It’s Another Happy Friday at SanibelSusan Realty

SanibelSusan here, with the first report in a long time of a cloudy Friday. Following a picture-perfect holiday weekend when the causeway and beaches were busy with families and vacationers, it has been a nice, though quiet week.

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Not as busy as we’d like it though at SanibelSusan Realty. Good weather often keeps phones from ringing, but our listings did get a few showings. teammate Dave accompanied a couple of home inspections, and I showed homes most of Wednesday, while yesterday following our Association of Realtors® meeting, Dave and Elise covered our Caravan Open House, I chaired a meeting at the Association office, we had a good closing, and then Dave was out showing condos too, including our new listing. This afternoon, Dave’s back to holding another Open House, while Elise’s weekly report of the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a few news items below. You’ll probably notice, there was no real estate action on Captiva. That’s unusual.

We had a surprise visit this morning from a family here on vacation. They bought their home through us five years ago and it is always such a treat when we get an update from them. Dad Scott is a terrific photographer and follows my blog. It was great to get his reminder that I may always share the pictures he posts on-line. Their bay-front home has probably one of the most active osprey nests on the island and he said that the last of the three fledglings in the nest this year was hesitant to make its first flight. As a result, he got some terrific close-up shots before it finally used its wings. Thanks for sharing, Scott!

At the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors

SanCapAssnLogoThough attendance was light at our Association of Realtors® meeting yesterday, our new CEO was given a rousing applause. Bill Robinson who joined our Association in 2012 and been promoted to MLS Director and Chief Operating Officer, was announced as our new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Peggy Hummel who will retire at the end of August.

A handful of new sales were announced. I got a thank you for bringing the buyer for Anchor Pointe #C and I gave a thank you to the Realtor® bringing the buyer to Lighthouse Point #129. Just seven properties were on the Caravan that followed, including our new listing at The Sanctuary, Ibis #B102. (Photos of Ibis #B102 below.)

CEO’s Bill and Peggy both later participated in our Communications & Public Relations Committee meeting. Big props to Bill for getting my press release in the “Santiva-Chronicle” within hours of submission. Check out our June 1 progress report on this year’s “Association of Realtors® Working Together to Make A Difference” campaign at

Here Comes The Rainy Season

Sanibelcityseal logoThe rainy season finally is here, with occasional showers expected for a least the next seven days. Though we need the water, it’s always a bit of downer when clear bay and gulf waters get stirred up by storms. We also are always hoping that we don’t get too much rain or water quality can be affected.

To illustrate, Jim Szabo with SanCap Aerial Photography has been taking aerials of the island for many months. On Memorial Day, his Facebook posting next to a stunning post-card like photo, said “Our water around Sanibel is amazingly beautiful. I take weekly 360° interactive panoramic images exclusively for the City of Sanibel.” Then he described that the one posted was taken around 12:30 p.m. at 350 feet above the lighthouse using his airborne camera system.

His message further says, “The City of Sanibel does this to show the current conditions, good or bad, for almost the last year. Toward the end of June, we will be able to compare current conditions to a year ago. Big thanks to the City of Sanibel for doing this.”

His images can be seen at Scroll down when you get to that page and you will see links to weekly panoramic aerials taken at Lighthouse Beach Park going back to June 28, 2016. (Check out the difference between early and late June last year, it’s amazing.) There also are some taken from Gulfside City Park, Blind Pass, Clam Bayou, and the Causeway.

20 Questions To Ask When Buying a Condo

Buying or selling, it’s good to be aware of these questions and how they apply to a property.This provided courtesy of FloridaRealtors®.


Sanibel School Tops District on State Test

sanibel schoolMany of us wish we’d found Sanibel when our families were young. The Sanibel School is one of the reasons why.

As reported in this week’s “Islander”, “The Sanibel School was one of two schools in the district that had 97% of its third-grade students score a three or higher on the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) English Language Arts test.” This is an increase from last year’s 94%. The state percentage was 58%, compared to 54% last year. This is the third year that students in the county have taken the FSA. Although the Sanibel School tied with Pine Island Elementary School, their overall score was highest at 325, compared to their 318.

Congratulations to The Sanibel School for focusing on lots of reading. The school has offered a reading roundup for kids who were struggling, by offering more reading time during the school day. F.I.S.H. also sponsored after school tutoring to any student needing extra help.

The local district ranked third out of 10 mega districts in the State of Florida based on this last English Language Arts test.

Shell Mueum to Hold Bunche Beach Clean-Up

bailey-mathews shell museum signThe Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will celebrate World Oceans Day on Wed, June 8 from 7 to 9 a.m. when museum staff and their Shell Ambassadors will hold a clean-up at Bunche Beach (at 18201 John Morris Rd). The public is invited to participate.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. uses 380 billion plastic bags per year and only 3% of that is recycled. This is the first time that the Museum has participated in World Oceans Day, but not the first time they have held a clean-up at Bunche Beach. It was selected instead of Sanibel because it seems to be more of a hotspot for trash and debris. If you can help with the clean-up, please register with Stefanie at Their tips for cutting down on plastic:

  • Use a reusable bag.
  • Use a reusable water bottle.
  • Say no to straws.
  • Bring your own containers for take-out/leftover food.
  • Stop chewing gum (it contains a molecule that is used in making plastic).
  • Shop local farmer’s markets.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 26-June 2, 2017



2 new listings: Sanddollar #B301 2/2 $1.149M, Sanddollar #A303 3/2 $1.349M.

4 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #371 2/2 now $529K, Lighthouse Point #211 2/2 now $629K, Pine Cove #102 3/2 now $1.315M, High Tide #A102 3/2.5 now $1.495M.

No new sales.

5 closed sales: Sundial West #D403 1/1 $420K, Sunset South #10C 2/2 $725K, Beachcomber #A102 2/2 $1.25M (our listing), Tamarind #A102 2/2 $1.495M, Somerset #E202 3/2.5 $1.54M.


