoc of Realtors: Shane Spring 2013 Realtor of the Year, SanibelSusan, Peggy Hummel CEO, Eric Pfeifer 2014 Prez-Elect, & Bill Robinson, MLS Director.

With flood insurance and water quality being such important issues in island real estate sales and property values, our association benefits from every cent that we collect and contribute to political action. Last night after the awards ceremony, several of us met with a national association Washington staff member. He gave us his prognosis on what is happening with the related bills currently on the hill. More pressure is needed on both of these issues. 

At dinner last night, we also ran into one of the seven FREC (Florida Real Estate Commission) members. FREC is the group that administers and enforces state real estate laws. We are hoping to get her to Sanibel this year for an educational event for our members.

Realtor logoSubcommittee meetings are today, followed by committee meetings and forums tomorrow. Then after the 2014 Officers are installed tomorrow night, the Florida REALTORS® Directors meet bright and early Sunday morning. If all goes well, I’ll be back in the office by early afternoon. Lots of progress has already been made here for our industry (and I’ve gotten some referral business too). I am excited that I was asked to be part of the new Professionalism group that meets for the first time this afternoon. Tomorrow is the big day with our Professional Standards skit and the Resort and 2nd Home Property Specialist Forum.  

Here are a couple of other news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days.  

Tarpon Bay Explorers Schedule

tarpon bay explorers logoA few folks recently have told me that they were not aware of the many activities available through Tarpon Bay Explorers. Here is an abbreviated schedule. Confirm the schedule at Reservations are needed for most events.

Kayak Trail Tour: Daily at 8:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.; 1 or 2:30 p.m.

Sunset Rookery Paddle: Daily 2 hours before sunset.

Standup Paddleboard Tour: Tues, Thur, Sat at 9 a.m.

Breakfast Cruise: Mon, Wed, Fri at 8:30 a.m.

Nature & Sea Life Cruise: Daily at 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Evening Cruise: Daily 2 hours before sunset

Aquarium & Touch Tank: Daily at 11 a.m. & 1:30 & 3 p.m.

Refuge Tram Tour: Daily (except Fri) hourly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rentals & Fishing Charters: Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Feb 15.

 Loan Demand Back On the Upswing

wall street journalOn Wed, “Daily Real Estate News” sourced this article to “The Wall Street Journal”: 

“After reaching a 13-year low at the end of last year, mortgage applications were back on the rise last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. Mortgage applications, which include those for refinancing and home purchases, rose 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Jan 17. Broken out, demand for applications for refinancings increased 10% over the prior week, while applications for home purchases, viewed as a future gauge of home buying, dropped 4%, the MBA reports.

“The MBA’s mortgage application index had posted its lowest level in about 13 years at the end of last year, when the Federal Reserve announced it would be tapering its $85 billion per month bond-buying program in the new year. However, for the last two weeks, mortgage rates have been declining. The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell from 4.66% to 4.57% last week, MBA reports.  That marks the lowest average for 30-year rates since this past November, according to the MBA.” 

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 17-24



10 new listings: Sundial #D207 1/1 $269K, Tennisplace #B24 2/1.5 $325K, Sundial #D304 1/1 $339K, Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $595K, Kings Crown #210 2/2 $695K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 $929K, High Tide #A101 3/2 $1.199M, Pine Cove #302 2/2 $1.2M, Somerset #301 3/2.5 $1.899M, Sedgemoor #106 3/3.5 $2.935M.

5 price changes: Beach Road Villas #103 2/2 now $369K, Seawind #A102 2/2.5 now $397.9K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $547.9K, Pelicans Roost #101 2/2 now $775K, Sanddollar #C101 2/2 now $854K.

3 new sales: Duggers Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 listed for $289.9K, Blind Pass #C203 3/2 listed for $499K, Atrium #206 3/2 listed for $1.295M.

No closed sales. 


5 new listings: 972 Fitzhugh St 3/2 $379K, 490 Elizabeth Rd 2/2 $419.5K, 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $895K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.247M, 906 Snowberry Ln 3/3.5 $4.35M.

