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 www.islandinn.com.

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 www.livingstontaylorsouthseas.eventbrite.com.
  • 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 FloridaRealtors.org 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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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.

HOMES

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.

LOTS

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.

Captiva

CONDOS

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.

HOMES

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.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

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

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Happy New Year From Sanibel


We have enjoyed another week of nice weather here on Sanibel. Today and into the New Year we are expecting a “cool front” with morning lows in the 50’s (later next week to be in the 40’s) & the afternoons warming to the mid 60’s, low 70’s. Lots of people this week, walking, biking, & filling up the roads. Here at the office we know when it is 3:30, as the cars are stopped on the road out front.

polar bear plungeNew Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge

On Monday, January 1, the Sanibel-Captiva Chapter of the National Polar Bear Club will hold its 18th annual meeting at “the crack of noon” at Tarpon Bay Beach (the south/gulf end of Tarpon Bay Road). The meeting will begin with the singing of the traditional Polar Bear anthem by the Cubbies (first-timers), Juveniles (one-time previous dippers) and seasoned Adult bears (those who took the plunge in previous years). Following the anthem, the Polar Bears will enter the “icy” gulf waters. Everyone is welcome. Chairs and coolers are optional.

Sanibel Library Earns Award

sanibel libraryThis year marks the fourth time the Sanibel public library has been recognized as one of the best libraries in the country by Library Journal. The rating is based on the number of people walking through the library’s doors, number of program attendees and the number of books checked out. The rating is also based on electronic material.

“Ding” Darling Announces 2018 Film Series

ding darlingThe sixth annual “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series kicks off its bi-weekly showings this winter with a schedule of seven films that explore natural facets from pollinators and coral to wild Florida and the war on coal. It runs Jan. 10 through April 4.“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge hosts the free film showings in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center with sponsorship from Sanibel-Captiva Beach Resorts. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis.

Below are the season’s scheduled films. All films begin at 1 p.m. except the Jan. 24 film, which airs at 10a.m. A short discussion will follow each film to allow visitors to gain more from their documentary-viewing experience by listening to other people’s points of view and analyzing what they just watched. For full descriptions of the films, please visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org

Jan. 10 – Wings of Life

Jan. 24 – Tapped

Feb. 7 – From the Ashes

Feb. 21 – Chasing Coral

March 7 – The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida

Mach 21 – Mission Blue

April 4 – STRAWS

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 22-29, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sundial West #F308 1/1 $439K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #1221 3/2.5 listed at $1.095M, White Sands #32 2/2.5 listed at $1.095M, Bandy Beach #A101 3/2 listed at $1.299M (our Buyer).

1 closed sale: Captains Walk #A8 2/2 $347K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 5299 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2.5 $539K, 5411 Osprey Ct 3/2 $1.295M.

2 price changes: 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $699K, 4460 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 now $898K.

3 new sales: 1394 Middle Gulf Dr half-duplex listed at $524.9K, 1943 Sanibel Bayou Rd 3/3 listed at $649.9K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3/2 listed at $1.495M.

6 closed sales: 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex $430K, 1187 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $635K, 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 $605K, 1195 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1M, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 $1.25M, 750 Periwinkle Way 5/4 $1.49M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 4538 Bowen Bayou Rd $258K, 1817 Long Point Ln $399,555.

2 price changes: 5116 Sea Bell Rd now $169.5K, 5126 Sea Bell Rd now $169.5K.

No new or closed sales.

 Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #4B 3/2.5 listed at $1.495M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

4 new listings: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 $1.085M, 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 $2.795M, 1124 Longifolia Ct 4/5 $4.3M, 15867 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 $4.895M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 duplex listed at $1.749M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

happy new year

Happy New Year!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team

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 http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org

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.

Takeaway

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 

Sanibel

CONDOS

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.

HOMES

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.

LOTS

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. 

Captiva

CONDOS

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.

HOMES

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.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Santa on Beach

Wishing You & Your Family A Happy Holiday Weekend!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team

 

Wrapping Up “High Season” on Sunny Sanibel & Captiva


Time for another Friday update from Susan and The SanibelSusan Team.

What a change here this week. Like magic as April 15 rolled around, the islands thinned out and traffic lessened, though the weather remains sunny and summerlike – mostly high-70’s low-80’s all week.

Many vacationing families continue to enjoy the bike paths, waterways, and beaches (spring break for several out-of-state schools), but if my “busy” gauge is how long it takes to drive from the office to my home either mid-day or during Sanibel rush hour, things here are back to what I call “normal”. I made the trip in nine minutes twice this week! (Compared to a record 1-1/2 hours on Presidents’ Day.)

Tomorrow is officially what is considered the end of “high season”, while accommodations over the next few weeks charge what are called “shoulder rates” for those looking to stay for less than in the winter. Later, “summer” rental rates will be even lower.

Seasoned visitors and locals often describe May as one of the best months on the islands – being just after the winter rush, but before schools are out. May weather often is some of the best since the rainy season isn’t in full swing, yet flowers are blooming and beach water is clear with sea turtles just beginning to nest.

Here are a few photos of what is flowering at my home. Great that longer days mean I get to enjoy the pink explosion when I get home. Can you tell I like that color? Had to compromise with the gardenia.

 

At Sanibel Susan Realty Associates

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayAll’s well at SanibelSusan Realty, where we are finalizing things on three closings scheduled to occur next week and got another listing under contract. I was out showing a few times this week, including one on Easter Sunday afternoon – whatever it takes!

Teammate Dave held several open houses and we’ve opened some listings for showings too. Teammate Elise’s report with the details of the week’s Multiple Listing Service action follows a few news items below.

Next week, we will be working on updating data for our big post-season inventory mailout that will go to the printer in early May. It goes out to all island property owners and prospective buyers. Favored by many since it reflects current inventory as well as many “season” sale prices, if you are not already on our mailing list and would like a copy, please let us know.

High “season” may be winding down, but we have been in this business long enough to know that the next wave of buyers will be the serious ones who did not find exactly what they want to buy in “season” and they know that returning during the “shoulder” weeks is one of the easiest time to view properties – particularly those in rental programs. They know it’s a good time to make offers too. We are ready.

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

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday’s Sanibel & Captiva Island Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting was well attended, but only a handful of new listings were on the Caravan schedule that followed. Next month (May), the caravan meetings which are held every week in “season”, revert to a summer schedule – or every other week. Summer caravans also are not restricted to either east-end or west-end. When the traveling is easier, caravans are open to both islands. Upcoming caravans will be on the following Thursdays: May 4, May 18, and June 1, from 9 a.m. until noon.

Remodeling – Choosing/Replacing Windows – The meeting speakers were affiliate member business partners, Jeff Carroll with Tradewinds Custom Homes and Arthur Monahan with Seacoast Cottage Company. They each provided a short presentation on choosing/replacing/remodeling windows.

With most island owners buying for vacations, investment, or a 2nd or 3rd home, Jeff mentioned that he often hears new consumers, unfamiliar with Florida construction, say that they don’t really need good windows down here because “it’s not that cold”. He said, what they don’t yet realize is that “it is that hot”.

He also remarked that many buyers, new to the area will say that they expect to have their windows closed for just a couple of months each year, when in reality, he said that most will find out that they will only keep their windows open for eight to ten weeks, at best.

Art offered a hand-out with the following issues to consider when considering windows:

  • Insurance
  • Building Code (energy efficiency, turtle-friendly, 50% rule on remodels)
  • Cost (style, size, coatings, frames, manufacturers)

Here is some other info from his handout.

“Manufacturers:

  • PGT                 $
  • CGI                  $$
  • Anderson       $$$
  • Pella                $$$$

“With window frame types, always consider the warranty period when making a decision about frame type:

  • Aluminum or metal – Although very strong, light, and almost maintenance free, metal or aluminum or metal frames conduct heat very rapidly, which makes metal a very pool insulating material. To reduce heat flow and the U-factor, metal frames should have a thermal break – an insulating plastic strip placed between the inside and outside of the frame and sash.
  • Composite – Composite window frames consist of composite wood products, such as particleboard and laminated strand lumber. These composites are very stable, they have the same or better structural and thermal properties as conventional wood, and they have better moisture and decay resistance.
  • Fiberglass – Fiberglass window frames are dimensionally stable and have air cavities that can be filled with insulation giving them superior thermal performance compared to wood or uninsulated vinyl.
  • Vinyl – Vinyl window frames are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with ultraviolet light (UV) stabilizers to keep sunlight from breaking down the material. Vinyl window frames do not require painting and have good moisture resistance. The hallow cavities of vinyl frames can be filled with insulation, which makes them thermally superior to standard vinyl and wood frames.
  • Wood – Wood window frames insulated relatively well, but they also expand and contract in response to weather conditions. Wood frames also require regular maintenance, although aluminum or vinyl cladding reduces maintenance requirements.