3 new listings: 9409 Moonlight Dr 3/2.5 $599K, 9459 Begonia Ct 3/4 $649K, 5280 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 $729K.

5 price changes: 3008 Singing Wind Dr 2/2 now $449K; 1817 Atlanta Plaza Dr 3/2 now $449.9K; 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $679K; 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 now $768,885; 601 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 now $685K.

4 new sales: 986 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex listed at $529K, 746 Cardium St 4/2 duplex listed at $729K, 1809 Bowmans Beach Rd 3/2 listed at $799.9K, 1475 Angel Dr 3/4.5 listed at $1.649M.

5 closed sales: 770 Donax St 2/2 $422.5K; 1747 Serenity Ln 3/2 $490,723; 1210 Par View Dr 4/2 $680K; 1028 Demere Ln 3/2 $892.5K; 2451 Blind Pass Ct 4/4.5 $1.81M.


No new listings.

1 price change: 2998 Singing Wind Dr now $189K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 5121 Sanibel-Captiva Rd $180K.


No activity 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.)

Until next Friday,happy friday

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Island Shelling Bonanza for Labor Day

Lighthouse beach 09-01-16

Sanibel Lighthouse beach yesterday 9/1/2016, photo by Andy Johnson, Sanibel Surveys



It is SanibelSusan reporting that all is well on Sanibel. The islands did not have much sunshine this week. It tried to peek out a little mid-morning, but this afternoon just brought another heavy rain band from Hermine. We certainly are thankful that tropical storm passed by yesterday with just a few showers, wind, and a little high water, before it developed into Florida’s first hurricane in 11 years.

Early today, it swept ashore near Tallahassee and may cause havoc over the few days as it heads through Georgia, the Carolinas, and the eastern seaboard. Certainly not what many want for their last holiday weekend of the summer.


Photo of some found after the storm, photo by Pam Rambo,

Though Hermine missed the islands, we knew she was out there as high tide about midday yesterday pushed water up over many docks and seawalls. High water washed over many sea turtle nests too.


Later, much of the island was without power briefly in the afternoon and then local TV stations were on the causeway late day filming the waves crashing across the bridge barriers. Really much to do about nothing. The locals are ready for some great shelling once the waves subside.

Holiday occupancy this weekend could be hit or miss with many properties now vacant after getting cancellations. Most flights in and out of the regional airport were posted as on time this morning, but interstate highway travel probably is hampered since north-south I-75 and east-west I-10 were in the cross-hairs of the storm.

Though it dropped a lot of rain on Florida, the storm’s path also spared Lake Okeechobee so should not result in increased water releases down the Caloosahatchee River. Sanibel Natural Resources director, James Evans, was quoted midweek as saying that “flows from the lake have actually decreased this week.” That’s what we like to hear!

The action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below. With September always the “slow” month on the island, it is a good time to preview property, sooo if you are thinking of buying, now is the time to look

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

bailey-mathews shell museum signThe Shell Museum is starting an ambassador program which will train volunteers to be educational guides on Sanibel’s beaches. These trained volunteers will be on the beaches, wearing “ambassador” shirts, answering questions and training visitors about the ecosystem and Florida shelling laws. Training will start in October, call the museum for more info (239-395-2233 or 888-679-6450).

Inaugural Sanibel Jazz & Blues Festival

Sponsored by the Sanibel/Captiva Optimist Club, the first Sanibel Jazz & Blues Festival is planned at the Bailey’s Shopping Center on November 6 from 1 to 7:30 p.m. Proceeds to benefit college scholarships.

Headliners include: Matt Schofield, blues guitarist & singer from England; JP Soars & the Red Hots; and the local favorite Marty Stokes Band.

Ding Darling Society logo“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge New Web Site

Check it out at


  • NewDocFords

    The new Doc Ford’s opening 9/9/16.

    Doc Ford’s – It’s finally happening! The Doc Ford’s on Rabbit Road will serve its last meals over the holiday weekend (on Monday Labor Day night), then it’s on to their new flagship location at the corner of Island Inn and Tarpon Bay Road across the street from Bailey’s Shopping Center. I had my last lunch at their old location today where they are excited, but sad to be saying goodbye. They will have an “open house” at their new building on Thursday, September 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., then the new restaurant will open officially next Friday, September 9. The menu at their new location will be the same. One of the biggest differences at the new facility is the size of the kitchen which is twice as big. The new restaurant is ~7,600 sq. ft. and seats about 225, similar to their old, but the new restaurant is all under one roof. The interior was built with mostly reclaimed materials. The wood is reclaimed and the lighting fixtures were taken from vintage boats and refurbished.

  • Ickle Pickle Children’s Boutique – has moved to Palm Ridge Plaza (across from CVS).
  • MacIntosh Books & Paper – also has relocated to 2330 Palm Ridge Road,

South Florida Housing

core logic logoAccording to a S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index released this week, South Florida (Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties) outperformed most of the nation with a 6.9% annual increase in home prices (in June).

CoreLogic Case-Shiller indexes cover states, counties, metros and ZIP codes across the US and help securities investors, mortgage banks, servicing operations, and government agencies make property valuations, assess and manage risk, mitigate losses, and control appraisal quality.

The growth in prices ranked these counties on Florida’s west coast beaches sixth among 20 metro areas nationwide. Portland, OR., led all areas with a 12.6% price gain, followed by Seattle (11%) and Denver (9.2%).

Dallas, at 8.9%, and Tampa, at 7.9%, were the only other markets with higher price increases than South Florida in June. The national average was 5.1%.

David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P, said that the housing market overall remains healthy, driven in part by a limited supply of homes for sale. “Nationally, home prices have risen at a consistent 4.8% annual pace over the last two years without showing any signs of slowing,” he said.

Housing analysts consider the index one of the best barometers of home prices. It measures the price of the same house over time, though the index trails local Realtor® association figures.