8 price changes: 1826 Ardsley Way 4/3 now $484.7K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $569K, 617 E Rocks Dr 3/2 now $599.9K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $619K, 1306 Par View Dr 3/3.5 now $799K, 1500 Angel Dr 3/2 now $1.249M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 now $1.499M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.749M.

4 new sales: 1475 Court Pl 2/1 listed for $289K, 2529 Harbour Ln 3/3 listed for $725K, 1444 Causey Ct 4/4 listed for $1.1M, 4994 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.459M.

3 closed sales: 1645 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex 3/2.5 $395K, 398 Old Trail Rd 3/3 $320K, 575 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3 $1.25M.


2 new listings: 898 Rabbit Rd 299K, 218 Violet Dr $390K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1837 Buckthorn Ln listed for $349K.

No closed sales.



3 new listings: Beach Villas #2618 2/2 $685K, Captiva Bay Villas #B 3/3.5 $1.875M, Beach Homes #18 4/3 $2.675M.

No price changes, new or closed sales. 


2 new listings: 16813 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $1.995M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 $10.75M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 17041 Captiva Dr 2/2 listed for $1.695M.

3 closed sales: 15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 $1.55M, 15899 Captiva Dr 4/3 $2.71M, 16838 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 $4.5M.

Nothing to report.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its 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.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

flip flopsHere’s hoping it warms up sooner rather than later, my flip flop wearing feet are chilly! Happy weekend, SanibelSusan

Summer Island Scoop, Plus What’s Happening With the Sanibel Home Market

Photo by our photographer pal, Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

Photo by our photographer pal, Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

It’s SanibelSusan reporting that it has been a slow quiet seven days on Sanibel. Unlike last week, there has been little rain with the few visitors here out having fun in the sun! We did not have an Association of Realtor® Caravan meeting this week, so many sales associates also are taking summer vacations now.

school busLee County Schools start in less than two weeks. Former-Yankees still have trouble understanding why the Florida school year starts so early. With schools back in session, the island traffic will slowly transition into fall.

men workingFirst comes, the August/September period, we islanders refer to as fix-up time. Many restaurants and businesses begin a staggered vacation schedule with facilities being cleaned and spruced up for the upcoming “high season”. Yesterday, the City announced the schedule for this year’s road resurfacing work.  The work begins on Monday, July 29, and includes the following areas:

  • West Gulf Drive (Tarpon Bay Road to west end)
  • Junonia Street (Donax Street to Pyrula Avenue)
  • Oliva Street
  • School Ball Fields access road (Sanibel-Captive Road).

You can tell I had a little extra time on my hands this week, as I have a few more news today. Read the good scoop about Sanibel homes, just before the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service action this week below.

More scenes of summer by Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

More scenes of summer by Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

Home Inspection Red Flags

AOL logo“Daily Real Estate News” on Monday posted the following article sourced to AOL Real Estate. Following the article is SanibelSusan’s revised-edition tailored for Sanibel Island home inspections. Things are a tad different on a barrier island in Florida! The AOL article says:

“A home inspection is a buyer’s opportunity to see if any problems lurk that may prove expensive to fix later. Home inspections nearly always uncover something in a home to watch for or minor repairs needed. But what repairs should buyers especially be alarmed about that could possibly send them back to the negotiation table? Tom Kraeutler of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated radio show on home improvement, points out some of the following home inspection red flags:

  • Termites and pests: The sooner termites are detected, and steps can be taken to get rid of them, the better.
  • Drainage issues: A home that has poor drainage can have wood rot and wet basements and crawlspaces, which can then lead to major mold growth.
  • Mold: Pervasive mold growth may indicate an issue with improper ventilation issues and can also cause health issues to those living in the home.
  • Faulty foundations: A cracked or crumbling foundation could be a very expensive repair.
  • Wiring issues: Outdated wiring or overloaded circuits can pose a fire hazard.”FLRealtors_newlogo