“Glass types include:

  • Heat-absorbing tints
  • Insulated (which have less tendency toward condensation & the resultant growth of mold & mildew)
  • Reflective coatings (allow for “turtle friendliness”)
  • Spectrally selective coatings.

“Window styles include:

  • Casement – One-hinged sash that swings outward from the side.
  • Awning: One sash that hinges from the top to the outside
  • Double-Hung – Two sashes that slide vertically to open shut or position to provide more efficient ventilation. Raise the lower sash to allow in a cool breeze. Lower the upper sash to pull hot air from the ceiling outside.
  • Single-Hung – Looks like a double-hung window, but only the bottom sash slides vertically to open and shut.
  • Sliding — One fixed and one moveable sash that slides open or shut horizontally – ideal for difficult to reach areas.
  • Bay & Bow – Angled or curved combination of windows that extend outward to maximize view.

“Art further described casement windows as the best and that new windows should provide 60% energy efficiency.”

For further info:

Jeff Carroll with Tradewinds Custom Homes – www.TradewindsHomes.com

Art Monahan with Seacoast Cottage Company – www.SeacoastCottageCompany.com

FREE Summer Programs at J. N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge

ding darling goose logoWith season winding down, summer events are being announced. Here’s a summary of the summer programming being offered at the Wildlife Refuge from June 2 through August 5, made possible by support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society as reported in their spring newsletter. They are “offered weekly, with no pre-registration necessary.

  • Reading at the Refuge – every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Attendees at each 45-minute reading and crafts session learn about a Refuge animal and make a take-home craft related to it. Meet at the Visitor & Education Center Classroom.
  • Indigo Trail Hike – every Thursday at 10 a.m. Join Refuge naturalists as they lead a one-hour tour to the Wildlife Education Board to identify and discuss the ecosystem’s plants, mammals, birds, and reptiles – fun for adults and children alike. Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Meet at the flagpole in front of the Visitor & Education Center.
  • Family Beach Walk – every Friday at 9 a.m. The one-hour program convenes at Gulfside Park to explore the Refuge’s gulf-front Perry Tract. City parking fees apply. Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray.
  • Wildlife Wonders – every Saturday at 11 a.m. Refuge education staff lead this 30-minute indoor program about the mysteries of manatees, alligators, crocodiles, and birds. Held in the Visitor & Education Center auditorium.”

tarpon bay explorers logoTarpon Bay Explorers Schedule

  • Tram Tours of Wildlife Drive  – April: Mon-Thurs: hourly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat & Sun: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.; May & June:     Mon-Thurs: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Sat & Sun: 10 a.m., 1 p.m., & 4 p.m.
  • Kayak Trail Tour (any & all times substituted with low tide paddle when trail not accessible) – April: Mon-Fri: 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.; Sat & Sun: 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.; May & June: Mon-Fri: 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.; Sat & Sun: 10 a.m.
  • Sunset Rookery Paddle (2 hours prior to sunset) – April: Daily; May & June: Mon, Wed, Fri, & Sat or Sun.
  • Breakfast CruiseMon, Wed, Fri at 8:30 a.m.
  • Standup Paddleboard Tour (all at 9 a.m.) – April: Mon-Sat; May & June: Tues, Thurs, Sat.
  • Nature & Sea Life CruiseDaily at 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
  • Evening CruiseDaily 2 hours prior to sunset.
  • Aquarium & Touch TankDaily at 3 p.m.
  • Rentals & Fishing ChartersDaily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Most Consumers Are Wrong About Home Insurance

realtor logoA “Daily Real Estate News” article published earlier this month and posted on Realtor® Mag News says:

“Fifty-six percent of consumers recently surveyed believe that a standard homeowner’s policy covers flood damage. But they’re mistaken, and their assumption could be a costly mistake.

“A survey by InsuranceQuotes of about 1,000 consumers shows a lot of misunderstandings when it comes to home insurance and what’s covered and what’s not.

“”Being misinformed about your home policy can be an extremely expensive mistake—especially when a few inches of water in a 1,000 square-foot home can easily cost over $10,000 in repairs,” says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes. “There are a number of widespread myths ranging from coverage for dog bites to items stolen from your car that frequently trip up policyholders.”

“Consumers tend to overestimate the amount of coverage they have when it comes to flooding protection, according to the study. Further, 81% of survey respondents knew that valuables stolen from their home were covered under most standard homeowner’s policies, yet only 28% knew that renter’s insurance would cover valuables stolen from their cars.

““It’s critical for consumers to thoroughly explore their options and really understand the protections that are included or excluded with a standard renter’s or home insurance policy,” says Adams. “Don’t wait until right before a big storm is headed your way to get coverage because there may be a waiting period.”

“Flood insurance is particularly a hot topic to address with clients lately. The National Association of REALTORS® has been warning its members about the threats to homeowners and property sales when the National Flood Insurance Program expires on Sept. 30. Policymakers in more than 22,000 communities nationwide rely on NFIP to protect them from flood risks, like torrential rain, swollen rivers and lakes, snow melt, failing infrastructure, and storm surges and hurricanes.

““When the NFIP expired in 2010, over 1,300 home sales were disrupted every day as a result,” NAR President William E. Brown recently said in a statement. “That’s over 40,000 every month. Flood insurance is required for a mortgage in the 100-year floodplain, but without access to the NFIP, buyers simply couldn’t get a mortgage or vital protection from the number one cause of loss of property and life, flooding.”

“The National Association of REALTORS® is working with lawmakers to strengthen the program and also create a path for a private market to take hold ahead of the Sept. 30 expiration.”

Milestone in Sanibel Sewer Expansion Project

Sewer signs Phase 4 Shannen HayesAs reported recently in several island papers, including the “The Santiva-Chronicle” write-up below and photo to the right:

“Sanibel has entered Phase 4 of its sewer expansion project on Woodring Road, the city announced on Monday, April 17.

“Phase 4 will connect 19 properties on Woodring Road. The work began Monday and the city said work will continue into the fall. During that time, the Bock Peace Park parking area at the north end of Dixie Beach Road will have very limited parking, the city said.

“Phase 4 also includes five properties on West Gulf Drive. When Phase 4 is complete, it will leave only 20 properties in four different areas of Sanibel to be connected in the final phase.

“Sanibel City Council approved Phase 4 in January, 2016 at a cost of about $1.2 million. “This is a milestone,” City Manager Judie Zimomra said to the City Council on Jan. 5, 2016. “Sanibel has invested more than $70 million on sanitary sewers island-wide. That’s a significant accomplishment on a barrier island. “We have put ourselves in position to do this and today we are glad to move into the final phase,” Zimomra said.

“The council had two options before it as to how property owners would be assessed. One was to split costs equally and the second was to put a $10,000 cap on assessments with the city picking up the balance. In its unanimous vote to move ahead with Phase IV, the council went with the $10,000-cap option.

““Sanibel needs to continue to walk the walk and talk the talk about the environment,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said. “Set the cap at $10,000. It’s important to finish what we started. We have the money in sewer reserves so we can do the projects as planned.”

“Many of the remaining unconnected properties are considered low-flow septic systems. They will be required to connect to the sewer systems when those septic systems fail.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 14-21, 2017

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Ibis at The Sanctuary #B201 2/2 $475K.

5 price changes: Tennisplace #A31 2/1.5 now $299K, Sunset South #10C 2/2 now $759K, Pointe Santo #C36 2/2 now $786K, Pointe Santo #D32 2/2 now $799K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1,039,999.

4 new sales: Seashells #3 2/2 listed at $399.4K, Blind Pass #F106 2/2 listed at $409K, Sundial East #L401 2/2 listed at $749K, Beachcomber #A102 2/2 listed at $1.445M (our seller).

1 closed sale: Loggerhead Cay #152 2/2 $860K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 714 Durion Ct 3/2 $619K, 1032 Lindgren Blvd 3/2.5 $895K.

6 price changes: 1817 Atlanta Plaza Dr 3/2 now $474.9K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $699K, 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 now $848.8K, 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 now $1.595M, 267 Ferry Rd 3/2 now $1.895M, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.777M.

9 new sales: 1602 Serenity Ln 4/2 listed at $477K, 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 listed at $520K, 2154 Egret Cir 3/2 listed at $539K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 listed at $664.9K, 2629 Coconut Dr 2/3 listed at $765K, 755 Pen Shell Dr 3/2 listed at $879K, 941 Pecten Ct listed at $949K, 2451 Blind Pass Ct 4/4.5 listed at $1.899M, 4190 Dingman Dr 4/3.5 listed at $1.995M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listings: 2356 Wulfert Rd $189K.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: 5687 Baltusrol Ct $300K, 1048 Fish Crow Rd $375K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3118 1/1 $255.5K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #9 4/3.5 listed at $3.1M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 $5.25M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 listed at $2.495M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

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.)