According to an article Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale’s “Sun Sentinel”, “South Florida Realtor® boards released reports last week for July showing annual price increases among single-family homes in all three counties despite declines in sales. Some agents say buyers are holding off because sellers aren’t pricing properties to market value.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 26-September 2, 2016



5 new listings: Mariner Pointe 2/2 #522 $495K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #733 2/2 $519K, Mariner Pointe #533 2/2 $529K, Blind Pass #B203 3/2 $575K, Sundial East #L401 2/2 $749K.

Pool to bay view

View from Mariner Pointe #522


1 price change: Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.1345M.

2 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #462 2/2 listed at $539K, Surfside 12 #B3 3/2 listed at $1.124M.

2 closed sales: Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 $584.15K, Sundial West #A203 1/1 $700K.


2 new listings: 1040 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $639K, 5125 Joewood Dr 3/4 $2.595M.

2 price changes: 5240 Caloosa End Ln 3/3 now $999.9K, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.849M.

No new sales.

5 closed sales: 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $435K, 975 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $706K, 823 Limpet Dr 3/2/2 $1.18M, 2251 Starfish Ln 4/3.5 $1.189M, 4257 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $4.225M.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1837 Buckthorn Ln now $439.9K.

No closed sales.



No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Marina Villas #807 2/2 listed at $670K.

No closed sales.


2 new listings: 11535 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.549M, 15133 Captiva Dr 3/3 $3.295M.

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.)

labor dayUntil next Friday, wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Mid-September Real Estate Update

At the Fulgur Street beach access looking east 09-14-12

It has been another fairly quiet week on the islands, but plenty of pre-season work is evident everywhere.

New elevator at Sanibel Siesta 09-14-12

I heard the first reports yesterday of business picking up with winter vacation rentals. That activity usually means temperatures are dropping up north and folks are starting to plan their winter getaways.

At the Fulgar St beach access looking west over a turtle nesting area 09-14-12

At the Fulgur St beach access looking west over a turtle nesting area 09-14-12

The first snow bird returned on my street this week too. Those who homestead most likely will be back early, to vote.

Just a handful of sales and new listings were announced at our Realtor Caravan Meeting yesterday, but attendance was up – another indicator that “season” is just around the corner. Elise’s report below the MLS activity this week. Lisa and Dave were out previewing new inventory yesterday and I am working on the class I will be teaching at the Association Office next week on the Resort and 2nd-Home Market as part of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist Designation. Quite a few Realtors®, including some well-experienced ones, are signed up so I am digging deep. Should be fun!

Another Sign That Home Prices Have Hit Bottom

This article from “Daily Real Estate News” this week was sourced to “The Wall Street Journal”: “Economists are increasingly confident that home prices have bottomed out. 

“For the last three years, home prices have usually risen in the spring and summer to only then lose all of those increases—plus more—in the fall and winter months. However, economists expect this year to be different and do not foresee such a big drop to occur to home prices in the colder months ahead, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the fall months likely will bring out some sort of decrease in recent home price increases, “we have a much better supply and demand dynamic” than in previous years, Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist, told The Wall Street Journal. Home prices have posted some of their largest year-over-year jumps compared to the last six years. 

“According to CoreLogic, home prices have risen 9.6% from February, which was the month prices reached their lowest levels since the housing slowdown. Economists say it’s unlikely that, given recent indicators, home prices will reverse course steeply and fall 9.6% or even more in the coming months. Home prices haven’t dropped by that type of percentage since the economy was in a recession.”

Americans Keep Feeling Better About Housing

An article posted on Florida Realtors® on Tuesday says: “Consumer sentiment regarding the housing market continues its modestly positive trend, according to Fannie Mae’s August 2012 National Housing Survey.

“Americans maintained a cautious but improving outlook on the housing market and homeownership. In August, more people said it’s a good time to sell, and more expect housing prices to rise over the next year. However, Fannie Mae says stalling household financial expectations and declining economic optimism likely mean the housing market recovery rate will remain tempered. “Consumer attitudes toward the housing market remain modestly positive, despite signs of increased concern over the direction of the economy,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae.

“Survey respondents expect home prices to increase 1.6% in the next year, on average, down slightly from the high of 2.0% in June. The number of respondents who expect home prices to decline totaled 11% – the lowest level since the survey began in June 2010. Eighteen percent say it’s a good time to sell, marking the highest level since the survey’s inception. Regarding mortgage rates, 40% expect a rise in the next 12 months, an increase of 4% points over July.

“Meanwhile, the survey showed increasing consumer pessimism about the direction of the overall economy. The number of respondents who believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction ticked up 2% points to 60%, the third consecutive rise and the highest reading since January. Those who expect their financial situation to worsen dipped to 13%, while those expecting their situation to remain the same increased modestly to 41%.”

Upcoming Island Events

Sept 15 – Tomorrow is the 27th Annual Coastal Cleanup “Keep Lee County Beautiful”. Be at the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Nature Center at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road at 9 a.m. to participate.

Oct 3 – Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s 3rd Annual Celebrity Island Dinner at Trader’s Cafe & Store.

Oct 6 – Annual Blue Ribbon Golf Classic fundraiser for The Sanibel School at The Sanctuary Golf Club. The Sanibel School has earned the Blue Ribbon Designation, as well as an “A” rating, for the past 11 years.

Oct 13 – FISH (Friends in Service of Sanibel) have announced open registration for the 4th annual 10K Race 4 FISH to take place on Saturday, October 13. The event is a major fundraiser for FISH with more than 400 runners are expected this year.

Oct 15-Dec 1 – BIG ARTS World of Fashion Exhibit

Sanibel City Budget

Last Saturday, Sanibel City Council worked at a special session to further reduce a budget that is almost $10M less than last year’s and about $19M less than was actually spent. City taxes account for about 16% of a property owner’s total tax bill.

A few highlights of the tentative budget according to the “Island Sun” include:

  • ·       “Proposed millage of 2.1398 is 53% less than the rolled-back rate.
  • ·       “City salaries remain flat for the 5th consecutive year.
  • ·       “Full-time employees reduced from 142 in 2007 to 114 in FY13.”