Now some of Susan’s ramblings: In Florida where our standard sales agreement does not provide for renegotiation following an inspection, here are a few contractual things to consider:

  • The standard Florida Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase contains a “Property Inspection and Repair” clause which gives the Buyer the right to inspect during a prescribed time period. Within that inspection period, the Buyer must inform the Seller of any repair items that are not in the condition required by the contract. Then, the Seller is obligated to make the repairs provided they are within the contract’s General Repair Limit (usually 1-1/2% of the purchase price). There is another 1-1/2% limit for Wood Destroying Organisms (i.e. termites and wood rot) and another 1-1/2% for closing out open or expired building permits. Total Seller repair liability often is 4-1/2% of the purchase price. Here, renegotiation does not come into play, unless limits are exceeded.
  •  The Florida “AS IS” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase also contains an inspection clause, but it is called “Property Inspection: Right to Cancel”. This contract similarly gives a Buyer the right to inspect during a prescribed time period. However, with this contract, the Buyer may determine within the inspection period that “in Buyer’s sole discretion, that the property is not acceptable.” With this contract, renegotiation is often the method of compromise used to make the property acceptable to the Buyer.
  •  The most commonly used contract on Sanibel today is the “AS IS” contract. I prefer it too, as it puts the Buyer in the driver’s seat if any repairs are needed and it provides that window for renegotiation – or to walk away – should pricey defects be found that are not easily recognizable.SANSLogo

Real estate here on the island can be different from other areas. For example, homes do not have basements.

Below are SanibelSusan’s Island-Specific Home Inspection Red Flags:

  • Wood rot and termites: On the island where the weather is warm and the moisture level high, exterior surfaces need to be checked, sealed, and painted more often than up north. Up until a few years ago, wood rot (which is really a fungus) was the most common finding by island home inspectors. Over the last 12 months, probably half of the single-family home inspections have found evidence of termites. (These usually are the dry wood variety, the kind that swarm in the spring and can be even transferred from place to place by way of antique furniture.) Our home inspector advises that any wood rot covering an area larger than a quarter should not be filled, but rather, the wood should be replaced. Wood rot does not go away, it must be removed completely! Keeping wood surfaces sealed, dry, and un-shaded by vegetation may help deter it. For termites, inspectors most often recommend tenting to ensure eradication.
  • Pin-hole leaks: Sanibel reverse-osmosis-produced water often creates havoc with copper pipes, so if the property you are buying has any of those, be warned. Reverse osmosis-treated water is aggressive to metallic pipe or to substances that can ionize and dissolve in water – not because of low acidity, but because it is pure and has few dissolved substances in it. This water most-often corrodes through on horizontal copper piping and creates pin-hole leaks that can drip occasionally and then corrode over, often later dripping in another spot. Many owners with property having metal piping have replaced some, if not all, of the copper with a plastic-type piping. Some condo associations replaced piping as a complex project, others have not. Remember too, that it sometimes is easy to replace piping in an elevated home with an open lower level. Ground-level structures, like my home, usually have the original metal pipes in the floor under the concrete. That makes for fun replacement when they start to leak, like mine did last winter. If you need a good plumber, let me know!  
  • Mold: Mold can occur as a result of the pipe-hole leaks mentioned earlier, but more often mold is the result of a leaky roof or aftereffects of storm damage. Nationwide, mold became a topic of media attention a few years ago, much like Chinese drywall, radon, and lead-paint had in years previous. None of these items are found much on Sanibel, but being that this is often-damp Florida a variety of mold spores are often found. If you have health concerns or suspect that a property may have had former storm damage or water intrusion, get a mold test done. The black toxic mold variety is usually found in areas that you cannot see, like behind the walls. If suspected, get air samples taken. The samples are sent to a lab and evaluated for mold spores. Mold reports shown elevated readings and describe the mold varieties that can be of concern.
  • Salt pulping of wood pilings: This is a fuzzy decay and deterioration on wood support pilings. Caused by salt water being absorbed from the ground up into the piling, this process is sometimes described as “wicking” and is much like how a straw works. Sometimes pulping happens because the piling is not dried, aged properly, or treated prior to use. To stop pulping, the water column action must be blocked.
  • Old electrical panels: If a property was built between 1950 and 1990 and is equipped with a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panel with Stab-Lok circuit breakers, there is a risk of breaker malfunction and fire. Also, having this equipment can become an insurance obstacle. (Most insurance providers for a property older than 25 years will require a 4-Point Inspection which evaluates the HVAC, electrical panels and wiring, plumbing connections and fixture, and roof.) Over the last year, inspections for three of my sales were identified as having these panels. Some island condo complexes were built with them, sometimes with two per unit – one for the HVAC equipment and the other the standard electric breaker box. Records show that an estimated 2,800 fires each year directly result for FPE panel breaker malfunction. The company has been out of business for many years.753_Horizon-Inspection_WEB2