Until next Friday, here’s hoping you have sunny days where you are too!

I had family in town over their Easter break. Here’s my great nephew, Caden, enjoying Sanibel beach!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

2017-04 Caden Beach

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.

Sanibel-shells-from-storm-winds

Photo of some found after the storm, photo by Pam Rambo, http://www.iLoveShelling.com

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 www.dingdarlingsociety.org

Closings/Openings/Moves

  • 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. http://www.DocFords.com

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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.

HOMES

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.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

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

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

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

No closed sales.

HOMES

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

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

LOTS

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

Just Another Happy Friday on Sanibel Island


It’s another Friday and time for another report from SanibelSusan. Island visitors this week should be happy. The weather has been terrific – temperatures in the low 70’s with bright blue skies and sun shiny days. The outlook for the beaches and waterways has improved too.

white-pelicans from trip advisor

Several of our listings again had showings this week. We had another nice closing – lot in The Dunes. Our condo listing at Compass Point went under contract too. Before the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listings Service, here are a couple of news items – most highlighting water initiatives.

Sanibel/Captiva Association of Realtors Monthly Membership Meeting

Sanibel realtors logoThe islands’ Association of Realtors® had their monthly membership meeting yesterday with updates by two affiliate members. Birgie Miller, Executive Director of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, who sponsored the breakfast and Dave Owens, from Midland IRA and 1031, who spoke on tax-deferred exchanges.

Ding Darling Society logo“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Birgie’s pitch included reminders that the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge now covers 7,608 acres with 35 species of mammals, 102 species of fish, 272 bird species, 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, 14 threatened and endangered species, and more than 750,000 visitors each year. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society has four Realtor® board members and encourages everyone who enjoys the islands to join at www.dingdarllingsociety.org.

1031 Exchanges – During Dave Owen’s update, he reminded us that he first talked to island Realtors about tax-deferred exchanges in the late 90’s, they were fairly new to the island. Back then it was common for property owners here to exchange out of an investment rental condo into another one of higher value. Today, he said the most common scenario has changed. The states with the most tax-deferred exchanges are California, followed by Texas, then Florida. He said that today, more investors are coming out of investment properties in a highly taxed northern state and buying in Florida to defer capital gains and other taxes.MidIRALogoREV

In summary, a deeded property that qualifies for a 1031 exchange is one that is used for business, investment, property rented out or used in business, or land, if it was held for speculation. Property that does not qualify are primary residences, second homes with little or no rental history, or property not intended for business or investment use. Dave reported that since he first spoke to our group, he has performed some 10,000 exchanges. Good info on his web site at www.1031company.com.

Sanibel City Council Backs Mayors’ Water Quality Initiatives

Sanibelcityseal logoLocal papers report that on Tuesday, Sanibel City Council officially agreed with the initiative by Lee County’s mayors to combat short- and long-term water issues. Council unanimously voted to approve four points involving control of water prepared by the mayors of all Lee County’s cities at a recent emergency meeting in Bonita Springs. The approval came at the request of Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, who chaired the meeting.

The request from the mayors to the South Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other involved parties to, in times of emergency, release water south from Lake Okeechobee into the Everglades, identify public and private land suitable for storage and use it, and to provide transparency when drastic water release decisions have to be made.

“The mayors came up with the bullet points and continue to challenge the Corps of Engineers to use its operational flexibility,” Ruane told the council.

During the meeting, Holly Milbrandt, Acting Director of the Sanibel Department of Resources, framed the problem. “It was the wettest January on record with rainfall 400% above normal,” she said. “This is unprecedented for all of us and we are still evaluating. We are not out of the woods yet,” she said. “Weather forecasts are for far above normal rainfall. Water goes into the lake six times faster than it is released, so that is a challenge.”

She reported on Monday the Lake Okeechobee level was at 16.24’, compared to 16.33’ a week ago. She noted that the lake level “is finally falling for the first time in a long time.” She said the lake is 1.45’ higher than it was at this time last year and two feet higher than two years ago. Its level is in the range where the Corps of Engineers can release water.

Ruane and Milbrandt both highlighted that the fresh water pouring into the local estuary from the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River has not all come from the lake. During the heavy rains in January, most of the water was runoff from the local watershed. Now 89% of the water is coming from Lake O.

Ruane pointed out the importance of the C-43 Reservoir, which will hold local runoff but will not be ready until 2020. He also said C-43 covers only part of the storage acreage that is necessary in times of heavy rainfall and runoff.

The mayors’ document addressed both short- and long-term options. Under the heading: “What are the options for relief now?” the document asks to:

  • Initiate discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the 700,000 acres of agricultural lands south of the lake and to all other public and private lands in the C&FS system.
  • Identify and utilize emergency storage on all public lands within the Kissimmee, Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee basins.
  • Maximize storage within the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and provide adaptive flexibility for water level management in the regulation schedules to allow more water storage.
  • Seek emergency temporary deviations from federal and state water quality criteria and restrictions that limit discharges south into Everglades National Park during extreme wet conditions and events.

Long-term solutions included land acquisition for and construction of the EAA Reservoir to help move water south of the lake and projects to create storage within the Caloosahatchee watershed, including C-43.

Council members noted the lead by Sanibel in getting action and creating awareness during the recent crisis. The council also pointed out how important it is for Sanibel to continue to be a leader when it comes to environmental practices. In conjunction with that, Council passed a second motion to provide a list of its management practices regarding nutrients and fertilizers and make it available to other municipalities.

Mayors Off to Washington

Capitol Bldg DCAs reported in “The Santiva Chronicle”:

“Next week, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane is off to Washington as part of a delegation that will bend Capitol Hill’s ear on water in Florida. Ruane believes that the mood is different in Florida now after the state was drowned with 16” of rain in January – the dry season. The drenching got everyone’s attention and it pointed out the frailties and inadequacies of the water management practices in the Everglades-Lake Okeechobee system.

““It’s not like 2013. It’s all hands on deck now,” Ruane said Tuesday afternoon, hours after the Sanibel City Council had given its unanimous approval to a brief prepared by Lee County’s mayors.

“Ruane is part of delegation that will include Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. It will also include elected officials from other areas, including the East Coast.

“The delegation will arrive in Washington Sunday and hit the pavement on Monday. Lawmakers are on the list, particularly the Florida delegation and those who hold key committee positions. Ruane has been effusive in his praise of Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs. Clawson is working closely with Ruane and others to get movement on several fronts. The delegation will also be in contact with Florida’s senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. Committee chairpersons for water resources and the environment are on the list and, of course, appropriations.

“But Ruane says the first visit needs to be paid to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, Ruane said, is often painted as the enemy because it’s the Corps that turns the tap and starts the pumps at Lake Okeechobee, often to the detriment of places like Lee County. But the Corps, just like the rest of the Army, follows orders and operates within the framework of the resources it has been given.

““The first talk will be with the Corps of Engineers,” Ruane told the Chronicle Tuesday. “We won’t go there to argue or point fingers. We want to talk about how we can help one another. The Corps needs funding to complete major projects. A united front can help them get that funding.”

“This visit to Washington won’t involve appearing before any committees or subcommittees, but Ruane said that will be done if it is helpful and the opportunity arises…. “It’s all about working together, getting others to recognize each other’s problems and then finding solutions. The mayors, City Council, our lawmakers in the state and in Washington, and many others are pulling together this time. That’s what it’s going to take,” Ruane said.”

More Canadians Choosing to Sell U.S. Homes

Canada maple leafAs posted in “Realty Biz News” on Monday, this is the trend on the islands too.

“With the Canadian dollar currently around $.72 to the US dollar, an increasing number of snowbirds are choosing to sell their properties in the United States.

“Previously a large number of Canadians bought US property when prices were cheap and are now choosing to sell them to take advantage of higher real estate prices and a favorable exchange rate. Even when additional costs such as capital gains tax are taken into account, many Canadians feel it is too good an opportunity to miss. Quite a few chose to buy their property back in 2010 when the US and Canadian dollar were almost at par and when real estate prices had yet to recover. Thanks to low exchange rates and rising prices, this means that many are able to sell for a big profit. According to the article in CBC.ca, real estate agents in Arizona, an area very popular with snowbirds, are seeing an increase in the number of Canadian homeowners wishing to sell their property.