2012 TRIM Notices

Today is the last day to appeal Lee County 2012 tax assessments. They are available on-line at

Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 7-14

4 new listings:  Island Beach Club #P1E 2/2 $649K, Coquina Beach #2E 2/2 $675K, Sandpiper Beach #404 2/2 $695K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 $785K.

The Colony Resort aka Colonnades

1 price change:  Colonnades #47 1/1 now $130K (our listing).


Pointe Santo C43 view

4 new sales: Blind Pass #B102 2/2 listed for $359K, Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 listed for $399K, Loggerhead Cay #232 2/2 listed for $498.7K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 listed for $949K (our buyer).

1 closed sale:  Sundial #G107 1/1 $215K.

1 new listing:  3344 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $629,977.
6 price changes:  1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 now $589K; 445 East Gulf Dr 3/2 now $609K; 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 now $772K; 6001 Clam Bayou Ln 3/2 now $875K; 848 Limpet Dr 3/2.5 now $1,199,999; 2899 Wulfert Rd 4/4/2 now $2.898M. 
5 new sales: 1647 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $325K, 1000 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $347.5K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 listed for $349.9K, 1753 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $479.8K, 3825 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $2.35M.
3 closed sales:  731 Nerita St 3/2 $475K, 1232 Isabel Dr 3/3 $1.85M, 615 Lighthouse Way 3/4.5 $2.1M.

1 new listing:  3761 Coquina Dr $350K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
Nothing to report.

No new listings.
1 price change:  17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $4.1M.
1 new sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 listed for $1.999M.
1 closed sale:  53 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 $590K.

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. 

Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate Ready for Labor Day Buyers

Yes, we are all breathing a sigh of relief on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Our “for sale” signs which were removed in advance of Tropical Storm Issac now are back into position, most properties have had their pool and porch furniture moved back out, and we are all looking forward to typical Florida summer weather this weekend – bright blue skies, big white popcorn clouds, and maybe a quick afternoon shower just before a spectacular sunset.

Hopefully the island will be busy over the holiday weekend. I heard today that most of the island nightly rental units are booked.

SanibelSusan Realty will be open right through the weekend, including on Monday, hoping to catch some Labor Day business.

Tropical Storm Isaac Will Cost Owners Less

Though I am not aware of any local damage from Tropical Storm Isaac, I thought this article posted today on-line on Florida Realtors® interesting. “Most Florida insurance policies switch gears when damage is inflicted by a hurricane rather than other problems. However, the definition of a hurricane is outlined in Florida law. Since Tropical Storm Isaac was not declared a hurricane until Tuesday, Aug 28, at 11:20 a.m., property insurance policies should not use the unique hurricane standards against any homeowner who puts in a claim for storm damages. In most cases that means homeowners will pay a smaller deductible; in some cases, it’s a much lower deductible. Kevin McCarty, commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, sent a memo to insurers on Aug. 30. He reminded them that the law defines windstorm damage as “wind, wind gusts, hail, rain, tornadoes, or cyclones caused by or resulting from a hurricane which results in direct physical loss or damage to property.” For most Florida homeowners – except possibly for those in the western Panhandle – Tropical Storm Isaac damage occurred before the storm became an official hurricane. “For these property losses, all insurers must apply the deductible that is unrelated to hurricane, generally referred to as the ‘all other perils deductible’ or ‘other than hurricane deductible,” McCarty said in a memorandum. “An insurer that fails to apply the appropriate deductible is subject to administrative action.””

Thursday Island Realtor Caravan Meeting

Though the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® had their bi-weekly Caravan Meeting yesterday, there were neither any new listings announced nor any open for viewing. This is definitely not the way we like this time of the year. Rather, this is the time of the year when we expect to see new listings.

It appears that the upcoming election has affected seller confidence, though I think that we will see good real estate action over the next few weeks. There already is evidence of long-time fence-sitters recognizing that the market is turning.

School Shell Collection Kits

Now that most schools are back in session, you might mention to those in your area, that the Sanibel Shell Museum offers a collection of seashells with an accompanying teacher’s guide for schools, children’s museums, and similar educational organizations. The Shell Collection Kit is designed to be part of classroom curricula for grades 4 through 8.

The kits which include shells and accompanying videos are available for purchase at the Museum website. More than 2,000 schools and museums in the U.S., American Samoa, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ecuador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and Switzerland already have received kits.

Mariner Pointe New Seawall

Those driving on and off island this summer have watched the renovation project work at Mariner Pointe condominiums including replacing the nearly 900′ seawall along the bay, as well as the wooden boardwalk along the top.

According to Dave Wahl, the property manager, the nearly $1/2-million project also included an additional rip-rap barrier, native plant landscaping, irrigation, and external lighting along the boardwalk. The seawall which originally was constructed in the early 70’s had been scheduled for replacement in 2017, but was showing significant signs of wear and tear.

A client and now a happy Mariner Pointe owner, Dianne Reich, spearheaded the selection of the new plantings along the new 60′ boardwalk. They include sea lavender, beach sunflowers, golden creepers, muhly grass, Christmas berry, sea oats, beach verbena, and blanket flowers. It’s very attractive!

The walkway was constructed from treated Tandex boards and it has several bench seats. Perfect for manatee and dolphin viewing! Nice job, Dave, Dianne, and our other friends at Mariner Pointe. (As a former Mariner Pointe owner and resident, SanibelSusan always recommends this complex to boaters, fishermen, and other water-lovers.)

Annual Street Resurfacing

The City’s annual street resurfacing projects began nearly two weeks ago and will continue for another month. Some of the paving is done at night to minimize inconvenience. Every year, the City resurfaces selected roads based on a time schedule and existing condition. This year’s project involves 13 streets (East Periwinkle Way (Causeway Blvd to Kings Crown), Periwinkle Way (Cause Blvd to just east of Huxter’s), Periwinkle Way (just west of Casa Ybel to just west of Palm Ridge), Causeway Blvd, Lindgren Blvd, the 4-way stop, Tarpon Bay Rd, Purdy Ln, Roseate Ln, Ibis Ln, Baltusrol Ct, Troon Ct, and Wulfert Rd; plus Nerita St paving (currently unpaved); and several other small projects. 