There are plenty of home inspectors in Southwest Florida but my favorite is Ron Dehler with Horizon Inspection Service, Inc., otherwise known to some Realtors® as “the deal breaker”. We both think it is better that you find out what you are buying before you buy, rather than after!

Baby Sand Dollars

Sanibel sanddollars, photo by Pam Rambo

Sanibel sanddollars, photo by Pam Rambo

Island shelling enthusiasts know that one of Sanibel’s most popular shellers is Pam Rambo. Pam often leads local shelling tours and her web site features her daily escapades at the beach and what she finds. Her posting about her Sunday evening adventures describes the thousands of baby sand dollars found at Gulfside City Park beach. Above the waterline, she describes many completely-dried mostly-white small ones with little or no “fur”.

Living sanddollars, photo by Pam Rambo

Living sanddollars, photo by Pam Rambo

In the surf, she and her husband found so many live ones (literally thousands) – those dark in color and with hairs along their bodies – that she contacted Dr. Jose Leal at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Kristie Anders, Education Director, and research scientist Dr. Richard Bartleson to find out why.

Dr. Leal told her that it is natural in low-tide situations with the full moon for mass mollusk die-offs or masses of animals exposing themselves (like the many fighting conchs sometimes on the beach). Kristie said that they could be “trying to move away from water that has little oxygen in it. The little bit of surf agitates the water and increases the oxygen much like a bubbler in an aquarium.” Dr. Bartleson said they will try to get some oxygen readings this week and Pam’s site said will provide updated info as she hears it.

Check out Pam’s video of the sand dollars at

2013 NAR (National Association of Realtors®) Home Features Survey

realtor logoThe results of the 2013 NAR Home Features Survey are out. Respondents for this survey purchased their homes within the last two years. They rated the importance of rooms, features (structural, interior, exterior, and neighborhood), and systems as they house-shopped and after they purchased. Here are some interesting statistics from the survey. They are in-line with my experience on the island too.

97% of all buyers are somewhat to very satisfied with their purchase

But there is buyer’s remorse, 55% of the new owners wanted more storage.

Of the buyers who purchased their homes without certain features, over half say they would have paid more for: new appliances, walk-in closets, granite countertops, and hardwood floors. Maybe these are improvements worth considering if you are updating your home with a future sale in mind.

What’s Happening with Sanibel Home Sales?

ASSOC LogoThe off-season always provides the time needed to take a careful look at market activity. This week, I studied the Sanibel Home segment. The tables below show by geographic area the number of homes for sale, their median price, days-on-market, and, for comparison, those under contract, those that have sold this year to-date (through July 25, 2013), and the total sales last year.

What do these statistics say?

Overwhelmingly, the Sanibel home market is hot, inventory is low, and prices are rebounding. Under the title of each search-able location below is a list of some of the communities or subdivisions that are included in that area.

This activity shows that Sanibel’s home market is shifting from a “balanced market” to a “sellers’ market”!