“Figures from the American National Association of Realtors® survey, for the year ending March 2007, show that Canadian buyers accounted for 11% of property sales to foreign buyers. As the strength of the Canadian dollar increased, so did the percentage of real estate deals to Canadian buyers. By March 2011 to March 2012, the percentage of sales to Canadians had more than doubled, increasing to 24% and accounting for approximately US$15.9 billion. Since then house prices have increased by between 30% and 50% and when the weak Canadian dollar is factored in to the equation, then sellers are able to make a large profit, even when tax is taken into account.

“In Florida, real estate agents are also seeing an increasing number of Canadians who wish to sell, compared to 2009 to 2013 when most wanted to buy. There is also another good reason as why selling is a popular option for those north of the border, as a declining Canadian dollar increases the costs of running a home in the US, and utility bills and property taxes have all become considerably more expensive.

“Real estate agents are confident this selling trend will continue for as long as the Canadian dollar remains weak. Some of those choosing to sell their homes will still escape harsh Canadian winters, but intend to rent in the future rather than buy.”

Low Rates Spark Big Rush to Refinance

As posted on Realtor®Mag on-line on Wednesday:

Mortgage Bankers Assoc logo“Applications to refinance mortgages surged to their highest level in more than a year as home owners rushed to take advantage of low rates. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.83% last week, the lowest level since April 2015, MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) reports.

“The refinance boost fueled an 8.2% jump last week in total mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinance applications jumped 16% during the week ending Feb 12. Mortgage applications for home purchases, on the other hand, dropped 4% during this same time. The volume for all refinances is now 50% higher than just four weeks ago.

“”Treasury rates fell again last week, and mortgage rates fell to their lowest level in over a year, with rates on jumbo loans dropping to their lowest level since December 2012,'” says Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist. “As we have noted in recent weeks, borrowers with larger loans tend to be more sensitive to a drop in rates, because they stand to benefit more from refinancing.”

“Mortgage lenders reported a new record for the average loan size for refinances last week at $316,000, according to MBA.

“While mortgage applications for home purchases fell last week, the gauge of future home-buying activity still remains strong for the year. Mortgage applications for home purchases remains 30% higher than the same week one year ago, MBA reports.” Source: “Refinancing Pushes Mortgage Applications 8.2% Higher,” CNBC (Feb. 17, 2016)

Sanibel New Resident Reception

SanibelCityHallNew residents are invited to a reception on Wed, March 2 at 9 a.m. in Mackenzie Hall at Sanibel City Hall. Mayor Kevin Ruane and City Council Members will be there to welcome new residents and answer questions.

Sanibel Hurricane Reentry Passes Available Now

The City is issuing 2016 series hurricane passes. All residents, property owners and businesses need to apply for a new 2016 series pass. (Our old ones were dated 2012.) The new residential passes are purple and the commercial are tan. These will be the only ones that will aid in re-entry to the island following a storm. Passes are issued at the Police Dept Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info and application forms on www.MySanibel.com.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity February 12-19, 2016

Sanibel
CONDOS
5 new listings: Coquina Beach #5B 2/2 $399K; Sanibel Siesta #402 2/2 $569K, Bayview Village #2A 3/3 $699K; Sand Pointe #217 2/2 $745,555; Yacht Haven #2 3/2 3/2 $949K.
1 price change: Gulfside Place #115 2/2 now $1.795M.
6 new sales: Sundial West #H407 1/1 listed at $465K, Seawind #A101 2/2.5 listed at $514.9K, Compass Point #221 2/2 listed at $599.9K (our listing), Sundial West #A305 2/2 listed at $799K, Island Beach Club 2/2 listed at $1.1M, Sedgemoor #102 3/3.5 listed at $2.495M.
1 closed sale: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $230K.
HOMES
9 new listings: 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 $549K, 577 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $769K, 1807 Buckthorn Ln 3/2.5 $799K, 979 Oyster Ct 2/2 $940K, 935 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $969K, 1174 Harbor Cottage Ct 3/2 $1.129M, 1665 Sabal Palm Dr 3/2 $1.295M, 1270 Bay Dr 3/2 $1.35M, 1069 Bird Ln 4/3.5 $4.995M.
7 price changes: 480 Peachtree Rd 3/3 now $699K, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 now $749K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $749.9K, 689 East Rocks Dr 3/3 now $759K, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $1.548M, 2405 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 now $2.995M, 1196 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $2.995M.
8 new sales: 1653 Bunting Ln 3/2.5 listed at $459K, 1565 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $599K, 9106 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed at $630K, 1130 Junonia St 3/2 listed at $679K, 1259 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $869K, 437 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed at $895.9K, 280 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed at $899.9K, 5773 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 listed at $1.029M.
2 closed sales: 9477 Peaceful Dr 4/2 $450K, 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 $955K.
LOTS
1 new listing: 6419 Pine Ave $1.699M.
2 price changes: Lot 27, Leisure Acres now $99.9K, 1311 Par View Dr now $299.9K.
1 new sale: 1304 Eagel Run Dr listed at $219K.
1 closed sale: 1466 Sand Castle Rd $239K (our listing).
Captiva 
CONDOS
No new listings.
1 price change: Beach Villas #2525 2/2 now $615K.
No new or closed sales.
HOMES
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 listed at $1.445M.
No closed sales.
LOTS
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.)

Until next Friday, more of the same wonderful island weather is expected!

February days in the mid-70’s are the best!

Beach santa

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Expect Another Good Weekend for Shelling on Sanibel Island


It is SusanSusan reporting that it is pretty quiet on the island again this week. Here are a few news items followed by the activity posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Southwest Florida Weather

Island weather sure has been mixed. After a cloudy and sometimes soggy weekend (there were no happy super blood moon eclipse watchers here), Monday’s excitement included heavy rains, sometimes torrential.

Patience was required while the island drainage system did its magic on land that was already super saturated. By late Monday afternoon, East Gulf Drive at the lighthouse end of the island was closed briefly when the high moon tide brought waves across the roadway.

(It’s all AOK and open now, here are some pictures taken by my cell phone earlier this afternoon.)

Sanibel Lighthouse beach Sanibel Lighthouse drive Sanibel Lighthouse

By Wednesday, the islands were back to normal with sunny weather and bright skies, as we tentatively watched the news of Hurricane Joaquin as it developed. With its path paralleling the east coast, just a breezy weekend is expected here.

Closing Process Changes: What To Expect

In an earlier Friday update I described the federally-mandated changes with new mortgage disclosure rules that begin tomorrow, this is just a reminder that they essentially are in effect. This will mean that offers with financing contingencies likely will have the closing date later than the typical 30-45 days. New contracts also may have a contingency about these disclosures.

Sanibelsusan LogoSince The SanibelSusan Team’s standard procedures from contract-to-closing include plenty of communication and early sharing of contracts and any amendments with lenders, title companies, and closing agents, we do not expect that these changes will impact us much.

With lenders, these changes may just be a temporary bump for the learning curve. Banks will need to provide consumers with more and earlier disclosures regarding their financing.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors members including mortgage company affiliates were advised of these changes at our August Membership Meeting where the details of the new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) regulation were discussed. Scroll down to my August 28th blog for a refresher.

The Baby Boomers Are Driving Growth

realtor logoThe Sanibel/Captiva real estate market loves baby boomers. Here’s what Monday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” had to say about them too:

“Baby boomers are the “driving force” of household formation, which is critical for real estate demand, according to a new blog post at the National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog.

baby boomers“The highest gains in household formation have been by 65- to 74-year-olds, who accounted for 860,000 new households alone from the first half of 2014 to first half of 2015, according to Census Bureau data. The 55 to 64 age group comprised the second highest at 391,000, followed by people over 75 years of age who formed 264,000 new households during that time period.

(According to a Kansas City Federal Reserve Census Bureau federal study: “Downsizing Boomers to Fuel Apartment Market – The number of Americans aged 70 and older will increase by more than 20 million in the next 15 years, according to Census Bureau estimates. Downsizing activity usually occurs around the age of 70 and becoming increasingly prominent by age 75.)

“Meanwhile, younger age groups had less. The 20 to 24 age group had negative net household formation numbers of 85,000. The 25- to 34-year-old age group, however, had 159,000 new households during that time.

Young professionals have been slow to form their own households. The share of the population living with parents has risen dramatically over the last few years. For the 25- to 29-year-old age group, the percentage has risen from 10% in 1980 to 25% by 2013. Also, the share of 25-to 29-year-olds who have never been married has dropped from 70% in 1980 to less than 40% in 2013.

“While young adults have been the main drivers of multifamily construction, the baby boom generation will lead the long-term demand for multifamily construction, according to Jordan Rappaport of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, who recently spoke in a presentation at the REALTOR® University Speaker Series.”

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter

Ding Darling Society logoHere are a couple of tidbits from the October 1 issue of ““Ding” on the Wing” which is the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter.