Temporary Membership Available at The Sanctuary Golf Community

In an e-mail received today from Sheryl Tatum, Director of Membership and Marketing at The Sanctuary Golf Club, she reminded Realtors of the Temporary Membership available at the club and advises that it is suitable for prospects staying there while they are looking for a home and would like golf/tennis/dining. Here are the details: 

“Temporary Members have, for their limited one or two month membership, the same use of and access to the Club’s facilities as Equity Members, but without any voting or redemption rights or an Equity position in the Club, and cannot play in tournaments.  The Temporary Membership duration is one month or two months and is not renewable.  Temporary Members do not have any additional fees or food and beverage minimums. Cost is $5,000 for 1 month, $7,500 for 2 months. They also have Introductory, Equity, and Social Memberships available.” 

Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 24-31

1 new listing: Golden Beach #2 3/2.5 $1.495M.
3 price changes: Sundial #H107 1/1 now $354K, Pointe Santo #D35 2/2 now $669K, Pointe Santo #A21 2/2 now $795K.
1 new sale: Sundial #G207 1/1 listed for $239.9K.
2 closed sales: Sundial #E305 2/2 $795K, Compass Point #153 2/2 $1.05M.
3 new lsitings: 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 $349.9K, 490/460 Old Trail Rd 3/2 $390K (short sale), 4207 Gulf Pines Dr 4/4.5 $1.1M.
2 price changes: 1536 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $433.5K, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 now $1.849M.
4 new sales: 531 Piedmont Rd 2/2 listed for $314.9K, 2991 Singing Winds 3/2 listed for $379.9K (our buyer), 1603 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex listed for $435K, 615 Lighthouse Way 3/4.5 listed for $2.495M.
3 closed sales:  2102 Egret Cir 3/2 $300K, 940 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 $465K, 1120 Junonia St 3/2 $612.5K.
1 new listing:  1898 Woodring Rd $3.17M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.

No new listings.
1 price change: Bayside Villas #5132 1/2 now $273.9K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #1B 2/2 $615K.
Nothing to report.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: 13470 Palmflower Ln $650K.

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.



Midway Thru June With Summer in Full Swing on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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It has been another week of glorious weather on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. With one of our teammates vacationing at Pointe Santo with her family, we have heard some terrific reports about the children’s programs there, from movie night with pizza and popcorn to island-style arts and crafts projects. Their family has also enjoyed Bubble Room desserts (bet you did not know it was filmed this week for a segment on the Food Channel), golf at The Dunes, plus shelling and Segway adventures. They are having plenty of fun with sunny skies, beautiful sunsets, and temperatures in the low 90’s! The above photos are from our Pointe Santo archives! 

Florida Voters

Thousands of property owners stand to save millions of dollars collectively every year if enough voters approve Amendment 4 during the general election in Florida this November. Amendment 4 will provide much-needed property tax relief to non-homestead owners (commercial, vacation/second home and investors) and first-time buyers. The measure requires approval by 60% of voters. To learn more, visit

International Sales Continue to Climb in U.S. Market

Florida Realtors® posted this article on Monday. It illustrates again why it is important to stay in the forefront with international buyers. SanibelSusan is one of only two Sanibel and Captiva Realtors® with the Transnational Referral Certified (TRC) designation and the only one with “platinum” standing or top-billing when a prospective buyer searches on-line at for a local Realtor® trained in working with international buyers.

“Due to low prices and the relative weakness of the dollar, international buyers continue to identify the U.S. as a desirable place to own property and make a profitable investment. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.5 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011. Total international sales were evenly split between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants. The survey asked Realtors® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2012.

““Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami and 2002 President of Florida Realtors®. “Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients. Foreign buyers also have the advantage of working with a Realtor. Realtors who specialize in serving international clientele have a truly global perspective; they know what hurdles foreign buyers face when purchasing property in the U.S., and have the expertise and knowledge that comes from working with clients from different cultures and real estate practices.”

“International buyers bought homes throughout the country, but four states accounted for 51% of the purchases – Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Florida has been the fastest growing destination of choice, accounting for 26% of foreign purchases. California was second with 11% and Texas and Arizona accounted for seven percent. Proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives and friends, the convenience of air transportation, and climate and location are all important considerations to prospective foreign buyers. Locations on the East Coast generally attract European buyers, while Asian buyers tend to purchase on the West Coast, particularly California.

“Florida attracts a diverse set of international buyers including South Americans, Europeans and Canadians. Meanwhile, Texas remains popular among Mexican buyers. Within markets in an individual state, it is not unusual to find concentrations of people grouped by nationality.

““Foreign buyers recognize that owning a home in the U.S. has many benefits, both financial and social,” said Veissi. “Many purchase property as an investment, vacation home or to diversify their portfolio. In addition, many recent immigrants view homeownership as an important accomplishment. They believe that being a homeowner is one of many ways they become established in the U.S. and attain stability, security and a sense of community.”

“International buyers came from all over the globe, but Canada, China (The People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong), Mexico, India and the United Kingdom accounted for 55% of all international transactions, according to the survey. Canada and China remain the fastest-growing home countries. Canada accounted for 24% of international sales while China accounted for 11%, up from nine percent in 2011. Mexico was third with eight percent of sales and India and the U.K. both accounted for six percent.

“Forty-five percent of international purchases were under $250,000. In addition, there appears to be a gradual increasing trend toward purchases in the $250,000 to $500,000 price range. In 2012, this range accounted for 30% of purchases, up from 28% in 2011. The average price paid by an international buyer was $400,000 compared to the overall U.S. average of $212,000.