Next week I will post a similar analysis covering the Sanibel condo market.


(Ferry Landing, Sanibel Estates, Sanibel Harbours,

Sanibel Isles, Richardsons, Woodrings)

Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale




Under Contract




2013 Sales




2012 Sales





(Castaway Estates, Del Sega, Dinkins Bayou,

Heron’s Landing, Sanibel Bayous,

Dinkins Bayou)



Median Price $


For Sale




Under Contract




2013 Sales




2012 Sales





(Anchors Aweigh, Caloosa Shores, Castaway

Estates, Del Sega, Harbour Cottages, Kinzie

Island, Sanibel Estates, Sanibel Harbours, Sanibel

Isles, Shell Harbor, Victoria Cove,

Water Shadows, Yachtsman Cove)



Median Price $


For Sale




Under Contract




2013 Sales




2012 Sales





(Cats Paw, Chateaux Sur Mer, Gulf Ridge, Gulf

Shores, Metes & Bounds (West Gulf Dr),

Tradewinds, Seaside)



Median Price $


For Sale




Under Contract




2013 Sales




2012 Sales





(Belle Meade, Betts, Dunes, Foley, Gumbo Limbo,

Mitzi, Periwinkle Pines, Sabal Sands, Sanctuary,

Sanibel Center, Sanibel Gardens, Sanibel

Highlands, Sanibel Lake Estates, Sanibel Pines)



Median Price $


For Sale




Under Contract




2013 Sales




2012 Sales





Bayshore Village, Beachview, Brightwater,

Butterknife, Buttonwood/Seagrape, Chateaux

Sur Mer, Eastwood Landings, Gulf Pines,

Gulf Ridge, Gulf Shores, Heron’s Landing, Kearns,

Kinzie Island, Lagoon Estates, Lake Murex & Little

Lake Murex, Las Conchas del Mar, Las Tiendas,

Leisure Acres, Palm Lake, Rocks East & West,

Sanibel Bayous, Sanibel Estates, Sanibel

Highlands, Sanibel River Estates, Sanibel Shores,

Sanibel Woodlands, Sea Oats, Sea Pines,

Seagate, Seagull Estates, Seahawk, Seaspray,

Southwinds, Terrel Ridge, Tradewinds



Median Price $


For Sale




Under Contract




2013 Sales




2012 Sales




DOM = days on market

* Asking price

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 19-26

3 new listings: Sanibel Arms #C1 1/1 $345K; Sundial #J307 2/2 $519,915; Gulfside Place #121 2/2 $985K.
1 price change: Spanish Cay #C3 2/2 now $335K.
2 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #582 2/2 listed for $549K, Pointe Santo #D2 2/2 listed for $599K.
4 closed sales: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 $165K, Sanibel Arms #A1 2/2 $410K, Sundial #E308 2/2 $785K, Shorewood #1D 3/2 $791K.
3 new listings: 1475 Court Pl 3/1 $289K, 918/920 Main St 5/5 multi-family $449K, 6111 SanCap Rd 3/4.5 $23M.
3 price changes: 1549 Wilton Ln 3/2 now $469K, 1001 Kings Crown Dr 3/2.5 now $999K, 1838 Buckthorn Ln 3/2 now $1.285M.
3 new sales: 1327 Tahiti Dr 2/2 listed for $424.9K, 916 Palm St 5/4 multi-family listed for $529K, 1826 Woodring Rd 3/2 listed for $1.33M (short sale).
2 closed sales: 9319 Kincaid Ct 3/2 $475K, 1066 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $530K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 3351 Saint Kilda Rd now $337,555.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 6401 Pine Ave $644K.


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
3 closed sales: Beach Villas #2222 1/1 $455K, Marina Villas #806 2/2 $565K, Lands End Village #1611 2/2 $1.062.5M
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its 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.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.


Until next month – or next Friday, happy weekend to all!


"Sanibel Sunset" courtsey of JMA Photography

“Sanibel Sunset” courtesy of JMA Photography