“Ding” Darling 2016 Free Film Series includes eight films. Each film is free, but is limited to the first 100 guests in Auditorium A at the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. See more details on the “Upcoming Events” tab on my web site, www.SanibelSusan.com.

Woodring Ding 10-2015Woodring Demolition – “Work began last week on restoring habitat to its natural state at the Refuge’s new Woodring Point property, purchased last year through funds raised by the DDWS Preservation Campaign. Crews took down one of the property’s derelict outbuildings and will continue work removing exotics later this year.”

Definition of a Bedroom

News Press logoIt was so quiet Wednesday that SanibelSusan used some of the downtime to clean out office files. One old stash is a folder of info and clippings that I thought might be good for future newsletters. Here is an interesting one that was posted in “The News-Press” Real Estate Section on November 28, 2008. It is from a “question and answer” column by Barry Stone who is a home inspector and nationally-syndicated columnist, known as the House Detective (www.housedetective.com).

In this business, Realtors® often encounter rooms that are described as bedrooms, but are not. Sometimes when showing property a prospective buyer will say “this cannot be called a bedroom.” Here is Barry Stone’s official definition:

“A bedroom must be at least 70 square feet in area, with neither dimension less than 7 feet in length. The minimum required ceiling height is 7 feet. When the ceiling is sloped, 50% of the ceiling can be less than 7 feet, as long as no portion of it is less than 5 feet.

“A bedroom must also have an openable window for light, ventilation, and fire escape. For light, the window size must be at least 8% of the floor area. For ventilation, the openable portion of the window must be at least 4% of the floor area. For fire escape, the window must be at least 5.7 sq ft. in area. The opening must have a minimum height of 24”, a minimum width of 20”, & a maximum sill height of 44”.

“And contrary to popular belief, no closet is required for a bedroom.”

Sanibel Farmers Market Opens Sunday

Sanibel farmers mkt 2015It will be like old home week when locals gather at the Farmers’ Market on the grounds of City Hall on Sunday morning. The market will be every Sunday from October 4 to April 24, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parking is available in lots at Sanibel City Hall, the Sanibel Library, BIG Arts, and Herb Strauss Theater. Bicycles can be parked at a designated area at City Hall. Handicap parking is located there too. The market also is pet friendly, for the well-mannered.

The market is my stop en route to the office on Sundays. If you are looking for local produce, seafood, and more, it is the place to get it. See you there!

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 25-October 2

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Sand Pointe #113 2/2 $789K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 $795K, Sand Pointe #137 2/2 $1.095M, Kings Crown #317 2/2 $1.295M, Gulfside Place #115 2/2 $1.895M.

No price changes.

2 new sale: Ibis at The Sanctuary #A301 2/2 listed at $463K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 listed at $739K.

4 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #B7 1/1 $300K, Sundial West #B408 1/1 $440K, Mariner Pointe #1092 2/2 $499K, Loggerhead Cay #103 2/2 $760K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 3335 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $874.9K, 580 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $1.599M, 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/4/3 $3,999,999.

No price changes or new sales.

5 closed sales: 3965 Coquina Dr 2/2 $300K, 3716 Coquina Dr 3/2 $436K, 580 Chert Ct 2/2 $550K, 1388 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $605K, 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 $650K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1820 Ardsley Way $175K.

1 price change: 6411 Pine Ave now $375.5K.

1 new sale: 1304 Eagle Run Dr listed at $219K.

1 closed sale: 971 Main St $180K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2031 2/2 $629K.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 listed at $580K.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 $265K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 15133 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $3.645M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 15295 Captiva Dr now $950K.

No new or 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.)

Until next Friday, here’s wishing you good weather with Joaquin far out to sea…

Here the shelling should continue to be fabulous! Here are some recent finds posted by local sheller Pam Rambo on iLoveShelling.com (which has great info on island shelling).Shells at beachcombing Bowmans Beach

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Wrapping up September 2015 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


The weather on Sanibel and Captiva Islands improved considerably this week. It is not quite fall temperatures yet, but more of a summer pattern with warm sunny days and occasional late afternoon or evening showers.

Traffic increased a little as winter residents start to come back. Fall maintenance projects continue almost everywhere, while some restaurants/shops are reopening after short reprieves.

Our listings had a few showings this week, with more scheduled this weekend. We also received a new condo listing at Sanibel Arms West. (It is gulf-front, rare for those to become available.)

View from stairs

The local Association of Realtors® had no Realtor Caravan this week, the biweekly summer schedule continues through October. There is a Caravan scheduled next Thursday morning following our Association meeting. From 9 a.m. until noon, we will hold open both Sanibel Moorings #822 and Sanibel Arms West #E2.

A report of the activity posted over the past seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below.

Sanibel Approves Budget With No Tax Increase for Residents

Sanibelcityseal logoThe Sanibel City Council put the final stamp to its budget and unanimously approved a rolled-back millage rate for fiscal year 2015-16 at its final budget hearing Tuesday at City Hall. The budget is 8.9% higher than the 2014-15 adopted budget, but is 2.3% less than the final amended budget. The budget runs from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016 and is required by law to be balanced. It was prepared based on a rolled-back millage rate of 1.9139 which also was approved at Tuesday’s final budget meeting.

The millage rate is down 4.3% from last year and down 23.4% over the last decade. The City also reduced its debt during the economic downturn by 44.4%. Congratulations to Sanibel’s outstanding City employees led by City Manager Judie Zimomra and City Council, led by Mayor Kevin Ruane.

Sight-Unseen Offers

Contract%20Doodleblob%20ClipartProspective buyers here often are surprised when I tell them that we sometimes get offers on new listings sight-unseen. When I explain that many future buyers are seasonal visitors who regularly come at only a certain time each year, it starts to make more sense. After all, new listings may come on the market at any time of the year. In some communities and complexes where there are little turn-over, it might mean those buyers need to jump before someone else beats ‘um to it. Most Realtors® know folks just waiting for a certain property in a certain area, which is why the information and photos in the original uploading of each listing are so important.

I read a “Daily Real Estate News” article this week that provided the results of a Redfin survey on SurveyMonkey which said “1 in 5 Buyers Make Offer Without Seeing Home”. Wow, that’s definitely more than I expected. According to their survey, “21% of the homebuyers surveyed said they made an offer on a house without seeing it in person.”

It also said that Milennials were “the age group most likely to make an offer without seeing the house in person first at 30%.” What’s more, it said that “53% of buyers who paid more than $750,000 for their homes made offers without seeing the house first.” All the more reason for us to ensure that our on-line listings are plentiful and professional with lots of detailed information, photos and videos.

Since our Multiple Listing Service requires that listings be posted in the MLS within 24 hours of receipt, teammate Dave takes our initial photos usually within hours of receiving a new listing. Then professional photographer Jim Anderson with JMA Photography follows Dave as soon as his schedule permits. Jim takes more photos, prepares streaming videos, and films aerials (by helicopter or plan) as appropriate. Having lots of photos, sometimes taken on different days, gives us a good variety for marketing and has made the difference in our listings selling “sight unseen”.

Free Admission Tomorrow to Wildlife Drive

Ding Darling signBecause tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 26, is National Public Lands Day, J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge is granting free admission to Wildlife Drive to everyone and there is a special treat for fourth-grade students.

Fourth-graders and their home-school equivalents can check in at the front desk in the Visitor and Education Center and receive a free Every Kid in a Park Pass that is good for free admission to every U.S. National Wildlife Refuge like ‘Ding’ Darling, every U.S. National Park like The Everglades or Yellowstone, national forests and other public lands, from now through August 2016.

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Seven federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as non-profit groups in state and local governments pitch in. Locally, ‘Ding’ Darling celebrates the fourth anniversary of its Kick the Bottle initiative to rid the refuge of the disposable plastic bottles that have become a scourge to the environment, as evidenced by the number of them picked up in last weekend’s annual Coastal Cleanup.

ding darling gooseWildlife Drive is open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for free touring. The Visitor and Education Center, which is free, opens its doors at 9 a.m. when fourth grade students can start getting their Every Kid in a Park passes. Fourth graders can take their completed voucher to the Wildlife Drive fee booth for their pass, which also includes free admission year-long for accompanying siblings up to age 15, and up to three accompanying adults.

The Refuge mascot, the Blue Goose, will be bopping about from 1-3 p.m., checking everybody out and posing for pictures.

Changes Coming to Busy Periwinkle Way/Casa Ybel Intersection

Pedestrian-Crossing-Sign-K-6534On Tuesday, Sanibel City Council passed two resolutions for two easements, one on each side of Casa Ybel Road that will create collection areas for pedestrians and bicyclists waiting to cross Periwinkle to Jerry’s Shopping Center.