“Several reasons account for why the average international home price is higher than the average overall price. The international client is typically wealthier than the domestic buyer and is looking for a property in a specialized niche, for example, a larger property suitable for multi-generational living or a property that establishes the individual’s presence and standing in the community. Many homes purchased by foreign buyers are used as a primary residence. Vacation and rental use are also major reasons for a purchase. More than half – 66% – of survey respondents reported international buyers purchased detached single-family homes. About half of international buyers, 52%, preferred to buy in a suburban area and about a quarter, 23%, bought in a central city/urban area.

“Sixty-two percent of international purchases were all cash, which has increased since 2007. International buyers still experience many financing challenges when purchasing a home in the U.S. In fact, among transactions that failed, Realtors reported that in 26% of the cases financing issues were the problem. The difficulties facing foreign buyers in trying to obtain a mortgage include lack of U.S.-based credit history and hurdles in meeting mortgage requirements. Other reasons for not purchasing properties were cost/taxes/insurance and immigration laws.

“Twenty-seven percent of Realtors reported having worked with international clients this year. Fifty-two percent of Realtors reported that international transactions accounted for one to 10% of their total transactions, while 27% reported that they made up more than 10% of total transactions. Realtor specialization on the buyer’s side of the market – such as foreign language capabilities, cultural affinity or orientation with the prospective purchaser and experience in explaining the U.S. real estate – appear to be important in working with foreign buyers.”

Why Do Lenders Require More Documentation Than Before?

In an e-blast from a local lender, the following was offered as explanation for the need for so much documentation when securing a bank mortgage today:

“So often, clients complain about the amount of documentation that banks are requiring today when a borrower applies for a home mortgage.

“Explanation:  Banks obtain most of the money they lend from the agencies known as “Fannie Mae” or “Freddie Mac”.  After the loan closes, the loan is packaged up and sold to the investor (Fannie or Freddie). These investors have checklists of documents that MUST be in the loan package when it is delivered to them.  Buyers should be advised that banks now require much more documentation than ever before, because these investors require it. This extra documentation adds time to loan processing too. Conventional loans need a minimum of 30 days, usually longer.”

The article also included the following information tips:

“1.   All files are documented equally.  It doesn’t matter if a buyer is putting down 5% or 50%, the same documentation is required from each borrower.

2.   All unusual or large deposits must be documented and sourced.

3.   Verbal verifications of employment are conducted on all loans 48 hours prior to closing.

4.   Tax transcripts requested by a lender from the IRS are required in all files and must be received from the IRS before a loan is underwritten.

5.  Appraisals and purchase contracts are checked for accuracy.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 8-15:

3 new listings: Sanctuary Golf Villages #2 3/3 $599K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 $949K, Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $982K.
2 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #232 2/2 now $547.5K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now 599K.
No new sales.
4 closed sales: Sundial #B207 1/1 $269K, Sandpebble #4E 2/2 $340K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 $439K, Junonia #202 2/2 $775K.  
1 new listing: 3968 Coquina Dr 3/2 $749K.
6 price changes: 613 Sea Oats Dr 2/2 now $375K, 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $485K, 1271 SandCastle Rd 3/2.5 now $589K, 5820 Pine Tree Dr 2/2 now $649.9K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 $651.5K, 780 Birdie View Dr 5/4.5 now $1.899M.
4 new sales: 1001 East Gulf Dr 2/2 listed for $399K, 701 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $519K, 1274 Par View Dr 3/3 listed for $644K, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 listed for $2.464M (short sale).
4 closed sales: 533 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $415K, 335 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $759,050, 5864 Pine Tree Dr 3/3.5 $805K, 3401 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $4.1M.
Nothing to report.
No new listings.
1 price change: Bayside Villas:  #5134 1/2 now $274.5K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5338 3/3 $557.5K.HOMES
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.

Happy Fathers’ Day & happy weekend to all.

Families Love Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Sanibel weather this week has been terrific, though nearing summertime temperatures. All of a sudden, we have seen a huge drop-off in traffic and phone calls. Other offices report the same and our friends in the vacation-rental business said that rental inquires have dropped off to almost nothing this week. It is pretty typical for this time of the year with school years finishing up, graduations etc. Activity should pick up some over the Memorial Day weekend and then more as summer vacations begin.

There was light turn-out at our first off-season biweekly Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday. Only a handful of new listings were “open” for viewing, mostly properties that could not be viewed during high-season because of heavy rentals.

Here are a few island news items, followed by a report of the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity over the past seven days. To especially honor all the Moms, included are some fun postings for families.

Happy Mothers’ Day weekend to all!

Family-Friendly Destination

Below is an excerpt from an article posted Monday on a Canadian site called “Just the Facts Kid”. ( It says:

Parents would be hard-pressed to find a more family-friendly destination than Sanibel Island, Florida.

“It’s convenient…Located on the Gulf Coast side of Florida. Sanibel Island is just 45 minutes from the Fort Myers airport.

“It’s the perfect combination of nature and fun…Sanibel Island is just 12 miles long and five miles wide. More than 60% of the island is protected wildlife reserve and its white sand beaches go on for miles and miles. There is little to do besides swim, relax, play in the sand and hunt for seashells. (Sanibel boasts over 250 varieties!)

“It will make you feel like you’re in the islands…with all the American conveniences just a three-mile causeway ride away.”