Made possible by a cooperative agreement between Sanibel and businesses Mango Bay and Bank of the Islands, the plans for the intersection, one of Sanibel’s busiest, are supported by the Sanibel Bicycle Club and Jerry’s Market. Both have worked with the City on the project.

bike riderAs part of the project, the existing crosswalk across Periwinkle on the east side of the intersection will be removed. The crosswalk will be moved to the west side of the intersection. Statistics show that this will reduce congestion and improve safety at the intersection. Foot and bike traffic coming west along the Shared Use Path will wait to cross Casa Ybel in the small holding area to be created at Bank of the Islands. Once across Casa Ybel, the new pull-off area at Mango Bay will serve the same purpose for those waiting to cross Periwinkle on the new crosswalk.

Weather permitting, the work is expected to be completed by the end of November.

The Clam Shack is Open

The Clam ShackI have heard lots of compliments this week from first-time visitors to Sanibel’s newest dining establishment. The Crab Shack opened on Monday in the former location of Greenhouse Grill at 2407 Periwinkle Way.

Serving New England seafood with every meal cooked to order, they are open at 11:30 a.m. & serve both lunch and dinner, plus take-out.

The menu runs the gamut from appetizers of stuffed quahogs and steamers – and clam chowdah and lobster bisque – to sandwiches and dinners with fish, scallops, shrimp, oysters, lobster, and fried clams with bellies! It has not passed the Maine girl test yet, but I hope to try it out soon.

2016 Projections by Realtors’ Chief Economist

NAR gray-logoColleague and friend, Sherri Meadows, 2014 President of Florida Realtors® today is attending a National Association of Realtors® Broker Summit that is just wrapping up in Charlotte, NC.

She posted the following social media message today:

“We cannot relax in the U.S. just because the dollar is strengthening, we are the cleanest shirt in the dirty clothes basket”, said Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist and Sr. VP of Research during his delivery of trends and predictions today at the NAR Broker Summit. Lower gas prices, modest reduction in jobs, weaknesses in China, increased foreign investment, rising rents and lower vacancy rates, inventory shortages and pent up demand for new construction, and credit scoring changes will all have a positive impact on the economic outlook for 2016. Thank you Lawrence for a very entertaining and insightful presentation today!”

Lenders Return to Commercial

realtor logoI read more from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in the September/October “Realtor®” magazine. His track record on the market is always “spot on”. Good positive economic news in his article which says, in part:

“It took a while, but commercial real estate transactions are finally gaining traction. Realtors® who specialize in commercial deals are reporting a solid 35% increase in transactions over the past 12 months. Recovery time following a recession is typically 18 to 24 months, but his cycle lasted four years. It was a hard punch. Business has bounced back and, fortunately, should remain brisk.

“The improving economy and an improved lending environment are the primary reasons for the gains. A net increase of 12 million jobs from the low point five years ago has boosted demand for office, retail, warehouse, and industrial spaces. That’s helping to push down vacancy rates and push up rents in all sectors.

“But it is the second factor – lending – that is making the biggest difference. In our latest survey of commercial practitioners, 42% said they’re seeing credit easing, while only 20% said they’re seeing stricter conditions. The responses are vastly different from the last few years, when nearly all respondents reported greater difficulties in obtaining credit to get their deals done.

“And yet hurdles remain. A large number of commercial practioners continue to see their cllients’ deals hamstrung by tight credit requirements (albeit less tight than what they previously experienced). Of those whose clients managed to obtain financing, more than half had to put down at least 30%.

“There’s a reason for these challenges. Most practioners are engaged in deals of $1 million or less, and their clients rely mostly on lending from local community banks, not from Wall Street or large financial institutions. Commercial loans don’t carry government backing – regardless of their size. Therefore, lenders proceed with extreme caution.

“That absence of government guarantees is why it took so long for the sector to recover. This is a good reminder of the importance of the FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regarding credit flow as well as the advocacy role of the National Association of Realtors®. Think of how much more quickly the residential sector recovered after the slowdown – thanks to government backing of those federal entities. Yes, commercial lending has faced a slower recovery, but with community lenders not getting back into the sector, it’s a good bet we’ll see continued strengthening.”

Above and beyond the improvement in the economy, how does this commercial market relate to Sanibel and Captiva you might ask? Because our area is so small, some island Realtors® sell both residential and commercial real estate. Our Multiple Listing Service covers both and I got an inquiry just this week about one of the only three commercial listings for sale here today. It has been many years that just that few have been available on the islands. There are none on Captiva.

The three on Sanibel include a retail gift shop on Palm Ridge Road, an office condo in Anchor Pointe plaza on Periwinkle Way, and a free-standing retail building also on Periwinkle. Through the years, I have sold several commercial island properties, including two large hotels/motels. Like most communities, Sanibel’s Land Development Code has specifics regarding commercial property. There is good info on www.mySanibel.com and the Code is on-line at https://www.municode.com/library/fl/sanibel

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 18-25

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Blind Pass #F106 2/2 $495K, Lighthouse Pointe #221 3/2 $589K, Sundial East #L402 2/2 $769K, Sanibel Arms West #E2 2/2 $899K (our listing).

1 price change: Sundial West #H411 1/1 now $269.9K.

1 new sale: Blind Pass #G203 2/2 listed at $485K.

1 closed sale: Island Beach Club #F230 2/2 $605K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 $749K, 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 $1.349M.

1 price change: 1065 Fish Crow Rd 2/2 now $699.9K.

No new sales.

4 closed sales: 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 $700K, 546 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $760K, 169 Southwinds Dr 2/2 $745K, 2999 Twin Lakes Ln 4/3.5 $810K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5821 Pine Tree Dr now $569K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: 15133 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $3.645M.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 listed at $580K.

1 closed sale: Captiva Shores #1A 3/2.5 $1.53M.

HOMES

No new listings: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 now $1.675M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

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.)

Sun clip artNext Friday it will be October; until then, here’s hoping your summer weather continues too…

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Labor Day Weekend 2015 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Photo courtesy of Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

Photo courtesy of Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

 

It is Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan) reporting that it has been another quiet week on the Islands. We breathed a sigh of relief when Tropical Storm Erika dissipated last weekend and didn’t bring much rain to Sanibel and Captiva.

Weather for the long holiday weekend beginning today is expected to be typical of late summer with temperatures in the high 80’s/low 90’s and 20 to 40% chance of rain. The gorgeous summer sunsets continue, but island occupancy is down as it usually is in September.

Below are a few news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® MLS over the last seven days.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoThis week, several of our listings had showings, I met with owners about future listings, and we worked on several fall marketing projects.

Yesterday, we had an Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting. Attendance was light and only three properties were on caravan (one our new listing at Compass Point). No new listings were announced and no price reductions.

Much of the meeting chatter was about inventory. It has been another good year for island real estate sales, making some wonder if we will have enough real estate to sell this winter. Here is an update of that inventory:

SANIBEL

  • Condos – just 76 for sale with 121 sold/closed this year & another 14 under contract. Average sale price up 5% over last year when 165 condos sold.
  • Homes – just 89 for sale with 188 sold/closed this year & another 26 under contract. Average sale price up 6% over last year when 206 homes sold.
  • Lots – 65 for sale with 34 sold/closed this year & another 4 under contract. Average sale price down 5% over last year when 27 lots sold.

CAPTIVA

  • Condos – just 38 for sale with 28 sold/closed this year & another one under contract. Average sale price up 45% (because most of the sales this year were high-end condos at Lands End Village). Last year 22 condos sold.
  • Homes – just 39 for sale with 19 sold/closed this year & another one under contract. Average sale price up 14% over last year when 23 homes sold.
  • Lots – just 3 for sale with 2 sold/closed this year & another 2 under contract. None sold last year.

(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.)

sancap GO MLS logoOne more Association of Realtors® meeting is scheduled in September, then two in October before we go back to the “season” schedule of every Thursday morning, with Caravans alternating between east-end and west-end properties. Listed properties are allowed on Caravan only once in a 6-month period.

Over 10-Year View, Home Sales Are Strong

realtor logoIt is not just here where inventory is down. The below article was posted Tuesday on-line at “Daily Real Estate News”:

“The National Association of REALTORS® finds that July 2015 existing-home sales are markedly higher than the 10-year July average. The 10-year average is an average of the data from the past 10 July months.

“Regionally, the Northeast was the only area of the country slightly below its 10-year average, while all other regions showed stronger sales. The Midwest and South were up above average by more than 15% and the West has risen 9%, according to NAR.

“The median home price is also higher than the 10-year average. In its 10-year review, NAR says home prices nationally began to drop in 2006 in some regions and 2007 nationally but did not see the biggest drop until around 2009.

“”The trend for median home prices turned around completely in 2012, all regions and the U.S. saw their lowest July median price in 2011,” NAR notes on its blog Economists’ Outlook. Since then, home prices have been on the rise.

“A shortage of homes for-sale continues to persist in the current market. There are fewer homes available for sale this July than the 10-year July average.

“”In 2005, the U.S. had the fastest pace of homes sold relative to the inventory taking 4.6 months,” NAR notes. “In 2010, the U.S. had the slowest pace taking 11.9 months to sell the supply of homes on the market.” The 10-year July average in supply is 7.7 compared to this July, which is at a 4.8-month supply.”

Another Annual Renovation Project – “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center

Ding Darling signRenovations begin on September 8 to the entrance and front-desk area of the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. During the two weeks that it will take to complete the improvements, the Center will remain open with visitors redirected to another entrance.

NAR Survey: Realtors® Plan to Extend Closing Dates

Florida Realtors logoFollowing up on my blog posting last week about the upcoming federally-mandated changes regarding real estate closings for residential property with mortgages, the article below was posted on-line this week on FloridaRealtors®.

“A new National Association of Realtors® (NAR) survey finds that more than 50% of real estate agents plan to extend sales contracts and build in more time for closings due to the Oct. 3 implementation of new mortgage disclosures.

“Currently, the HUD-1 settlement form can be revised and delivered up to the day of settlement. By contrast, the new Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure (TRID) that goes into effect Oct. 3 must be finalized and in the borrower’s hands three days prior to closing.

“Failure to meet that deadline can result in a re-issuance of the closing disclosure and another three-day waiting period.

“”When asked about their plans to deal with the new TRID rules, 55.9% of Realtors plan to change their purchase agreements to reflect a longer timeline, while 31.2% will add contingencies to the contract,” says NAR based on the research.

“Florida Realtors plans to update its contracts on Sept. 28, 2015, in preparation for the October change. The association currently has the updated contracts posted online in a redline version that graphically shows the changes.

“The poll did not specifically ask how long a Realtor would extend a sales contract, and there appears to be no consensus on the issue. “Based on a handful of anecdotes, some (Realtors) are adding 15 days to a 30-day contract and others are opting for the 60-day contract,” says Ken Fears, NAR’s director of regional economics and housing finance. The NAR study also found that 82% of agents have taken some type of training to prepare for the TRID regime that takes effect Oct. 3….”

Good News About Lake O – Local Estuary Sitting at Good Levels

Everglades-Map-historical-WEBBelow is some positive news about the rainy season this year, as posted in the “Santiva Chronicle” on Wednesday:

“A little more rain is needed, but Lake Okeechobee is at an acceptable level right now, which is good news for Sanibel Island and its estuary.

““For the majority of this year’s rainy season flows have been within the optimal range for the estuary,” James Evans, Sanibel Natural Resources director, said regarding the balance between fresh and salt water.

Sanibelcityseal logoThis balance has been maintained although rainfall on the east side of the state has been much lower than in Southwest Florida. The Southwest Florida Water Management District, which oversees the water resources in the southern half of Florida in 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys, reported Tuesday, Sept. 1, that the remnants of tropical systems Danny and Erika helped lift August rainfall to near average in much of the district.

““The Army Corps of Engineers tries to maintain Lake Okeechobee between 12.5 and 15.5 feet. Right now it’s at 13.08 feet. It has come up about a half-foot in the past week,” Evans said. “That’s a good thing,” he said. “The lake is 1.38 feet below where it was last year, but it is well within the management band that the Corps of Engineers would like to maintain.

““We would like to see the level of the lake come up a bit more before the end of the rainy season so that we have water for supplemental flows to the estuaries and to make sure that all the urban and agricultural needs can be met, but it is trending in the right direction.”

“Despite several days of rain at the end of the month, Martin, St. Lucie, Broward and Miami-Dade counties all got less than average rainfall in August.

sccf“Evans said the city and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation are watching flows coming into the local estuary from the Caloosahatchee watershed and those flows “are a bit higher than we would like to see.” “More rain out over the lake between now and October without an excess amount falling within the local watershed would be ideal,” Evans, who recently coauthored a comprehensive report on the Caloosahatchee watershed for the city, said.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 28-September 4

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Village of Sanibel #R1 3/2.5 $449K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Sundial #H303 2/2 listed at $589K, Signal Inn #18 3/2 listed at $1.089M.

3 closed sales: Colonnades #11 1/1 $210K, Captains Walk #C7 1/1 $205K, Captains Walk #F3  2/1.5 $278K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 3965 Coquina Dr 2/2 $330K, 5267 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $895K, 1555 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2.5 $1.1M, 4428 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 $1.25M.

4 price changes: 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $539K, 1024 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 duplex now $559.5K, 887 Casa Ybel Rd 4/3 duplex now $689K, 1328 Seaspray Ln 4/4 now $875K.

4 new sales: 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 listed at $479K, 999 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $547K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 listed at $679.9K, 1537 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 listed at $829K.

4 closed sales: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $585K, 0 Sea Pines 3/2 $849K, 657 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $915K, 821 Sand Dollar Dr 4/4 $1.5M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 9232 Dimmick Dr now $235K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1815 Ardsley Way $185K.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 17050 Captiva Dr 3/3 $4.9M.

1 price change: 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.9499M

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

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.)

LaborDaySignHappy Labor Day Weekend!

Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan)

Summer Rain in the Neighborhoods on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It was another fairly quiet week on Sanibel with late-day summer rains continuing and not much real estate action over the last seven days. Just had the electricity in the office go on and off multiple times as I was trying to post this blog. Those folks who scooted out early on a Friday afternoon had the right idea as a huge rain is dousing Southwest Florida now (4 p.m.).

In the real estate world, The SanibelSusan Team had another nice closing on Tuesday, the charming olde-Florida home with guest house, separate garage, and resort-style pool at 375 East Gulf Dr. Due to building code restrictions, we don’t see many multi-building residential properties like it on Sanibel. Since it dates back to the late 50’s, before City incorporation, it has some wonderful and unusual features.

375 East Gulf

Pool at 375 East Gulf Dr

Wednesday, we also had a walk-in looking for an entry-level income-producing condo at Sundial and we continue to receive inquiries about where to rent next winter. There aren’t many vacancies left!

Teammate Dave and I had a couple of listing presentations this week which resulted in two new listings – both pool homes. One, a split-plan 3 bedroom 2-1/2 bath near the beach in Little Lake Murex has an amazing wide and long lake view. The other, a large 5-bedroom 4-bath in gated Laguna Lakes with amenities, is just off-island.

20150609_162955

View at 597 Lake Murex Circle

View 2

View at Sunset South #9C

It was another week without a Thursday Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting, but there will be one next week when our new listing at Sunset South #9C is on the schedule.

Little real estate activity has been posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday. Compared to “high season” when we may see as many as 15-25 island properties go under contract in a week, this week there were just five: a single Sanibel condo and four homes, three on Sanibel and one on Captiva. Those details follow a few news items below.

Florida’s Economic Growth Beats U.S. Average

Florida Realtors logoThe following article was posted at FloridaRealtors® on-line yesterday:

“Florida’s economic growth in 2014 outpaced the national average, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Wednesday. Goods and services produced in Florida increased 2.7% last year compared with 2.2% nationally, the bureau said.

“Growth in Florida topped all states east of the Mississippi River except West Virginia where the economy jumped 5.1% thanks to its mining industry, said BEA spokesman Thomas Dail.

“Florida’s economy, meanwhile, has benefited from strong growth in real estate and rental and leasing, Dail said. Florida, with more than triple the national growth in the real estate sector, was behind only North Dakota, the federal data showed.

“”There has been fairly strong contributions from retail trade as well,” Dail added. Florida had nearly double the national growth in the retail sector and was behind only Arizona, Washington and North Dakota, according to BEA’s numbers.

“Overall, Florida’s economic growth ranked 11th in the nation – good enough to beat any state touching the Atlantic – including New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Georgia.

“The one bleak spot: Florida’s per capita share of the economy – the state’s output of goods and services divided by its population – continues to lag the nation’s. Last year, Florida’s was $38,690 vs. the nation’s $49,049. Florida has yet to recover to its pre-recession high of $44,048 in 2006.

“Florida has been rebounding from a deep recession since 2011, when the state’s economy actually contracted 0.6%, federal data shows. Goods and services grew only 1.7% in 2012, below the 1.9% national average.

Florida’s economy outpaced the nation’s in 2013 and 2014.”