Summer Happenings for the Kiddos

Every year it seems that there are more and more offerings on Sanibel and Captiva in the off-season for children. Here is a summary of some of the camps and special summer programs coming up:

BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp – BIG ARTS is now accepting camper enrolments for its weekly “creative” sessions beginning in June. Camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning June 4 and running through July 27. Activities include acrylic painting, ceramics, dance, glass fusing, photography, puppetry, improvisational acting, music appreciation, film editing, folk art, and general arts and crafts. Middle and high school students have the option to attend camp solely as a student or select to participate in the fine arts apprentice program, spending half day as a student and the other half assisting instructors of K-5 classes. Tuition assistance is available too. For more info, stop by BIG ARTS at 900 Dunlop Road, call 395-0900, email, or log on at

“Ding” Darling Brings Back Family Programs – June 4 through August 15 the JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel has free, fun programs designed especially for families. With support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), the refuge is offering five free education programs this year. No pre-registration is necessary:

  • Natural Wonders, held every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 1 p.m. – What makes a bird a bird? Why is a manatee called a “sea cow”? Is it a crocodile or alligator? Find the answers to these questions and more by joining a naturalist in exploring the refuge’s unique eco-system. Geared for adults and children, this 30-minute program meets in the Education Center Lab.
  • Indigo Trail Hike, held every Tuesday at 10 a.m. – Join refuge naturalists as they lead a one-hour tour identifying and discussing the eco-system’s plants, animals, birds, and reptiles. Fun for adults and children alike. Bring water and bug spray. Meet at the flagpole in front of the Education Center.
  • Refuge Caravan Tour, held every Wednesday and Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Ride along on a car caravan tour of the refuge’s Wildlife Drive. This 90-minute tour highlights the natural wonders of the unique mangrove ecosystem and the wildlife that call it home. Meet at the flagpole in front of the Education Center.
  •  Family Beach Walk, held every Thursday at 9 a.m. Back by popular demand and in partnership with the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the program convenes at Gulfside City Park for a one-hour exploration of the refuge’s gulf-front Perry Tract. (City parking fees apply.)

For more info on the refuge summer programs, call 472-1100 or visit

Summer Day Camp at Sanibel Recreation Center – Summer day camp at the City of Sanibel Recreation Center begins on May 29. This year, the camp has 10 one-week sessions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Children who are entering first through eighth grade may attend one week or more. More info at

Junior Sailing Camp at Captiva Island Yacht Club – Registration is now open for the 3rd season of the Junior Sailing Camp to be held at the Captiva Yacht Club. The program is open to children ages 8 to 18 of all experience levels. At the end of each 2-week session students will be able to sail a boat single-handedly, be certified in powerboat safety, if they choose, and properly handle a kayak. The 1st session is from July 9 to 20 and will be geared toward the beginning sailor. The 2nd session is July 16 to 27 and will be geared toward sailors who have had an introduction to sailing and want to learn more about racing and tuning the boat for speed. Each Friday, the program will have “Fun Fridays” including paddle boarding, kayaking, and a sailing outing. At the conclusion of each session, students will demonstrate their new skills at a Parents’ and Friends’ Day Luncheon held at the Club. Get more info, including qualifications, at 472-9627 or

Florida in Top Five for Home Price Appreciation

An article posted on Florida Realtors® today, says:

“Tighter housing inventories are starting to lift home prices, says Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s CEO. CoreLogic’s latest home price index, which includes distressed sales, shows a slight month-over-month nationwide increase of 0.6% in home prices from February to March. But some markets are seeing much more of a price boost this spring, including Florida, which ranked No. 5 overall for home price increases. “This spring, the housing market is responding to an improving balance between real estate supply and demand, which is causing stabilization in house prices,” says Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist. “Although this has been the case in each of the last two years, the difference this year is that stabilization is occurring without the support of tax credits and in spite of a declining share of REO sales.”
States with highest appreciation – According to CoreLogic, the following states had the highest appreciation in March (this includes distressed sales):
• Wyoming: +5.9%
• West Virginia: +5.3%
• Arizona: +5.1%
• North Dakota: +4.7%
• Florida: +4.5%
States with biggest depreciation – Meanwhile, the states with the greatest depreciation, when also figuring in distressed sales, are:
• Delaware: -10.6%
• Illinois: -8.3%
• Alabama: -8%
• Georgia: -7.3%
• Nevada: -5.8%”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 4-11

No new listings.
7 price changes: Sundial #D412 1/1 now $315K, Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 now $494K, Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 now $496K, Pointe Santo #D24 2/2 now $655K, Pointe Santo #D35 2/2 now $679K, Oceans Reach #2D2 2/2 now $749K, Beachcomber #A101 2/2 now $1.495M.
4 new sales:. Captains Walk #D3 1/1 listed for $140K, Sundial #F407 1/1 listed for $297.5K, Pine Cove #102 3/2 listed for $879K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4 3/3 listed for $948K.
5 closed sales: Coquina Beach #5A 2/2 $300K, Coquina Beach #4G 2/2 $385K, Tarpon Beach #104 2/2 $645K, Sayana #202 2/2 $825K, Sundial #T306 3/2 $900K.

3 new listings: 1809 Bowman’s Beach Rd 3/2 $600K, 1405 Jamaica Dr 3/2.5 $659K, 2498 Harbour Ln 4/3 $995K.
2 price changes: 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 now $659.5K, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 now $2.464M.
5 new sales: 1657 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 half-duplex listed for $349K, 533 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed for $499.5K, 740 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $599K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 listed for $858.9K, 926 Whelk 4/3 listed for $1.295M.
6 closed sales:  3812 Coquina Dr 3/2 $405K; 1417 Causey Ct 3/2 $525K; 215 Robinwood Cir 3/2 $590K; 231 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 $725K; 1735 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 $747,757; 440 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $885K.

No new listings.
1 price change: 133 Butterknife Pl now $339K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 555 Piedmont Rd $140K (our listing), 1326 Junonia St $267K.

No new listings.
1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2116 1/1 now $439K.
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 listed for $315K.
No closed sales.

No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 11512 Andy Rosse Ln 2/2 listed for $945K.
2 closed sales:  14981 Binder Dr 3/3 $824K, 1 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 $1.35M.

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.

Waiting for Spring Showers on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Osprey nest in Sanibel Highlands

We are officially in the “almost” off-season with island traffic getting lighter by the day all week. The ride from the office to the toll bridge is back to15-20 minutes, rather than the hour plus that it sometimes takes in February and March. Though a couple of the New England states have visitors arriving for spring breaks, a few slow business weeks are expected until schools are out for the summer and those longer vacations begin.

Dave and I were out looking at a house in Sanibel Highlands this week & noticed the above osprey nest. Look closely and you can see the bird. There is lots of activity in these nests this time of the year. Fun to watch!

SanibelSusan had lunch yesterday with a pal who runs the rental division at VIP Vacation Rentals and he told me that they are ahead of their 2011 bookings for May and into the summer (probably thanks again to Frommer’s high rating), but he concurred that the rest of April is expected to be fairly quiet. 

Here are a few island news items, followed by the week’s Multiple Listing Service activity.

Captiva Nominated for Restored Beaches Award

Photo of Captiva beach from Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

In celebration of the Best Restored Beaches Award’s 10th anniversary in 2012, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) is requesting your votes to help them identify the Best of the Best Restored Beaches. Captiva is among the nominees in the category – Community Beaches. You may vote once per day between now and Friday, April 27, on-line at Voters may also leave a comment about what makes their favorite beach so special to them.

Shell Museum Now in Reciprocal Membership Program

Along with The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum announcing its recent inclusion into the North American Reciprocal Museums Program, the museum now also announces its participation in the Southeastern Reciprocal Membership Program (SERM). This means if you join the museum at the $50 level or above, you automatically become a member of SERM which entitles you to free admission as well as program, lecture, and store discounts and other benefits at nearly 100 museums in 15 states. Some of the participating Florida institutions include Art Center Sarasota, Orlando Museum of Art, and Tampa Museum of Art. To see a list of participating museums, visit the membership page at

3rd Annual Shell Museum Oyster Eating Contest

Team from Doc Ford's Restaurant with author Randy Wayne White at the 2011 Oyster-Eating Contest with our pal, Cindy Porter, who made a grand entrance & then gave it a noble try. (That's Laurie in the back on the stilts.)

In other Shell Museum news, a fundraiser for them is coming up on Saturday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market. Although the contest is the main attraction, the event includes food and drinks from The Timbers, plus shell crafting, face painting for the kids, and a raffle for a Lily & Co. watch. Last year, there were 23 contestants with the winner downing four dozen oysters. For sponsorships or to participate as a contestant, go to

U.S. Visa Programs

There was a good article in the new FloridaRealtors® magazine this month that covered some of the same information that I learned when I was in Orlando in January attending the meeting of our state Resort and Second Home Specialist Forum. Important info for those expanding into the international real estate market and worth sharing:

“Understand U.S. Visa Programs

“Since one of the issues facing international buyers is the amount of time they can spend in Florida, it’s important to understand current and pending U.S. visa programs. In general, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages foreign visitation and foreign investment, but imposes strict rules and requirements that vary from country to country….look at the USCIS website,, or …speak with an immigration attorney.

“In recent years, many international investors have taken advantage of the EB-5 visa program, which is designed to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment. A foreign national who invests $1 million directly into a business that creates at least 20 jobs or invests $500,000 in a regional center that creates new jobs can get a green card and become a permanent U.S. resident.

“The U.S. Congress is now considering the VISIT-USA Act, which is designed to make it easier for some foreign nationals to obtain visas. Called Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America (S.1746), the act has several important provisions including:

Home purchases.  The bill creates a nonimmigrant visa, renewable every three years, for an individual who spends at least $500,000 to purchase single-family homes in the United States. At least $250,000 must be spent on a primary residence where the visa holder will reside for at least 180 days out of the year while paying taxes to the U.S.

Canadian tourism. A new “Canadian retiree visa” (nonimmigrant visa) would be created that would last 240 days and be renewable every three years for Canadians over age 50 who have visited the United States or own a U.S. residence.

Premium visa process.  Visitors could pay a higher visa-processing fee in order to receive a visa interview within three business days, reducing long wait times in countries like Brazil and China.

Videoconference pilot program. A secure videoconferencing pilot program would be authorized for conducting visa interviews, making it easier for applicants to obtain a U.S. visa. Currently, an in-person interview is required.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 6-13:

Deeded beach access path for Sanibel River Estates


3 new listings: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 $224.9K, Tennisplace #B32 2/1 $254K, Spanish Cay #F6 1/1 $299K.
3 price changes: Blind Pass #D205 2/2 now $296.5K, Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $349K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A102 2/2 now $399K.
6 new sales: Sundial #G207 1/1 listed for $245.9K, Mariner Pointe #1043 2/2 listed for $299.9K (our listing), Tarpon Beach #308 2/2 listed for $615K, Kings Crown #215 2/2 listed for $669.9K, Sayana #202 2/2 listed for $849K, Sundial #K208 2/2 listed for $890K.
3 closed sales: Sundial #C204 1/1 $250K, Mariner Pointe #142 2/2 $380K, Sundial #T403 2/2 $485K.
3 new listings: 744 Martha’s Ln 2/2 $459K, 591 Boulder Dr 4/3 $629K, 1274 Par View Dr 3/3 $674K.
5 price changes: 9440 Begonia Ct 3/2 now $499.9K, 1507 Angel Dr 3/2 now $699K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $858.9K, 1102 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.384M, 1520 Angel Dr 3/3 now $1.598M.
5 new sales: 3812 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed for $425K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 4/3 listed for $495K, 1750 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 listed for $549K (short sale), 4570 Bowen Bayou Rd 2/2 listed for $699K, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 listed for $1.249M.
3 closed sales: 661 Cardium St 2/1.5 $325K, 733 Durion Ct 3/2 $550K, 927 Limpet Dr 3/3 $645K (foreclosure).
1 new listing: 218 Violet Dr $579,975.
3 new sales: 2418 Blue Crab Ct listed for $164.9K, 4077 Coquina Dr listed for $224.9K, 2251 Starfish Ln listed for $339K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale:  2423 Blue Crab Ct $220K.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
2 closed sales: Tennis Villas #3219 1/1 $210K, Sunset Beach Villas #2323 1/1 $414K.
1 new listing: 15172 Wiles Dr 14/10 mulit-family $10.9M.
4 price changes: 11521 Wightman Ln 4/3 now $1.549M, 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.565M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.695M, 15747 Captiva Dr 5/6.5 now $7.995M.
No 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 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.