© 2015 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Donna Gehrke-White. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Sanibel + Captiva Islands: Florida’s Best Family-Friendly Nature-Loving Escapes

We know it has helped the real estate market and the economy here as the islands have made top-ranking on many internet sites. FYI, here’s the article about Sanibel and Captiva that was posted yesterday on-line on “Forbes” by their travel writer, Katie Kelly Bell:

Photo from Forbes on-line 06-11-2015

Photo from Forbes on-line 06-11-2015

“The sister islands of Sanibel and Captiva are something of a special breed in Florida. You won’t find bustling theme parks, water parks or alligator attractions on these islands. There won’t be long lines of sweaty tourists or beaches thronged with sunbathers either. In fact, these islands with their fertile unspoiled habitats seduce visitors without even trying.

Photo from Forbes on-line 06-11-15

Photo from Forbes on-line 06-11-15

“The islanders like to think the appeal is in the numbers: 15 miles of beaches, 25 miles of bike paths, 50 kinds of fish, 230 kinds of birds, 250 kinds of shells and their favorite number of all—zero traffic lights. Sanibel alone is home to 6,400 acres of mangrove wilderness, which is almost half of the total island. Many visitors just come to spend time in the J. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge—a birders paradise, but also an ideal place for nature hikes and the occasional alligator spotting.

“Sanibel and Captiva (which are connected by a short causeway) also have a few simple guidelines in place that keep this wildlife-rich paradise as pristine as it was when I first visited as a young girl almost 40 years ago. The island allows no weekly home rentals (although smaller condominiums can be rented weekly) and no developer, no matter how deep the pockets, is permitted to build a structure higher than three stories.

“Yet, most people really don’t care about the rules; they come for the uncrowded beaches and unparalleled shelling. During my first visit as a child, my father and I decided to go shelling in the rain. We discovered the most magical things on that gloomy day–lighting whelks, king conch, shark eyes–even the occasional fish or horseshoe crab washed ashore by storm tide. Our pockets bulged with loot. I felt like an explorer, alone in the beachy wilderness. The adventure remains one of my most treasured memories with my dad to this day.

“In the following years I’ve taken my own babies down those beaches—each walk its own treasure hunt. Shelling on Sanibel is a rewarding pursuit simply because it yields intact shells—the ones with critters have to go back—but the empties are yours to keep. Of course you can sunbathe, or just drift in the gentle waves, but busy bees like me find the shelling hard to ignore.

“The island is threaded with bike trails and it’s a great way to get around or just explore sections you haven’t yet seen. I prefer biking through the wildlife refuge to driving—one always sees more when you slow down—and see you will. You can also take a guided tour by kayak through the refuge or through the mangrove forest. (Tarpon Bay Explorers offer several options led by naturalists). Expect to see a wide range of wildlife including dolphins, manatees, alligators, anhinga, pelican, and more.

“Shoppers won’t be disappointed, nor will those who just eat out every meal…Sanibel and Captiva have enough of both options to keep visitors busy for weeks without ever having to return to the dreary “mainland”.

“Today I go for different reasons—my mother, who lives there now, is aging and we spend more time shuttling her to the hospitals in Ft. Myers than shelling or kayaking. But, on each trip the wildlife still give–I’ll spy an anhinga drying its wings, or a pelican diving for dinner, and shells still wash ashore. Maybe that’s why people come back year after year—the island never changes–and you can feel, if only for a while, that you haven’t changed either.

When to Go: Summer is certainly hottest—but the islands are quieter during this season. Once November hits (through late April) you’ll be competing with the high season in terms of pricing. There are never any lines or crowded beaches here—just traffic getting off and on the island. So year-round it’s still a pleasure to visit….”

Sanibel Sewer Project Moves to Last Phase

Sanibelcityseal logoThe Sanibel Sewer Expansion Program is moving into Phase Four which is the last portion of the program which included centralization in 1974 and consolidation of island wastewater in 1991.

The program is about 99% complete with 42 properties in Phase Four remaining to be converted from their current septic systems. A low flow exemption has been granted to 28 properties, which will remain on septic for a temporary time period, which allows these properties to remain on their systems until they fail. The construction of Phase Four is estimated to take three off-seasons with the potential of being completed in just two. A more firm timetable will be established for City Council’s July meeting.

Read a Book, Get a Donut

Bennetts logoSanibel’s Bennett’s Fresh Roast is encouraging children to read while out of school for the summer. The shop is offering donuts in exchange for reading. Through August 31, school-aged children, from kindergarten through 5th grade, may receive a complimentary fresh donut each time they read a book at Bennett’s. Children may receive one free donut per day before 4 p.m. when they read a book while accompanied by a parent. Books appropriate for children are available for reading on-site.

Island Businesses Earn Trip Advisor Awards

trip advisor logoTrip Advisor has awarded several Sanibel businesses with Hall of Fame Awards (which are earned after winning five years in a row) or single excellence awards. Trip Advisor says Sanibel is “a family destination offering the best of both worlds. Sanibel Island is a vibrant community with laid-back beach relaxation or deep sea adventures. Fishing excursions, dolphin-watching tours and snorkeling appeal to travelers of all ages. Sanibel vacation homes are praised for their cozy, yet airy vibes and proximity to some of American’s most gorgeous beaches, with views into the Gulf of Mexico to make for a frame-worthy picture or postcard.”

Here are the businesses that recently received awards:

pinnocchiosPinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream

Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame Winner.

tarpon bay explorers logoTarpon Bay Explorers

2015 Hall of Fame

Oceans Reach LogoOceans Reach Condominiums

Customer Satisfaction Index of 98.2 when rated for value, rooms, service, cleanliness, and location.

BeachView_logoBeachview Cottages

Hall of Fame Award for their unique vacation experience.

Fourth of July Events Announced

fireworks-clipart-fireworks_rocketsThe 4th of July is on Saturday this year. Here are the events promoted in today’s “Island Sun”.

 

25th Annual Independence Day Parade – themed “For The Fun of It”. Parade line-up begins on Island Inn Road at 8:30 a.m. & the parade begins at 9:30 a.m., traveling from Island Inn Road to Tarpon Bay Road down Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. Commemorative T-shirts are available at Bank of the Islands and will be sold along the parade route.

36th Annual Road Rally – sponsored by Sanibel-Captiva Optimists Club, teams puzzle out clues while following a prescribed driving course around the island. Prizes are awarded for correct time and mileage, the most correct answers to the quiz about things seen along the route, as well as best decorated vehicle. Entry forms available in various locations around the island. Fee covers car, driver, navigator, unlimited crew, and includes one official Road Rally T-shirt (additional shirts available for $15). Rally begins at Timbers Restaurant/Sanibel Grill parking lot at noon, and ends there for the “after-glow party”. Starting times are staggered. All proceeds provide funds for college scholarships.

Sanibel Island Fireworks Nights 2015 – at 9 p.m. set off from the end of Bailey Road into San Carlos Bay. Best viewing from the causeway. (Sorry, no public event at The Dunes this year, but member and VIP event 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)

First Federal Junior Duck Stamp Judging On Sanibel

Ding Darling Society logoNext year, for the first time, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge will hose the Federal Junior Duck Stamp judging. The public is invited, so mark April 22, 2016 on your calendars, and stay tuned for news of other activities in the planning stages.

““Ding” on the Wing”, the “Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society newsletter, announced this week that “Every year, the Refuge hosts the judging of the Florida Duck Stamp program. In 2016, it will welcome the nationwide judging – a fitting tribute to Sanibel Island as the birthplace of the JDS program.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 5-12

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Somerset #B201 3/2.5 $1.95M.

2 price changes: Captains Walk #B4 2/2 now $315K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $485K.

1 new sale: Sanibel Arms #E7 1/1 listed for $339K.

5 closed sales: Colonnades #41 1/1 $185K, Sundial #H109 1/1 $315K, Seawind #A106 2/2.5 $450K, Sundial #J401 1/1 $465K, Lighthouse Point #231 2/2 $640K.

HOMES

20150609_1622525 new listings: 1314 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $525K, 1388 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $679K, 887 Casa Ybel Rd 4/3 duplex $699K, 597 Lake Murex Cir 3/2.5 $749K (our listing), 689 East Rocks Dr 3/3 $768.5K.

4 price changes: 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 now $659K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $670K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $789K, 5773 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $1.95M

3 new sales: 1599 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $489K, 4515 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 listed for $585K, 2999 Twin Ponds Dr 4/3.5 listed for $865K.

aerial 375 east gulf5 closed sales: 536 Boulder Dr 3/2.5 $650K, 820 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2 $950K, 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 $970K (our buyer), 6170 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3 $1.575M, 428 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $1.6M.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 915 Main St $150K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Villas #2525 2/2 $649K.

1 price change: Tennis Villas #3111 1/1 now $249K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16237 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $3.95M.

1 price change: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 now $2.049M.

1 new sale: 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 listed for $3.99M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

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.

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayUntil next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan