Sanibel Sharing, Singing, Shelling, Sales, & Scoop


Sanibelcityseal logoFamilies on spring break are on Sanibel – or at least those wanting an environmentally-fun outdoor vacation with fabulous weather. Traffic is challenging with the City encouraging no unnecessary travel from 3 to 7 p.m. That’s what happens in “peak” season. The City traffic app showing the cameras at the intersections helps us plan our routes which always includes turning “right”, not left.

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoThe team and I got our Friday work done early this week to give me time to run home and change for our BIG ARTS Community Chorus Spring Concerts. Singers were/are required to be on-stage for pre-performance warm-ups at 6 p.m. and with the traffic being iffy, extra time was anticipated. It took me 45 minutes last night at 5 p.m. to drive the 3 miles from my east-end home to get back to BIG ARTS. Hopefully, it will be easier tonight. Last night’s performance was a sell-out!

Chorus Pic spring 2018.jpgThese concerts were early this year because the buildings at the BIG ARTS campus on Dunlop Road will be coming down in just a few weeks when the construction project for the new facility begins. Next year, when the new performance hall is complete, the entire chorus will fit on the stage and the audience will enjoy more comfy seating.

With our listings, teammate Dave held three open houses again this week and we had closings yesterday and today where they are both our listing and our sale. All of the action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below. You’ll notice that price reductions continue, but there also was good sales action.

1st Meeting of the New Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District

We heard excellent news yesterday following the first meeting of the entirely new board of the South Florida Water Management District. You may remember that just days after he took office, Florida’s Governor DeSantis called for the resignation of the former board members. Over the course of the last few weeks, Gov DeSantis appointed new board members.

Chauncey GossIn West Palm Beach yesterday, at the first meeting of this new board, they chose their new leaders to fulfill the District’s flood control, water quality projects, environmental restoration and water supply missions. The new board elected Sanibel’s-own Chauncey Goss as their Chairman. That is great for the 8.1 million residents of South Florida. Congratulations, Chauncey!

Shell Identification App

banner-shellmuseumappThe Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum has announced that their shell identification app now is available. Many members of the local shell club including SanibelSusan helped for several months with the beta version as the shell library was compiled.

The app is available through the link below and is helpful in several ways. First it helps identify shells, provides a full-color shell guide, offers info from museum experts about shells, and provides info on the daily activities and special events at the museum, and beach walks. You can take a picture of a shell and quickly identify it using the app. That’s the part of the testing where I participated.

https://www.shellmuseum.org/shell-app

Florida Homes Are Hot

Posted on-line by FloridaRealtors® on Tuesday, this article is sourced to “Builder” magazine  (03/11/19) Sowers, Scott:builder

“Florida ranked as the No. 1 place for buyers, according to a recent Lending Tree survey. “Out of all mortgage requests made during the study, 9.1% were for homes in Florida, and moving companies that worked with out-of-state homebuyers reported that 12.4% of all requested destinations were in Florida. Builder magazine calls Florida’s growth “explosive.”

florida“The study broke Florida down into five distinct housing markets.

“”In Southwest Florida you have a lot of retirees. In central Florida you have retirees and international buyers,” says Tony Polito, Metrostudy’s regional director for the Tampa area. “In South Florida you have a lot of international buyers.”

“The largest pool of buyers in Jacksonville are first-time and entry-level buyers impacted by a lack of choices and affordability. In Central Florida, there is local demand as well as a diversified base of buyers that includes investors, seasonal residents, international and vacation homebuyers.

“High demand and low inventory have pushed prices up, according to Toby Hoff, Metrostudy regional director.

“Builders moving out of the core areas of Central Florida have been able to bring more affordable homes online. Buyers in this supply-constrained market are now willing to deal with longer commutes or less-than-desirable schools in order to find something that is both new and in their price range,” he says.

“Although Tampa, Sarasota and St. Petersburg are all interconnected, they are very different housing markets, with Tampa booming and generating new jobs. “We have two counties that account for 90% of the housing activity. Hillsborough, which the city of Tampa sits in, and Pasco County to the north,” says Polito. “Between Pasco and Hillsborough County, today we have a 14.8-month supply of vacant lots. Market equilibrium in this market is 24 to 36 months. Anything below 24 months means land prices are still rising. You can’t even find a small orange grove to develop.””

Florida Realtors® & Dubai Land Dept. Sign Agreement to Encourage Collaboration

Florida Realtors logoHaving visited Dubai last year, it was fun to read the below Wednesday news release from Florida Realtors® – where friends President Eric Sain and President-Elect Barry Grooms represented our organization at MIPIM 2019.Dubai govt

“CANNES, France, March 13, 2019 — Florida Realtors and the Dubai Land Department today signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during MIPIM 2019, the international real estate and property investors conference held March 12-15, 2019, in Cannes, France.

dubai land dept“The MoU establishes the parties’ cooperation in developing a mutually beneficial relationship in the general field of real estate, building a foundation for future business opportunities.

““As professionals in the real estate industry, we take pride in providing our knowledge and expertise to clients in Florida, Dubai and throughout the world,” said 2019 Florida Realtors President Eric Sain. “Florida Realtors and the Dubai Land Department share mutual goals for future success. We look forward to strengthening our cooperative efforts and building more connections to enhance business opportunities for all of our members.”

“As part of the agreement, Florida Realtors and the Dubai Land Department “affirm the value of international collaboration and agree to exchange information in the general field of real estate, promote professionalism in the real estate industry and engage in other activities that offer mutual benefits.”

“According to Her Excellency Ms. Majida Ali Rashed, CEO of the real estate investment promotion and management sector of the Dubai Land Department, establishing this relationship with Florida Realtors enables the parties to develop a greater mutual understanding and more mutually beneficial opportunities.

“The MoU signing took place today at the Dubai Pavilion. Florida Realtors 2019 President-Elect Barry Grooms attended the signing along with President Sain; Her Excellency Ms. Majida Ali Rashed, CEO of the real estate investment promotion and management sector of the Dubai Land Department; Mr. Shadi Bteddini, CEO of AQARI Global, the USA Trustee of the Dubai Land Department; and Florida Realtors Director of Global Business Maria Grulich.

“Also in attendance: Spanish International Realty Alliance CEO Francis Fernandez Ariza, representing another global partner with Florida Realtors; André Perrissel, president of FNAIM Provence International Committee, FNAIM Aix Marseille Provence; Michel Platero, president of FNAIM Grand Paris; Ingrid Damoiseau, president of World Property Business Club; and Adam Scott, an international delegate also representing the last three groups, all highly regarded real estate organizations in France that also are global partners with Florida Realtors..

“Representatives of several sponsors and partners with Florida Realtors for this year’s MIPIM were present as well, including: Enterprise Florida, Florida Power & Light, the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA) and the Pinellas Realtors Organization (PRO).”

Island Water Reminders For Seasonal Residents

island-water-logoThere was a nice checklist in the spring issue of the “IWA Pipeline. Here’s the abbreviated version for keeping your water secure when you are away.

  • Take advantage of IWA’s annual free turn-off and turn-on of your water at the meter. If you don’t have a pool or irrigation system, it makes sense that you have IWA do this if you are heading north and won’t be back until next “season”.
  • If you don’t want your water turned off at the meter and don’t have a backflow prevention device, turn off your house water valve. That turns off all spigots inside the house. If you do this, it is wise to also shut off the hot-water heater valves and corresponding circuit breaker.
  • As a precaution remove any outside hoses that won’t be used while you are away.
  • Have your home-watch read your water meter to see if water is going through the meter or if you have high usage. IWA reads meters only once a month.
  • Check the usage and amount of your water bill every month.
  • Put a fresh battery in your irrigation controller. Power outages and surges are common in the summer. Irrigations system controllers have battery back-up for these instances, but if the battery is dead, some systems will default to water every day. Also check your rain sensor to be sure that it’s operating correctly for your property. Speaking of sensors, Sanibel irrigation systems are required to have a working rain sensor.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Mar 8-15, 2019sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #M1 2/2 $515K, Sanibel Siesta #109 2/2 $525K, Pine Cove #C 2/2 $1.095M.

6 price changes: Donax Village #10 1/2 now $349K, Sundial #H210 1/1 now $399K, Island Beach Club #240F 2/2 now $749K, Surfside 12 #A3 3/2 now $799K, Yacht Haven #2 3/2 now $1.049M, Sanibel Surfside #231 3/3.5 now $1.25M.

3 new sales: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 listed at $249K, Pine Cove #204 2/2 listed at $1.45M, Atrium #207 2/2 listed at $1.55M.

3 closed sales: Captains Walk #B2 1/1 $214K (our listing & sale), Lighthouse Point #128 3/2 $650K (our listing & sale), Loggerhead Cay #143 2/2 $715K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1418 Sanderling Cir 3/3 $699K, 6103 Starling Way 2/2 $739K, 247 Christofer Ct 3/2 $825K, 547 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3.5 $975K, 2552 Harbour Ln 3/2 $1.195M, 1035 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $1.695M.

20 price changes: 9465 Coventry Ct 3/2 now $599,999; 573 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $645K; 3017 Turtle Gait Ln 3/2 now $689K; 749 Cardium St 3/2 now $689K; 678 Durion Ct 3/2 now $749.9K; 5747 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $795K; 405 Tiree Cir 3/2 now $799K; 1050 White Ibis Dr 4/3.5 now $849K (our listing); 1410 Albatross Rd 3/3 now $875K; 478 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $949K; 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 now $969K; 1199 Par View Dr 3/2.5 now $999K; 1345 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.12M; 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/4 now $1.195M; 2282 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.295M; 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/2 now $1.485M; 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 now $1.495M; 2411 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 now $2.499M; 1136 Golden Olive Ct 4/4.5 now $2.59M; 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $2.95M.

Pool View

Pool & water view at 1050 White Ibis Dr in Gulf Shores

13 new sales: 9248 Kincaid Ct 2/1 listed at $399K, 651 Donax St 4/2 duplex listed at $524.9K, 9277 Dimmick Dr 3/2 listed at $549K, 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 listed at $595K, 6143 Henderson 4/3 listed at $599K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed at $699K, 5306 Umbrella Pool Rd 4/3 listed at $749K, 1309 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.095M, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 listed at $1.169M, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed at $1.185M, 4992 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.365M, 5606 Baltusrol Ct 4/6 listed at $1.795M, 6170 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3 listed at $2.374M.

2 closed sales: 9448 Cotton Ct 3/2 $800K, 742 Sand Dollar Dr 2/3 $900K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 223 Robinwood Cir $329K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4124 1/2 $399,999.

1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 now $638K.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2636 2/2 listed at $759K.

1 closed sale: Beach Villas #2428 2/2 $625K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 55 Sandpiper Ct 3/2 listed at $929K.

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.

Enjoy your weekend! st pats day.jpg

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

February Flowers & Sanibel/Captiva Happenings


It’s another Friday and another month almost over, as Sanibel/Captiva weather continues to be summer-like. It has been another week with temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s, with more of the same expected over the next few days.

February Bougainvillea

The bougainvillea & roses in my yard always get happy in February!

Now that it’s really “season”, getting from one end of Periwinkle to the other has been challenging, sometimes in both directions, but particularly on Presidents’ Day and most days as workers head off-island (from about 3 to 6 p.m.)

SSRA with flagHere in the office, SanibelSusan listings had some action this week, with a sale, a price reduction, a new listing, and a home inspection.

The complete action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days, follow a few news items below.

February Membership Meeting – Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday morning was the island Realtors® monthly membership meeting. It brought a standing-room only crowd which is typical for February which usually is when business here is best. Surprisingly during the Caravan portion of the meeting, when new sales are announced, there was only one – a condo unit at Loggerhead Cay

During the educational portion of the meeting, speakers from the Sanibel School updated members with info we can use in presenting the school to prospective buyers. Assistant Principal Jamie Reed provided a school history, explaining how the school expanded a few years ago from K through 5, to K through 8. She also said that today school enrollment is down. The school has capacity for 354 students, with enrollment today at 270.sanibel school

With school funding based on the number of students, that also is down, but strong community financial support contributes to the school’s success. The Sanibel School Fund, for example, which is a group of education-minded citizens and parents raised the money needed to hire the school’s Spanish teacher, providing that foreign language training to all grades. The school’s PTA and close relationships with local organizations like the Wildlife Refuge, BIG ARTS, and the Conservation Foundation, also provide School support.

Classroom sizes at The Sanibel School include two classes in each of the lower grades with no more than 18 students per class. Grades 6 through 8 each have one class with up to 22 students in each. This family-like network of students and teachers provide a nurturing environment contributing to the school’s academic success rate, with grades continually ranking in the top 5-6% of the state.

Donna Marks, Sanibel School Registrar and Information Specialist, is available to provide school tours and explain what is needed for school enrollment. It no longer is a requirement that their students live on Sanibel/Captiva or have parents who work on the islands. More info at https://sbl.leeschools.net/our_families/registration__enroll_my_student

2019 Lee County Market Report – January

FL gulf coast mls logoThis morning, the following report was released by the Florida Gulf Coast MLS:

For the fourth straight month Single Family Homes shows a decrease

“Lee County’s Single Family housing market saw a decrease for the fourth straight month in January, according to the latest statistics just released by Florida Realtors®. Year-over-year, sales were down for both by double digits, but Townhouses and Condos are holding steady over the last four months.

“January showed a -18.7% decrease in the number of Closed Sales for Single Family Homes, and a -10.4% decrease for Townhouses and Condos, compared to the same time last year. Sale prices were up slightly for Single Family, while townhouse and Condos remain steady. Inventory is on the rise for Single Family showing 6.5% Months Supply of Inventory and 7.5 for Townhouses and Condos. The number of Active Listings jumped up again for a fifth straight month at 18.9% for Single Family Homes and 12.5% for Townhouses and Condos compared to 2018….

“Broken down by cities, Single Family sales in Bonita Springs, Pine Island and North Fort Myers saw an increase in number of Closed Sales, year over year. All remaining cities saw a decrease over last year. With Sanibel having a -60% and Fort Myers Beach having a -58.2% showing the largest decrease over 2018….”

Note: The numbers reported represent sales by all members of Florida Realtors®/SWFLA Matrix for Lee County, FL. Statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is released.

What Do Home Inspectors Usually Find?

Florida Realtors logoWith Florida being a full-disclosure state, Sellers and their representatives are required by Florida law to disclose defects that may materially affect the value of the real estate being sold. With many island properties owned by snowbirds, part-time visitors, and investors, in recent years it has been common to see Sanibel and Captiva property sold using the Florida Realtors® “As Is” contract.

Under the terms of the “As Is” contract, the Buyer accepts the property in its physical condition and the Seller is not responsible for any repairs. That contract also includes an “Inspection/Cancellation” period when the Buyer may perform due diligence, usually having the property professionally inspected.

The SanibelSusan Team always suggests a home inspection. A good one considers all the physical elements of a property and provides the age, service life, and condition of all mechanical items. Regardless of a property’s end use, it makes sense that a Buyer handle any repairs needed to ensure that they are done to their standards and satisfaction.

The below article posted on-line Wednesday by Florida Realtors® contains the same suggestion. Repair credits are not typical with the “as is” contract. That applies to the older Florida purchase agreement where a Buyer also may have a property inspected during a certain time period, but with that agreement, the Seller is advised of defects found and required to fix them by closing. With the “as is” contract, no Seller repairs or credits are required.

“LAS VEGAS – Feb. 20, 2019 – A study of 50,000 home inspections by Repair Pricer, a company that estimates repair costs for items cited in home inspection reports – found that some repair costs tend to appear more often.

“Nearly 55% of home inspections nationally cited doors that needed adjusting, for example; and 54% lacked exterior caulking and sealant, which could leave the home susceptible to extensive water damage. And about 48% of homes lacked GFCI protection to minimize the risk of electrocution in areas like the kitchen or bathroom. The most expensive home defects ranged in repair prices from slightly more than $1,000 to less than $10,000:

“Top 10 common home defects – percentage of homes – price to repair

  • Doors need adjusting/servicing: 54.9% of reports – $254 to repair
  • Faucets and heads need servicing: 54.8% of reports – $273 to repair
  • Exterior caulking/sealant missing: 54.5% of reports – $310 to repair
  • Outlets or switches with deficiencies: 53.7% of reports – $248 to repair
  • No GFCI protection: 48.0% of reports – $433 to repair
  • Absence of or defective smoke alarms: 45.06% of reports – $378 to repair
  • Cosmetic sheetrock cracks or nail pops: 45.02% of reports – $545 to repair
  • Fixtures and/or bulb deficiencies: 40.5% of reports – $209 to repair
  • Caulking, grout and sealer are missing interior: 33.9% of reports – $353 to repair
  • Service panel deficiencies: 33.7% of reports – $298 to repair

“While expensive repairs are less common, one in 10 inspections cite a roof nearing the end of its useful life as the most expensive common repair generally noted. However, one in five reports find a problem with window seals, which can cost over $1,000 to repair.

“5 most expensive repairs found – percentage of homes – price to repair

  • Roof nearing end of its serviceable life: 9.6% of reports – $9,948 to repair
  • Coil and condenser at end of serviceable life: 10.7% of reports – $5,818 to repair
  • Heating unit exceeded serviceable life: 10% of reports – $3,798 to repair
  • Water heater may need replaced: 10% of reports – $1,259 to repair
  • Window seals failed or fogged: 20.8% of reports – $1,026 to repair

“What should buyers do with inspection report information? Repair Pricer says buyers’ first instinct is often to ask sellers to make repairs, but “this tactic can frequently backfire. Even if the seller agrees … they’re under no obligation to implement quality repairs and frequently execute the cheapest option or fix, potentially leaving the buyer with substandard work, no transferable warranty and no recourse.” Seller repairs can also give buyers a “false sense of security, believing their agents have negotiated and built a home warranty into their contracts.”

The best tactic, according to Home Repair, is to ask the seller for a repair credit if appropriate under the contract and hire a contractor after closing to complete the repairs to the buyer’s standards – not the seller’s.”

Update on Water Issues by SCCF and Everglades Foundation

SCCF logoAn important update sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is scheduled next week. Here’s their announcement:

“Historically, nearly all the water from Lake O flowed south. Now, over 70% flows to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie. Don’t miss the chance to get the latest updates on the status of water management projects impacting the Caloosahatchee and the Everglades. After the devastating impacts of the 2018 Red Tide and the recent promising actions by Governor DeSantis, real improvements are now possible.

“Join us for “New Opportunities to Advance Water Quality Improvement and Everglades Restoration!” on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. The event is free and registration is not required. Doors open at 6:30 and light refreshments will be served.

SCCF Water flows

“Some key indicators of current conditions:

  • Current Lake O levels are lower than they have been in recent years. A weak El Niño may bring higher than normal rainfall in the next few months.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is beginning work on a new water management schedule for Lake O releases.
  • And Governor DeSantis has asked the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to expedite work on the EAA Reservoir, the keystone project that will reduce harmful flows to the estuary by 40-60%.

“ALL of us will need to stay engaged to make sure that this emerging leadership vision is successful. Learn the latest from SCCF and the Everglades Foundation on recent progress, ongoing challenges and what you can do to help. For more info, call 472-2329.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 15-22, 2019

Sanibelsancap GO MLS logo

CONDOS

8 new listings: Sundial #G405 1/1 $439,555; Cottage Colony West #112 1/1 $605.9K; Villa Sanibel #2G 2/2 $685K, Island Beach Club #240F 2/2 $769K; Sundial #J204 2/2 $769K; Seawind II #2 2/2.5 $889K; Sanibel Moorings #111 2/2 $999.99K; High Tide #A301 2/2 $2.149M.

7 price changes: Mariner Pointe #842 2/2 now $595K, Island Beach Club #310A 2/2 now $699K, Pointe Santo #D3 2/2 now $725K, Shell Island Beach Club #7C 2/2 now $824K, Sundial #K103 2/2 now $920K, Loggerhead Cay #133 2/2 now $944K, Pointe Santo #E35 2/2 now $1.35M.

3 new sales: Captains Walk #B2 1/1 listed at $239K (our listing & sale), Seashells #3 2/2 listed at $449K, Sundial #B407 1/1 listed at $529K.

2 closed sales: Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 $305K, Sundial #F206 1/1 $420K.

HOMES

10 new listings: 970 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $440K, 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $595K, 731 Durion Ct 3/2 $799K, 823 Birdie View Pt 4/3 $949K, 510 Sea Oats Dr 3/2.5 $999K, 3850 Coquina Dr 3/3 $1.089M, 911 Almas Ct 3/2.5 $1.499M, 6170 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3 $2.374M, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 $2.495M (our listing), 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $3.25M.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0791.JPG

Our new listing at 842 Limpet Dr

21 price changes: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 now $528K; 401 Raintree Pl 3/1.5 now $529K; 746 Cardium St 4/2 duplex now $669K; 1973 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 now $674K; 678 Durion Ct 3/2 now $769.9K; 697 Birdie View Ct 3/2 now $774K; 3284 Twin Lakes Ln 4/4 now $799K; 257 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $799.9K; 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $824.9K; 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $849K; 686 East Gulf Dr 3/2 now $849K; 1056 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $879K; 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 now $899K; 501 Lagoon Dr 3/2 now $949K; 4345 Gulf Pines Dr 4/4 now $950K; 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 now $989K; 3832 Coquina Dr 3/4 now $995K; 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $999,995; 5842 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $1.095M; 532 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 now $1.395M; 1351 Middle Gulf Dr #2C 3/3 now $1.549M (our listing).

Image 8 c.jpg

Home just reduced at 1351 Middle Gulf Dr, Moonshadows #2C

5 new sales: 1442 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed at $415K, 1160 Junonia St 3/2 listed at $739K, 480 Sawgrass Pl 3/2.5 listed at $999K, 928 Beach Rd 4/3 listed at $1.295M, 4992 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.365M.

3 closed sales: 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 $725K, 789 Pyrula Ave 4/2.5 $900K, 4771 Tradewinds Dr 3/3 $1.55M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 6141 Starling Way $997K.

1 price change: 2297 Wulfert Rd now $194K.

1 new sale: 2933 Wulfert Rd listed at $379K.

1 closed sale: 4565 Bowen Bayou Rd $185K.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennis Villas #3124 1/1 $370K, Beach Cottages #1404 2/2 $1.279M, Lands End Village #1635 2/2 $1.429M.

2 price changes: Captiva Hide-A-Way #1B 2/2 now $889K, Lands End Village #1602 3/3 now $2.15M.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2614 2/2 listed at $614K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

4 price changes: 15161 Wiles Dr 5/5.5 now $2.4M, 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 now $2.799M, 15879 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $2.995M, 952 S Seas Plantation Rd 6/5.5 now $4.15M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, wishing you warm sunny beach-like weather too!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Nice beach shot

Paradise-Style Winter Weather Wonderland


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mud Bugs Cajun Kitchen Now Open

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

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

Florida Realtors® News: Top Real Estate Stories Of 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environmental Groups Sue Feds Over Lake “O” Discharges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kick Out Clause or Right of First Refusal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When might a seller want to use this rider?

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

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

Question About “As Is” Contract

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

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

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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

No price changes.

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

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

HOMES

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

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

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

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

LOTS

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

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

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 595 Piedmont Rd $190K.

Captiva

CONDOS

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

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

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

Happy New Year!

See ya next year!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s Time for Island Luminary 2018


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

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

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

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

Weekend Holiday Events & Upcoming Concerts

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

Sanibel Library Earns National Star Award

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

SCCF Earns Stars Too

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

Flood Insurance Extended to December 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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

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

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

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

HOMES

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

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

Image 8 c.jpg

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

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

LOTS

1 new listing: 2279 Wulfert Rd $324K.

No price changes.

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

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

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

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

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

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, may your holiday fun continue too! shell christmas trees

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Red Tide & Blue-Green Algae Fall-Out Is Not Pretty


Beach

It’s Susan with another Friday update from sunny Sanibel Island. It has been a warm week, with highs every day in the low 90’s and little rain. Unfortunately, that seems to be the weather that makes the algae grow, as it has been a week of a few steps ahead, followed by steps back.

After a reprieve of a several days, it has been discouraging to again see and hear about more dead sea-life washing up on Sanibel’s shores, both on the beach and bayside. The terrible smell even traveled as far as Sanibel Square both yesterday and this morning. (No smell where I live on the east end.)

Thankfully, scientists say that Sanibel’s red tide count is going down. Yesterday, news indicated that it is moving further north. According to some reports, Tropical Storm Gordon pushed the bloom offshore giving us the false hope that it was gone. Once that storm moved away, the red tide came back. Where it goes and how long it will last can be dependent on tides and weather.

The worst conditions yesterday were west of Tarpon Bay Road and out onto Captiva including the area of Sunset Bay and the canals off Dinkins Bayou. It’s so sad that the marine life that washed ashore included dolphins and sea turtles. We are so sad that this is having such devastating effects, we are “so ready” for it to be over. Sanibel and Captiva are not quite ghost-towns, but the beaches have looked that way.Captains for clean water logo

There is another event to benefit “Captains for Clean Water” today (4 to 7 p.m.) at The Dunes.

The weekly activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below. Only one home and one lot sale on Sanibel this week. No sales on Captiva.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday was the Association’s September Membership Meeting and Caravan. The speaker was Cecil Pendergrass who is Chairman of Lee County’s Board of Commissioners and Commissioner from District 2. He reported that the County budget has just been approved with no increase. At least there is good news on the tax front!

He also updated attendees on what the county is doing regarding water quality. With multiple solutions in the works and none immediate, it’s important that everyone pay special attention to what they can do in their area to help solve the problem. Though much of the cause of the blue/green algae in the Caloosahatchee is from releases from Lake Okeechobee, run-off from areas south of the lake, including Lee County and its cities are contributors too. Not every citizen heeds their local ordinances on fertilizing and watering. (Sanibellians do a good job.) Along the river, for example in some of the older areas of downtown Fort Myers, many homes still pipe their sewage directly into the river. (That’s right, no septic tanks at some homes along McGregor Blvd.)

It’s time for all of us to stay involved and make water quality a top priority.

Interestingly, Cecil also said that in August the airport reported an increase in traffic, while most of the hospitality businesses in Lee County reported losses of millions of dollars. He joked that he didn’t know where all these people went.

He also reminded attendees of government loans available to small businesses who have lost revenue because of the algae problems.

Is anything new being done to combat the problem? The simple answer is “no”, but local governments are working together to get Federal reimbursement for the ongoing clean-up efforts. The City of Sanibel is doing a great clean-up job. Call them to report any dead marine life and they respond quickly.

FREE Parking

Sanibelcityseal logoTo encourage more island visitor business, parking fees at all Sanibel beaches have been suspended until Sep 30. Additionally, the county posted yesterday, that motorists who cross the Sanibel Causeway between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow Sep 22 and Sun Sep 23 will not have to pay a toll. A donation from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will cover the costs during those hours as a way of encouraging locals to support Sanibel and Captiva businesses who are feeling economic impacts from the lingering red tide.

Scoop From My Favorite Economist

REALTOR-Magazine_Logo_As reported by NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in the Sep/Oct 2018 issue of Realtor® magazine:

Recession Talk Heats Up – Concerns about a housing slowdown not supported by the data

“Is a recession looming? It’s an important question because the U.S. economy has been experiencing one of its longest expansions ever. There were two recessions in the 1970’s, two in the 1980’s, one in the 1990’s, and two in the 2000’s. Since 2010, there have been none.

“Every recession has a trigger. In the 1970’s, it was energy price shocks. Could that happen today? Probably not, because the U.S. is now the world’s biggest oil producer. One potential trigger could be an unsustainable rise in borrowing. But the fact is consumer debt has risen only about 5% annually for the last five years. Although that’s fast, it’s not catastrophic. Past recessions were preceded by debt increases of 10% or more. More important, the largest part of household debt is home mortgages and those loan balances total about $10 trillion today, about the same as 10 years ago even though housing values in the aggregate have climbed from $18 trillion to $28 trillion.

“Another trigger could just be psychological. Pessimism leads consumers to spend less. That leads businesses to scale back, reduce investment, and not build that additional factory or office. But the consumer confidence this year is at an index level of 127, the highest reading in more than 20 years (with 100 considered neutral).

“Finally, it could be policy error. Turkey is an example of how a decision – lowering interest rates in the face of rampant inflation – can lead to a crisis.

“Although it’s not clear what could trigger the next recession, it’s a good bet it won’t have anything to do with our industry. The housing market still has room to grow. A total of 6.1 million existing homes plus newly constructed homes will be sold this year. That’s the same level as in 2000, when the market was considered well balanced. Homebuilders are at last responding to pent-up demand by increasing housing starts and creating jobs. For these reasons, the odds of a recession in 2019 are slight. And if we do see a drop in GDP, it will likely be mild – nowhere near the intensity of the recession a decade ago.”

Automated Valuation Models Are Tools, Not Solutions

BradfordZillowCartoonAnother article in this month’s Realtor® magazine caught my eye. Particularly, when it was announced at our Membership Meeting this morning that our Association is in the process of inking agreements with Zillow and other on-line real estate database companies, because most sellers want their listings syndicated. With the onset of the internet, I guess these companies were inevitable. Another way for entrepreneurs to make a buck.

Personally, I’ve never thought that these companies could replace knowledgeable Realtors® in unique areas, but their existence certainly has changed where and how we advertise. Here are some tidbits from the article by John S. Brenan who, since 2003, has been the director of appraisal issues for The Appraisal Foundation.

“When it comes to online home value estimates, the number one caveat for consumers is that these estimates are not a substitute for formal appraisals, comparative market analyses, and the in-depth expertise of real estate professionals.”

“AVM’s are not appraisals…today, in many cases, an automated valuation is suspect if there is a lack of available data or the property isn’t a “cookie cutter.” Many of us have checked our own properties against the finding of an AVM and thought, “Yeah, right.”

“So why aren’t automated models more reliable in more transactions? Because computers don’t buy houses, people do. An AVM does a great job of analyzing tangible features such as a property’s age, number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, and lot size. However, a property’s overall appeal is something that has been, at least to date, extremely difficult to quantify. It’s a uniquely human phenomenon; a property’s overall appeal reflects a combination of characteristics. While not everyone has the same preferences, some unusual features will likely face significant market reluctance…. So, unless and until AVM’s can better emulate the human factor, an ethical and competent appraiser remains indispensable.”

As SanibelSusan’s 2-cents worth, The Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® may be working toward syndicating their listings, but please know that it is not because Zillow and their like provide good property valuations. They will get our data, but it is because our sellers want their listings to get the additional advertising these on-line vendors provide. For years, many island Realtors® (included us) have joined a secondary Realtor organization so that we also could post our listings in their Multiple Listing Service to get this extra exposure.

dining clip artTemporary Closings & Reopenings

  • Bleu Rendezvous – closed for vacation, reopening Oct 5.
  • Blue Coyote Supper Club (Sanibel) – sold. A new restaurant “Malia” to reopen there Oct 1.
  • Bubble Room – closed for repairs beginning Sep 24, reopening Mon Oct 1.
  • CIP’s – closed for lunch until Oct, still open for dinner.
  • Gramma Dot’s – reopens Sep 27.
  • Island Cinema – closed for cleaning & maintenance until Oct 5.
  • Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop – accepting donations at their loading dock. Ark to reopen Oct 2 and will be open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Oct.
  • Sanibel Library – temporarily closed as part of its renovation project, from Fri to Tues, Sep 21 to 25.
  • Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts & T2 (Traders 2) – to reopen Oct 2.
  • Traditions – reopens Sep 23.
  • The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – to reopen Oct 3.

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Mariner Pointe #312 2/2 $599K (our listing), Gulfside Place #221 2/2 $1.295M, Sanibel Surfside #231 3/3.5 $1.495M.

View No shadow.jpg

View from Mariner Pointe #312

1 price change: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #2-5 2/2.5 now $734.9K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #184 2/2 $760K, Island Beach Club #220E 2/2 $832K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 543 Boulder Dr 3/2 $849K, 2640 Coconut Dr 2/2 $1.45M.

4 price changes: 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $550K, 1018 Demere Ln 4/2 now $ 699K, 3136 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $899K, 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 now $1.155M.

1 new sale: 9211 Dimmick Dr 3/2 listed at $599.9K.

2 closed sales: 5299 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2.5 $470K, 1718 Jewel Box Dr 3/3 $840K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1246 Sand Castle Rd listed at $299K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3236 1/1 $309.5K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex now $2.575M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Trying to Make Lemonade


It’s getting harder to make lemonade out of the lemons, but here is some island news. It’s not all good, but it’s real – followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Red Tide Numbers Stay High in Southwest Florida; Bloom Extends About 130 Miles

http___m.myfwc 08-21-18The follow article is from the “Fort Myers News-Press. It was posted on-line and updated on Wednesday. The picture shown here was downloaded from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“A strong red tide that’s lingered in the region since October is still producing high levels of toxins along the coast. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released its latest red tide report Wednesday. Counts in Southwest Florida have upwards of 1 million cells per liter and more in the past two months and are still matching or exceeding that level in many areas.

“The bloom now extends about 130 miles, from south Tampa Bay area to Marco Island and can be detected from space. The National Weather Service extended a beach hazard advisory for Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties through Thursday evening. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday issued a breathing advisory for Southwest Florida that says irritation will be intense for the public in coastal Lee, Charlotte, and northern Collier counties.

“Some experts have said the red tide may last until winter when cold fronts from the mainland and windy conditions often break up the blooms. Red tide season typically runs from October to January or February, but this bloom has lasted for 10 months and has shown no sign of dissipation.

“Counts along Southwest Florida have ranged from background levels to 1 million cells per liter and higher. Fish kills and breathing irritation in humans can start once levels reach 10,000 cells per liter, according to FWC. This bloom has become much stronger along the coast since the first of June. Millions of pounds of fish and marine wildlife have been collected from Lee County beaches just this month. Hundreds of sea turtles have died in Southwest Florida from the bloom, so have manatees, dolphins, and even a whale shark.

“High counts extend at least 15 miles offshore, according to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

“The University of South Florida’s college of Marine Science predicts that the bloom will move to the south and toward the Naples area over the next three days.”

Wednesday Fishing Report from Charlie Sobczak

I bet some of you also are fans of local author (and Realtor®) Charlie Sobczak. He has written some terrific books including “Living Sanibel” which The SanibelSusan Team often gives as one of our closing gifts. Another of his, that I especially enjoy, is “Six Mornings on Sanibel” (published in 1999, but still available on Amazon). It takes place at the fishing pier. “Way Under Contract” is great too – particularly if you like real estate stories. If you read this one, you may think some of the characters are real islanders.

Charlie Pix 08-23-18Charlie is also a pretty serious fisherman so it was good late yesterday to see his below Facebook post. This is his pix too.

“While I seldom post fish pics I felt that since all we are seeing on Facebook these days are images of horrid, decaying fish it might be refreshing to see that the offshore waters are still untouched by this massive red tide and algae bloom. We had perfect conditions yesterday, August 22nd, 2018, when we headed out 32 miles west of Redfish pass with Captain Nate Buffam and crew. The water is crystal clear blue out there and the fishing was fantastic. The dirty water stretches from shore to about 15-18 miles then, after that, we saw “live” loggerhead turtles, dozens of bottle nose dolphins, flying fish, jellyfish, frigate birds and bait. Not everything is lost but if we continue to allow this unabated dumping of toxic water I fear the worst in the years to come. Please support the Captain’s for Clean Water Fundraiser on Saturday afternoon at the Clam Shack on Sanibel.”Clam Shack Flier

Thursday & Friday Water Reports from Local Gals

I know you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook, but if it comes from folks you know and it includes videos, it’d pretty hard to beat it.

Last night after work, Royal Shell Vacation’s Kris Slagle posted: “Just saw two bait pods on the West side of the Sanibel Causeway C span, and birds feeding on them! NOT saying it’s all perfect, but saying it’s some positive news! And hundreds of birds feeding on the mud flats!”

Then, early this morning Sanibel Holiday’s General Manager, Rebecca Cosentino posted a video of her walk down the beach access and along the gulf in front of Loggerhead Cay condominiums. She said that they have several check-ins there scheduled tomorrow so a personal visit was the best way to report the conditions. Though she said she is sensitive to red tide, she noticed no smell and had no eye or throat irritation. The video was early 7:45 a.m., but she wasn’t alone. The video showed some folks in the water and a few joggers and shellers. Unfortunately, it also showed a few dead fish – several puffer fish, baitfish, and a couple of eels. With winds blowing onshore that isn’t surprising, particularly after reading Charlie’s posting from the day before.

Then a couple of hours later, Select Vacation Properties’ Patience Rodriguez posted a similar video of her beach walk taken today in front of Sundial Resort. The water here showing better color and looking clearer than it has recently. She said that she is asthmatic, but similarly noticed no smell and had no breathing difficulties. A couple of small pufferfish were along the waterline here too, but very few. She encouraged listeners to Text MYSANIBEL to 52886 to participate in the call-to-action to stop the Lake O discharges (which have started up again).

So, it’s probably safe to say that the beaches continue to look better, but we aren’t out of the woods. We all need to keep the pressure on and respond to each and every call to action.

After seeing these gals’ gulf-side videos, about 1 p.m. I checked the bayside beach near the lighthouse and fishing pier. It’s looking good there too – likewise no smell and I saw no dead fish or wildlife – just one lone fisherman on the fishing pier and a handful of beachgoers at Lighthouse Beach.

Yet, it’s a gorgeous day and we all hope that it only continues to get better.

Stopped at my house on the way back to the office to be sure the canal there is looking good. Taken today, this is sooo much better than just a week ago. Sure hope it continues.

Anchor Canal.jpg

Now to some other good news – taxes and hurricanes.

Lee County Notice of Proposed 2018 Real Estate Property Taxes

LeePALogoLee County property owners recently were mailed their annual TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices. In compliance with Florida Statutes, this document is required to advise of the property’s valuation as of January 1, 2018 and its proposed ad valorem taxes for the year. Ad valorem taxes are based on the value of the property with taxing authorities determining the tax rate, or millage, based on the money needed to fund their budgets.

If property owners have questions about their valuation, exemptions, classification or characteristics of their property, they are encouraged to contact the Lee County Property Appraisers Office (www.LeePA.org) at 239-533-6100. If unable to resolve a matter as to market value, classification, or an exemption, a petition for adjustment with the Value Adjustment Board may be filed. Online filing is available, but petitions must be filed on or before September 10, 2018.

Hurricane Season Peaks in Sept. – Got the Right Insurance?

hurricane-symbol-blue-hiWhile most of us are counting down to the end of hurricane season (Nov), Florida Realtors® posts reminders that the peak time is coming up.

Florida Realtors logoThe below article was posted in their on-line news on Tuesday.

“ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 21, 2018 – Keeping up with property insurance coverage in hurricane-prone Florida can be tricky, to say the least.

“To help sort things out as summer and the storm season heat up, we spoke with Locke Burt of Ormond Beach-based insurer Security First and Doug Iannarelli of travel club AAA’s insurance division.

“Question: What do I need?

“After many hurricanes, including Matthew and Irma in the past two years, insurers said they saw claims filed under homeowners’ policies that could only have been covered under flood policies. Rising water that makes it into your home will only be covered if you have flood insurance, Burt said.

“But if a tree limb or other debris hit your house and creates a hole through which rainfall could enter, that likely would fall under windstorm coverage.

“Also, weigh the amount of coverage you need – and how low you need your deductible to be, given the savings or credit limit you would have available if an emergency hits.

“Although few studies have shown a strong link between hurricanes and increase in number of births nine months later, labor and delivery nurses say the phenomenon is the real thing.

“Question: What’s the newest flood coverage?

“Alternatives to the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program are increasing. More than two dozen insurers are issuing private flood coverage – which might save you money or might simply make it easier to file claims if a storm causes wind and water damage. Security First is among a few insurers that add flood coverage as an option, called an endorsement, on homeowners’ policies rather than require it as a separate policy.

“New mapping technology that breaks down the entire country into blocks about the size of a tiny house makes flood maps obsolete, Burt said, and enables private insurers to issue a flood-coverage quote more accurately and easily. The private policies are an expansion of those that traditionally have been written on $1 million-plus homes.

“Question: How do I fill in the gaps?

“Whether buying down the deductible of your existing homeowner and windstorm coverage or seeking another policy to plug that potential financial gap, you can reduce the financial risk storm damage can pose.

“New policies called parametric coverage can use mapping technology to determine the storm conditions that hit your location and quickly pay a flat amount directly to you. This can spare the trouble of waiting for an adjuster before getting a check, but it also is designed to just provide enough coverage to make up for your deductible. “StormPeace and Cat4Home are two such providers mentioned in a recent Sun-Sentinel story.

“Question: What are the rules?

“Keep in mind: Your property damage will most likely be your own claim. Unless you can prove the tree limb that blew over from someone else’s yard is sitting on your living room floor because your neighbor was negligent, you’ll be filing that claim on your own policy.

“Deductibles can be set for the calendar year, much like health insurance. So even if your deductible is $7,500 and one storm causes $6,000 in damage, get it on the record in case you have another claim later in the year.

Get claims filed quickly, as you might have only a few weeks to submit damage to your insurer. Check with your agent on the amount of time your policy allows – then don’t let busy signals or Internet outages deter you.

“You can’t buy insurance at the last minute. Whether you’re comparing rates or looking for coverage you’ve never had before, insurers have the right to wait until after a storm passes (or misses the area) once it’s coming close to Florida.

“Question: Should I shop around?

“Yes. Innovative policies, such as those mentioned above – or new insurers, such as Farmers which plans an August debut for Florida homeowners, according to its website – can help you save money.

“Use ratings companies such as A.M. Best or Demotech to see how financially stable the insurer is. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation has this resource and others posted on its website.”

Copyright © 2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Bill Zimmerman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

construction-site-clipart-7914449-under-constructionPre-Season Closings & Late Summer Projects

  • Island Cinema – will be closed for cleaning & maintenance from Sep 6 to Oct 5.
  • Pointe Santo – Pointe Santo’s building concrete restoration project Is underway. Buildings A and B were done last year. This year, from Aug 11 to Oct 19, Buildings D and E will be done. Building C is scheduled for 2019.
  • Sanibel Community House – will be closed for maintenance Mon through Fri, Sep 10-14.
  • Sundial West – Sundial West has had several projects underway since Jul. Completion is expected mid-Nov. Some buildings are being painted, pavers are being installed in parking areas, and electrical and elevator work are being performed. Also, their pool is scheduled to be closed Sep 24 to Oct 5, but owners/guests may use the resort pool then.
  • Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts – Is closing Sun, Aug 26, for their annual break. They plan to reopen Tuesday, Oct 2.
  • The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – Is already closed and reopening Wed, Oct 3.

Upcoming Events

crow-logoSat Aug 25 – CROW’s Walk on the Wild Side at Lakes Regional Park at 7330 Gladiolus Dr., Fort Myers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise awareness about the organization and continue the celebration of its 50th anniversary. Admission & activities free, fees for city parking. In the amphitheater: Wildlife Rescue 1012 at 10:30 a.m. and again at noon; Turtles of Florida at 11 a.m.; Owls of Florida at 11:30 a.m. Three pavilions will be set up with activities and info on different kinds of wildlife. CROW’s tent will offer info on volunteering and student programs. More info at www.CROWClinic.org .

Sat Aug 25 – Fundraiser for Captains for Clean Water at The Clam Shack on Sanibel from 2 to 8 p.m. featuring entertainment by local musicians, 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction. Captains for Clean Water is a non-profit organization focused on improving water quality. More info about them online at www.captainsforcleanwater.org .

sundial-logoSep 28-30 – USTA Southwest Florida Clay Court Championships will be at Sundial Beach Resort. This is their 3rd year hosting the event. The tournament includes a Saturday evening party and trophies. Players can register online at www.tennislink.usta.com , using tournament ID No. 150046618. Deadline is Sep 26.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors August Membership Meeting

Sanibel realtors logoAttendance was off and only three properties (including our new Pointe Santo listing) were open for Realtor® Caravan following yesterday’s Association of Realtors® monthly breakfast meeting.

lee schools logoWe got good information, though, about the upcoming Lee County School Board’s Half-Cent Sales Tax referendum that is on the Nov 6 ballot. Speakers were the county’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Gregory Adkins and School Board Member (& Florida Gulf Coast University adjunct professor) Chris Pattricca. Here are my take-aways, with some interesting tidbits:

  • Lee County is the 9th largest school district in Florida, also the 32nd largest in the U.S. It has 95,000 students
  • In 1886, there was just one school in SW Florida (with 56 students) and it burned to the ground. This area then was part of Monroe County so when students began running amok, a group of parents got together and went to Key West asking for a new school to be built. Their request was denied. Lee County was incorporated in 1887 with the need for a school being the driving force for that action.
  • Today, Lee County has 96 schools, 121 counting Charter Schools. There are 12,000 school employees (closer to 14K when counting substitutes).
  • School population is growing at the rate of 1,500 to 2,000 students per year.
  • Florida is 50th in the nation in dollars spent on education.
  • Today 40% of Lee County’s students have English as their 2nd language.
  • When school money comes from real estate taxes, often a disproportionate amount is received from high-end communities, so their schools are better. Here, the county spends $7,700 per year per child which ranks us 47th in the nation.
  • Though enrollment has increased since 2006/2007 from 70K students to 95K, capital funding has gone down from over $300M to just over $100M.
  • This proposed amendment is to increase the sales tax in Lee County by a half-cent, from 6% to 6.5% per dollar, to fund school capital projects. The proposal calls for a limit of 10 years with the tax expiring December 31, 2028. Approximately $59 million annually would be raised, paid for by everyone who purchases taxable goods. Exempt items like groceries and medications would not be taxed, and the additional half-percentage tax would only be applied to the first $5,000 for large purchases.
  • It’s estimated that 30% of the revenue generated would come from tourists.
  • The money from this sales tax will be used strictly for capital expenditures to build two new elementary and middle schools, one new high school, rebuild an elementary and middle school, to install school camera systems, hearing-impaired lock-down lights, fire alarm systems, and HVAC systems. It cannot be used to fund salaries, benefits, and training for faculty/staff/administrators, classroom materials, district and school services, administrative technology, or charter school buildings, repairs or improvements.

More info at www.leeschools.net/changeforchange.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 17-24, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sundial West #H209 1/1 $545K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 $869K.

1 price change: Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 now $749K.

1 new sale: Atrium #201 3/3 listed at $1.349M.

1 closed sale: Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $440K.

HOMES

No new listings.

8 price changes: 1520 Centre St 3/2 now $449K, 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $455.5K, 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $659K, 1043 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $725K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $979K, 430 Glory Cir 4/4.5 now $1.445M, 784 Limpet Dr 4/3 now $1.875M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.442M.

2 new sales: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 listed at $759.5K, 2857 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed at $1.598M.

2 closed sales: 4772 Tradewinds Dr 3/2.5 $795K, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.4M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 595 Piedmont Rd $209.9K.

No price changes or new sales.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Cottages #1407 2/2 $1.195M.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5228 1/2 now $399.9K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Tennis Villas #3129 1/1 $284K, Beach Villas #2423 1/1 $535K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $2.499M.

No price changes, new sales, 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.

Here’s hoping for more good news next week!sanibel-island-sunset.jpg

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Beach Improvement & Pre-Season Scoop


SanibelSusan here reporting another quiet Friday on sunny Sanibel, with the red tide situation at the beaches improving and the islands settling into a more typical pre-season pattern.

Upper Deck

Roof-top view today at our new listing at Pointe Santo C43

Social media is encouraging the public to support local establishments, but it has been disheartening to hear of hotels, shops, and restaurants with little or no business. During my travels this week, I heard of zero occupancy at one West Gulf Drive hotel. The Island Store on Captiva is now closed through September and even Periwinkle Way traffic is limited. From fishing guides, to stores, to real estate, it all has been affected.

I ran into Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra this afternoon and she said that that though beach and waterway clean-ups continue, the need is diminishing, and she may soon be ending her daily reports. (Kudos to her, the Mayor, City Councilors, and the many employees and contractors that have worked so hard and proactively to mitigate the fall-out from the recent area water issues.)

The Sanibel and Captiva real estate sales activity since last Friday follows a couple of news items below.

Florida Realtors® 102nd Convention & 2018 Business Meetings

787F5943-78D3-4D18-83D4-94D153CE1F38The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® had good member participation last week at the state convention, tradeshow, educational sessions, and business meetings. From newbies to old-timers, many remarked that the educational sessions and speakers were the best yet.

Florida Realtors logoOne of my favorite appointments is to serve on the state Professional Development Committee. I have participated many times on their audition panel which evaluates prospective Florida Realtors® instructors looking to become new faculty members or to add additional state/nationally-approved classes to their curriculum. The panels hear a full day of oral presentations at both the January Mid-Winter Business Meetings and these meetings in August.

Each auditionee goes through a pre-screening process (which we handle through evaluations, and phone interviews during the year) and then is assigned to make a 45-minute presentation in front of a panel. Panelists are made up of current faculty members, association education directors, as well as brokers, agents, trainers and leaders from associations across the state. This time, with a record number of applicants (nearly 50), we had 40 panelists divided between five panel rooms running simultaneously all day.

2018 Pro dev CommitteePanel recommendations go forward to the Faculty Subcommittee and then the Professional Development Committee for approval. Congratulations to the 14 new faculty members and the 14 existing faculty members who were approved to add courses to the list of those they are authorized to teach. These classes cover the gamut from those required of new agents, to continuing education, to property management, construction, marketing, contracts, and the classes needed to become a graduate of the Realtor® Institute. Classes continually are added and updated both at the state and national level.

SanibelSusan also serves on the 2018 Program Development Subcommittee, Forms Content Committee (where we make recommendations to the state contracts), Legislative Think Tank, and Resort & Second-Home Specialist Breakout Group. Good progress was made at all the meetings. I got to serve as an education ambassador at several of the education sessions too – a good way for an old dog to pick up a few new tricks!

2018 clean waterAt the meetings, there was emphasis on water quality, rental restrictions, and flood insurance (which thankfully passed the Senate last week).

That National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) legislation had passed the House earlier and allows NFIP to continue renewing or issuing new flood insurance policies for four more months. It does not change NFIP operations, but simply extends the current guidelines to give Congress more time to work on a comprehensive package that deals with the complex issues of affordability with a program that is deeply in debt. Although the program is now extended through November 30, the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make the program solvent and sustainable for the long term. The National Association of Realtors® continues to fight for these reforms.

Please Help Pass Amendment 2 – Vote “Yes”

amendment 2 logoAn important property tax amendment is on the ballot this November that is good for everyone in Florida. The 10% cap on non-homestead property taxes will expire in January unless voters pass Amendment 2. This cap helps sustain Florida’s communities by preventing big tax spikes for businesses and property owners who claim their primary residence elsewhere. Here are some highlights.

  • What is Amendment 2? It makes permanent the existing 10% cap on annual assessment increases for any non-homesteaded property. This affects all rental residential property, all commercial property, all undeveloped land, and residential property not claimed as a primary residence. The 10% cap (which currently expires in January 2019) is the only mechanism today that is protecting 5.6 million Florida properties from rapid tax assessment increases.
  • Amendment 2 requires 60% of the vote to pass. Please vote “yes” (or don’t vote at all).
  • If Amendment 2 fails, 2.2 million properties face an immediate tax increase in 2019 of up to $700 million (This is not money that the jurisdictions already are receiving from other sources. This is new money that will go to them and likely be used to create new or expand existing government programs. It will be difficult to stop or later reverse if this happens.)
  • If Amendment 2 fails, it will have widespread negative impact on business owners, renters, shoppers, jobs, and Florida’s economy.
  • According to Florida TaxWatch (www.FloridaTaxWatch.org), without extending the 10% cap, non-homesteaded residential property could quickly increase as much as 151% while commercial property could jump 85%. These new taxes could exceed $1 Billion and will affect everybody in Florida.

Scientists Unsure Why Red Tide Exists, How to Fix Problem

Here’s an interesting twist on the subject of red tide. It was posted Monday on sarasota herald tribune logoFloridaRealtors® on line. Copyright © 2018 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla., Carlos R. Munoz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

“SARASOTA, Fla. – Aug. 14, 2018 – While U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan discussed an $8 million grant to combat red tide at Mote Marine Laboratory on Monday, a senior Mote scientist just down the hall questioned whether the toxic algae paralyzing Southwest Florida beaches actually might be an important part of the ecosystem.

“Buchanan and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) sponsored the bipartisan legislation that was signed into law earlier this year. The funding was distributed to NOAA and will be dispersed to southern Florida researchers.

Mote scientists are expected to get a large chunk of the grant money, Buchanan said.

“The money will be used to research possible mitigation efforts, such as a field test of a newly developed method for destroying red tide using ozone, patented by Mote scientists. The device will be field tested in a Boca Grande canal this week. The patented technology was first used to clean water for sea turtles in a 25,000-gallon tank and has been scaled up to process at least 500,000 gallons of canal water.

“Is red tide necessary? Mote scientist Dr. Vincent Lovko, who works with Mote’s Phytoplankton Ecology program, says there isn’t enough research to determine what would happen if red tide was eradicated or suppressed from the Gulf. Researchers must consider three factors when dealing with an aquatic toxin: prevention, control and mitigation, according to Lovko.

“”The control (in Lake Okeechobee) is straightforward,” he said. “You reduce the nutrients, and you reduce those (blue-green) algae blooms.”

“The same can’t be said for the Gulf, where a Karenia brevis bloom currently stretches for 150 miles from Manatee County south to Collier County. Any mitigation system would have to treat 1.5 trillion gallons of water to be effective. “You might not even get it all if you do that,” said Lovko, who pointed out that Mote doesn’t have permission to treat the bloom. “There is no literature to suggest what the ecological function of red tide might be,” Lovko said.

“Single-cell red tide is a protist cell that takes three days to divide. It consumes organic and inorganic nutrients and has flagella that help it move around. The cell is animal-like in nature but photosynthesizes plants and other algae. “They can actually swim; they are capable of movement,” Lovko said. “They can move up and down through the water column (to the sea bed).”

“Similar to a forest fire? One hypothesis suggests that red tide’s destructive nature could be similar to the effects of a forest fire, which cleans out underbrush and is somewhat restorative to a forest ecosystem. But it’s difficult to see what the ecological function of the toxic algae might be.

“There is little information to determine where Karenia brevis ranks on the algal evolutionary scale. There are about 12 known nutrient sources for the harmful algae blooms, which vary based on their location along the southern Florida coastline.

“Even if science can identify a course of action that would destroy red tide, there are fears that the death of the organism could release toxins into the water and cause a large-scale marine animal die-off. A similar incident occurred in Chesapeake Bay, where a nuisance bloom was suppressed with copper sulfate. Toxins released by the dead algal bloom poisoned the water and killed fish.

“Lovko says there is only one way to find out what can be done to mitigate red tides effects – research. “Whether or not trying to control red tide would create a dead zone, probably not, that’s something that happens over a long period of time,” Lovko said. “It’s an interesting thought. All those things we have to consider when we’re messing with the ecosystem. We do it all the time. We cure diseases … We do a lot of things that are otherwise natural but are a bother to us or a danger to us. There’s no reason not to pursue it, but there has to be realistic expectations.””

Trees Now Block My Ocean View. What Can I Do?

Sun sentinelThis subject comes up here often, particularly when Florida vegetation grows like crazy during the summer rainy season in front of gulf-front condos. The below article was posted Monday on Florida Realtors® on line.

“FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Aug. 13, 2018 – Question: I own an oceanfront condo. When I bought it, I had an unobstructed view of the ocean. Palm trees are now causing a 90% view obstruction. Do I have any recourse? – Dorothy

palm tree.jpg“Answer: Questions about views are always complicated and involve many factors. The general rule is that no one is allowed to block your direct view. However, if it can be shown that the trees serve a useful purpose to the community or were pre-planned to grow in front of your unit, you may be stuck with them.

“To see if you have any recourse, you will need to review your condominium documents and the ordinances of your municipality. Many beachfront towns and cities have enacted rules protecting their residents’ ocean views. These palm trees may be a code violation best addressed by your city. If this is not the case where you live, check your condo documents since many oceanfront condominiums have rules regulating their landscaping and protecting their constituents’ views of the beach.

“Typically, view laws are designed to protect people whose property extends all the way to the high-water mark. Condominiums present a particular problem because while you own your unit, your entire community owns the land that reaches to the water. It may be further complicated because the unit owners below you in your building now have a better view than when the trees were shorter that they would want to protect.

“If it turns out that your local government will not be able to assist you, then your best bet would be to appeal to your condo board to come up with a solution that leaves everyone with a better view.

“About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.

“Copyright © 2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service sancap GO MLS logoActivity August 10-17, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 $269.9K, Lighthouse Point #211 2/2 $649K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 $1.295M (our listing, photos below).

3 price changes: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 now $265K (our listing), Pointe Santo #C34 1/1 now $550K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $799K.

2 new sales: Breakers West #A4 2/2 listed at $534K, Sundial West #K105 2/2 listed at $897.5K.

5 closed sales: Tennisplace #A34 2/1 $314K, Sanibel Moorings #141 1/1 $415K, Sanibel Moorings #1611 2/2 $480K, Sanibel Siesta #306 2/2 $585K, Sundial N403 2/2 $812.5K.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $597K, 784 Limpet Dr 4/3 now $1.875M.

1 new sale: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex listed at $499K.

3 closed sales: 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $539.5K, 5430 Osprey Ct 3/3 $595K, 849 Birdie View Pt 4/4.5 $1.61M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1026 Fish Crow Rd $439K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 1036 Bayview Dr $3.55M.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5102 1/2 listed at $369K.

2 closed sales: Beach Villas #2414 2/2 $600K, Marina Villas #803 2/2 $715K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 38 Sea Hibiscus Ct 3/2 listed at $1.049M.

1 closed sale: 16575 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $2.45M.

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.

Best wishes for a great weekend!weekend clip art

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Island Scoop on July 27, 2018


It’s SanibelSusan reporting just another sunny Friday afternoon on Sanibel – also another quiet week in the world of island real estate sales.

Teammate Dave and I checked a few properties this afternoon which took us out to Sanibel’s west end with a stop in Santiva and another near The Green Flash on Captiva. Here are a couple of photos overlooking Roosevelt Channel.

Green Flash 07-27-18 2Green Flash 07-27-18 1

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Our local Association of Realtors® makes good use of summer downtime, which is when our members promote and support several charities and non-profits.

Meals of Hope Pix 2018

Our “Meals of Hope” food packing event on Tuesday raised $7,455 and had 80+ volunteers (including Association staff, Realtors®, affiliates, friends and families) working together to pack over 20,000 meals – in less than three hours. Those meals go to local food banks and pantries which are low on food this time of the year.

Yesterday at our Association’s July membership meeting, colleague Anita Colletti from Naples told the group about “Silent Angels” which is a quiet behind-the-scenes non-profit that began in Florida to help Realtor® families in time of emergency.

guardian1Next month, the Association again will be collecting new twin and crib sheets for “Bedz for Kidz”, a non-profit started in 2001 by Realtor® friend, Cynthia Shafer, who through the course of her advocacy with the local Guardian ad Litem Foundation, recognized the need for beds/bedding when vulnerable children are moved by Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit. Cynthia and her husband often spend their Saturdays delivering beds and bedding to these needy kids. Though their identification is never disclosed, it is humbling to hear her stories of how the kids’ eyes light up when they get their own “stuff”. The Shafers travel our 5-county area and have assembled and provided thousands of beds. I got a message from her yesterday, that they are off to provide another eleven tomorrow. Donations and more sheets, bedding, backpacks, and small suitcases are always welcome.

What’s Happening With The Water

Big “thank yous” again this week go to Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, Councilwoman Holly Smith, and City Director of Natural Resources James Evans who were in DC in back-to-back meetings with members of the Senate, Congress, and others.

07-24-18 Ruane Evans Holly Rooney

L to R: Mayor Ruane, Director Evans, Councilor Smith, & Congressman Rooney (pix from Congressman Rooney’s Facebook page)

 

Mayor Ruane also gave a presentation to the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force about the conditions of Southwest Florida waterways. He asked committee members to maintain Lake “O” flows at or below 3,000 cfs for the remainder of the rainy season; accelerate critical CERP projects (the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, C-43 reservoir & Lake “O” Watershed project), and to use maximum operational flexibility to move additional water south. “We are at a critical state right now with regard to the health and safety of our coastal communities, the ecology of our estuaries, our quality of life, and our local economy,” he said.

Solutions to water quality problems are complicated, many, and some long-term. We all must continue to keep the pressure on. You can be sure the Realtors® on Sanibel and Captiva are, another fundraiser with proceeds to benefit water quality efforts at SCCF is scheduled next month.

Lee County Tax Appraiser Posts 2018 Property Values

LeePALogoIt usually is not until mid-August, that Lee County property owners receive the year’s TRIM notices (notices of proposed properties taxes) which are based on their new annual property valuation. The 2018 property values, however, already have been posted on the site. They are dated July 16, 2018.

If you are wondering about the change in a Lee County property value, go to www.leepa.org. Click on Database Search, then click on Property Data Search. Fill in either an owner’s name (last name first) or address, click search and up comes the data page for that parcel. Once you find the property, click on the blue link on the right called “Parcel Details”. Once on the property page, to the left of the photo is a heading called “Current Working Values”. Click on the little “colorful book” icon to the right of the words and up will come “Property Value History” showing by taxable year the assessed values for each year, including taxable values. If you want just the details on the 2018 value, further down on the data page is an expandable menu under “Values (2018 Preliminary)”. Click the plus sign and you will see the details of the 2018 assessment.

If a property owner disagrees with a value, the time to take that up with the county Tax Appraiser is just after the TRIM notice is received in August.

Upcoming Island Events & Closures

From tomorrow, Saturday July 28 to Sunday August 5 – Sanibel Recreation Closed – for annual maintenance projects including resurfacing of the gym floor, replacement of the pool heating and cooling system, and others.

Tuesday, July 31 – 1st Islander Wine Dinner Fundraiser – to benefit The Community House and at The Community House presented by Sanibel Catering Company (Bailey’s and Talbott Vineyards). Tickets at www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net or call 239-472-2155.

Friday, August 10 – Bag Day at Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop. This is their annual end-of-season sale. From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. shoppers can buy a bag for $4 and fill it with as much as they can. Any items that don’t fit in the bag are 80% off. Shoppers can buy as many bags as they want for $4 each. Proceeds go to more than 25 local, regional, and global charities and agencies. From August 10 to September 1, the Ark does not take donations. On October 2, Noah’s Ark reopens for business on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. In November, the winter season full schedule resumes – open weekdays and the first Saturday of each month from 9: 30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service sancap GO MLS logoActivity July 20-27, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms #A1 2/1 $535K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 $825K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Tennisplace #A34 2/1.5 listed at $329.9K, Seawind #109 2/2.5 listed at $512.5K.

2 closed sales: Sandpiper Beach #506 2/2 $670K, Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 $705K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 2313 Wulfert Rd 4/3 $995K, 4787 Rue Helene 4/3 $997.5K.

4 price changes: 1325 Par View Dr 3/3 now $695K, 3017 Turtle Gait Ln 3/2 now $729K, 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $899K, 2915 Wulfert Rd 5/6.5 now $3.295M.

3 new sales: 9028 Mockingbird Ln 4/3 listed at $799K, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 listed at $1.195M, 2029 Periwinkle Way 4/3 listed at $1.69M.

2 closed sales: 1066 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $620K, 223 Daniel Dr 4/3 $825K.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Lot 27, Leisure Acres $35K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Lands End Village #1629 2/2 $1.429M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3129 1/1 listed at $325K, Beach Villas #2614 2/2 listed at $614K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $2,999,999.

1 price change: 55 Sandpiper Ct 3/2 now $999K.

1 new sale: 11541 Wightman Ln 3/3 listed at $2.05M.

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.

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Almost Fathers Day 2018 on Sanibel


It’s Susan reporting just another beautiful Friday on sunny Sanibel Island. After a busy winter/spring, many colleagues are taking vacations – some stay-cations. Their timing couldn’t be better. It is really quiet! Probably contributing to that is all the recent press about the Lake “O” water releases which have resulted in tannin-colored water in the bay which is now wrapping around the lighthouse into the gulf.  Meanwhile, it’s still looking AOK on most of the gulf side.

I had lunch yesterday at West Wind Inn’s Normandie Seaside Cafe and ran into Kim from their Upper Pool Deck Bar. Wednesday, on Facebook, she posted her view from there (photo below). It’s a great spot for lunch or an evening pre-sunset libation. Music some nights too. Their food comes from the Normandie’s kitchen too. Both open to the public and secret gems favored by the Inn’s guests, locals, and maybe you too.

2018-06-13

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Following Sanibel Mayor Ruane’s call-to-action last Friday, demanding that these water releases stop – the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® created an easy way for concerned citizens and island lovers to respond. Using the below link and by just adding your contact info, emails on your behalf (with copy to you) will go to the powers-that-be at the Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with copy to the Governor. Everyone who is concerned, please do it. If you have ever enjoyed the islands or spent a penny here, this should be important to you. It takes only seconds to complete. Thank you! http://sanibelcaptivarealtors.org/cta/

sccf 14K checkAt our Thursday morning Realtor® Caravan Meeting, Association President Dustyn Corace presented a check for $14,000 to Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s (SCCF) Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel. The final tally is in with these monies raised last month at our end-of-season golf outing and auction. The funds are going to SCCF ear-marked for their use in improving local water quality.

What The Conservation Foundation Says

A message from SCCF received midweek has a good summary of what is happening with these water releases:

SCCF logo“It is premature to dump massive quantities of water to the estuaries at the very beginning of the rainy season when no water was being held by or discharged to agricultural areas to share the harm. Instead, agriculture on the east side of the lake and southwest of the lake have been allowed to backflow massive quantities of water into the lake instead of holding their own runoff. Quantities back flowed equal the amount that has been discharged to the estuaries that have also received too much rain. We ask water managers to identify these conditions and start requiring all landowners to manage storm water on their own land, not dump it into the lake, not usurp the entire capacity of publicly funded storm water treatment areas that harm public resources.

“Since the rain began on May 15 the Caloosahatchee estuary has been experiencing increasing levels of harmful flows. The first 2 weeks flows were watershed runoff from Hendry and Glades Counties, with no discharges from Lake Okeechobee. However, the lake discharges that started on June 1st nearly tripled the harmful high flows to the estuary… dumping dark fresh water and suddenly dropping salinities in the estuary all the way to the mouth of the river at Shell Point. The consequence of this sudden, drastic, and prolonged salinity drop has been a massive die off of estuarine clams and oysters at Iona just upstream of Shell Point and is fueling freshwater cyanobacteria, including Microcystis, that is visible beneath the water surface from Beautiful Island by I-75 to Iona Cove.

“This current event is the direct result of managing water selectively to allow agricultural landowners to dump their floodwater into Lake Okeechobee and into publicly funded storm water treatment areas, thus forcing discharges harmful to public resources.

“We need to express our strenuous objection to water managers and elected representatives because these harmful flows are the direct consequence of agricultural discharges that have resulted in harmful flows to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie, without consideration of the flood consequences on these coastal ecosystems.”

NKY Music Legends Welcomes Danny Morgan

dany morgan logoAs a long-time fan of Sanibel musician Danny Morgan, it was great to read recent news about his latest honor. Here’s some scoop from www.Cincinnati.com on May 24, 2018:

“Northern Kentucky Music Legends (NKY) is an organization that recognizes area musicians, vocalists and music industry people who have made a name for themselves locally and nationally. Jerry Gifford, a musician who is still playing after 50 years with his band Strange Brew, originated the idea of honoring talented Northern Kentucky musicians. So, in 2013 he met with Charlie Coleman, Campbell County commissioner; Jon Long, a longtime musician; and John Mendell, a concert producer. The group contacted The Cincinnati Enquirer to put out a call for Northern Kentucky musicians who would qualify. Criteria include birth in Northern Kentucky or longtime residency, played music for 20 or more years and made a mark in the community…. This year marks the sixth Hall of Fame induction ceremony….the Hall of Fame inductees for 2018 include…:

► Danny Morgan, who played in popular bands before taking off to Nashville and forming The Apple Butter Band with local legend Mickey Foellger (… the now-retired Campbell County juvenile court judge), Joellen Morgan and ex-Bengal Mike Reid. They toured with the Beach Boys and other major acts. These days Morgan plays five nights a week in Sanibel Island, Florida. “Danny Morgan has a keen sense of artistry and not only finding, but nurturing great talent,” said Stan Hertzman, retired music business professional.”

Danny Morgan from Cincinnati paper

Those like me who enjoy the Sanibel music experience often refer to Danny Morgan as our local Jimmy Buffet. We follow his performances, play his CDs, and know the words to many of his songs like “Sanibel Sunset”, “Captiva Moon”, and one of my favs, “Running on the Beach”. In addition to performing at many local special events, weddings, and parties, you usually can catch Danny and often his band, plus guest musicians (including sightings of Livingston Taylor & Pittsburg Mike) at the following locations:

  • Margarita Mondays at Sundial Beach Resort from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday & Thursday Nights at Traders Gulf Coast Grill beginning at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday afternoons 1 to 4 p.m. at Casa Ybel Resort’s Coconuts poolside bar & grill

More about Danny and his offerings at www.DannyMorgan.com

Fun June Happenings at The Community House

If you haven’t yet been to Sanibel’s new Community House, you are missing out. Here are a couple of their events scheduled this month. Call 239-472-2155 or checkout their website at www.SanibelCommunityHouse.net for more info.

  • Adult Demonstration – Quick & Easy Meals using 5 Ingredients by Chef Jarret, June 15, at noon. Prepaid reservations needed.
  • Adult Farm-to-Table Hands-On Cooking Class by Chef Jarred, June 22, Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Produce a delicious meal with ingredients sourced locally. Prepaid reservations needed.
  • Community House Culinary Education CtrHoliday Hog Roast – “Smoke on the Islands” by Chef Jarret, June 30, Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. $15, ice cream sundae bar $5. Also, kids “All American Red, White, & Blue Dessert Content”. Entry forms at the Community House. Judging at 7 p.m. & awards given for best tasting, best presentation, and best theme. Bring a 2nd dessert for their auction to help raise money for the Culinary Education Center. Tickets available at The Community House or Bailey’s.

At SanibelSusan Realty

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle Way

Summer is a good time to get caught up, reflect, plan, and project. Our weekly report of the activity of the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows my musings below.

Below is some food-for-thought for would-be sellers who are thinking of listing their island real estate. Some of these tips apply to selling anywhere.

How’s The Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Market? The housing bubble before the recession drove prices up on the islands. Back in that heyday of 2006, the average Sanibel condo sold for close to $900K and the average Sanibel home over $1.1M. On Captiva, the average condo was more than $1.3M and average home over $2.3M. Then, prices took a dive.

housing-bubble-1872350_960_720It has been nearly ten years since the recession and often I am asked if island real estate has recovered. That answer is complicated. Sellers on the islands are faced with more challenges than those in a traditional real estate environment.

Plus, it’s a small island with a big variety of property types and a wide span in price. Depending on the property, it sometimes takes months or years for a property to sell. Other properties, if the demand is right, could sell in hours.

How do you know where a property fits in? That answer is complicated too. First, there are fewer buyers for real estate in resort or 2nd home-type locations. According to the National Association of Realtors® (remember I teach the Resort & 2nd Home Market class to our local Realtors®), these sales account for fewer than one-fifth of all the home/condo sales each year.

These buyers, if they are financing, typically have to put down way more money than those buying a primary home. The lender criteria for buying a property like that is tougher too.

In this area of Florida, the selling season also is somewhat limited because the most prospective buyers are in town from December through April which also can be when properties are occupied or rented. With Sanibel homes having a monthly rental minimum, that can mean showings only on the 1st of the month, or with condos renting weekly, it can mean showings only on Saturdays between late morning and early afternoon when a property is being cleaned and often also when the buyers are coming/going.

With more baby boomers now retired and staying longer, many rentals – including those for sale – may be booked for extended periods, making showings in season even more unlikely. It also bears mentioning that many vacationing would-be-buyers only want to earmark a short time to look at real estate, preferably a day when the sun isn’t out or the weather is less than ideal. They want to buy, they just want to enjoy their vacation too (which is exactly why we encourage buyers to come back this time of the year when it’s easier to view property and they can concentrate on that task). These buyers also may not be in a hurry. They may be willing to wait until their next vacation or even next year, particularly if they don’t find a property that’s “just right” for them.

So, if there is no getting around some of these challenges, what can a seller do to get their island property sold sooner and at a higher price? Here some tips:

house-painter-clipart-paintersBe Ready for The Best First Impression – First impressions are huge, whether the first one is the driveway, the walkway, the entry, the front door, or the foyer. Be sure it is all sparkling clean and trimmed. Pressure washing the exterior and walkways are especially important here where heat and mildew can take a toll. A fresh coat of paint on a front door is an easy fix too. Also, nix and replace any nasty door hardware.

Invest in Upgrades – Think about when you purchased. Were you ready to do your own improvements or did you prefer a property that was move-in-ready? Most island buyers want the latter, so it pays to make a property so perfect that the new owner only needs to bring their suitcase. Nobody wants old and ugly.

If you can afford to do updating before a property goes on the market, do it. That updating could be as easy as going through every drawer and closet, organizing and tossing out old furnishings, or adding fresh paint or replacing old worn carpet. The trick is to make the property look bigger, cleaner, and brighter.cleaning-cloud-vector-illustration_k7551435

If you go as far as renovating kitchen and baths or even in minor redecorating and sprucing up, remember this is an island in Florida where most end-users are here in the winter. Pick a style that’s light bright and happy. That’s what most buyers want. They may say that they don’t need move-in-ready and island décor, but they really do. They sometimes figure that out as they proceed through the viewing process, after seeing the competition.

Four-Point-Inspection-Think About Replacing Big Ticket Items That Could Become Problematic – I know I’ve mentioned it before, but as a reminder, to get insurance today on a property that is over 20 years old, most insurance providers require a 4-point inspection. Insurance companies increasingly have become reluctant to issue policies on older homes. Their concern is that there may be conditions in an older property that could become a liability to them. For example, a home with a roof near the end of its service life may fail while under the policy and the homeowner may file a claim for damage to the home or its contents. A 4-point inspection describes the condition and age of the following four elements:

  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning)
  • Electrical wiring & panels
  • Plumbing, connections, & fittings
  • Roof

These may be expensive items and systems to repair or replace before selling, but rest-assured if a property has copper pipes on Sanibel, it will be flagged by a home inspector. (Sanibel’s water, over time can cause pinhole leaks in copper piping.) Federal Pacific electrical panels (which some insurance companies will not insure) are flagged here too. Even with “as is” contracts where seller repairs are not required and most buyers expect a number of minor defects, when a big ticket item comes up, the buyer often asks for a consideration in the form of either a price reduction or a contribution toward the needed repair or replacement.

home-inspection1.jpgGet A Home Inspection & Make Repairs Before Listing – Doing this might preclude the problems mentioned above. Most buyers will overestimate updating and repair costs. So, if they come to look at a property that needs new piping or a new electrical box, they will likely do one of two things. They will come up with their own inaccurate too-high off-the-cuff estimate which they then will deduct from their offer price. Or even worse, they will decide that it is too much money or more than they want to deal with. They then will move on to another property that doesn’t have problems.

realtor logoListen to Professionals – Realtors® are in the business of looking at real estate with a critical eye. They are not emotionally invested in a property like the owner. We try to be sensitive to an owner’s feelings and their decorating style, but they know the inventory and competition, and what is selling. Be prepared to tell your Realtor® the special things you like about your property but also be ready to listen to what they say may need to be done to bring you top dollar. As the island real estate market evolves through the calendar year, understand that your property may be one that appeals most to a winter buyer, so if it doesn’t sell in one “season”, it may take until the next.

Don’t discount summer buyers though. When winter inventory is low, serious buyers return in the summer. Summer also brings more families looking for year-‘round homes, vacationers looking for income-producing short-term rental condos, and Europeans looking for privacy and a good place to invest.

In every real estate market, price and appearance matter. In a seasonal area, like here, those factors can mean the difference between selling quickly or lingering for months. Regardless of the time of the year, it is usually two things that keep properties from selling. Either they are over-priced or they have not been updated and well maintained.

Gone are the days when buyers come into a real estate office with a list of their requirements and a Realtor® tells them what is available that meets their needs. Today’s buyers (close to 95%) do their island property searches online. If a property isn’t perfectly priced and doesn’t look great, it is not going to sell, because these consumers search in only their price range and buy through the pictures they see on the internet. Not only are professional photographs needed, but the property needs to be attractive. Almost every island Realtor® will tell you that they have sold property sight-unseen. I have sold many that way and this year even sold one that I had not seen (though I did look before it closed).

7832303--illustration-of-a-man-being-dragged-under-water-by-his-house-mortgage-which-is-chained-to-his-anke-Does It Make Sense To Take A Loss – Owners who bought at the peak or during the multi-year run-up before it, most likely are dealing with properties that are not worth what they paid. Now as they go to sell, they need to pay for improvements or repairs to get top-dollar, plus they will pay a real estate commission and other closing costs. They are not happy about it. They are losing money, even if they break even on the sales price. During the real estate boom, people wanted to be part of the group that flocked to own a vacation or 2nd home. That is not necessarily the case now. Prices are going up and the market is improving, but not as fast as some want.

That can make it a tough decision for an owner who bought high. Those prospective sellers need to decide whether they want to keep the property for another few years and see if values continue to go up, or instead say they are ready to just get out and potentially take a loss.

Island properties often are bought with discretionary income, so unless a buyer is compelled to do it now, it can become a waiting game. Just as buying an island property can be a life-altering decision, so can selling one.

The SanibelSusan Team tries to make buying and selling real estate easy and stress-free, but as these paragraphs describe, it ain’t always easy.

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 8-15, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

4 price changes: Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 now $399K, Seawind #109 2/2.4 now $512.5K, Nutmeg Village #103 2/2 now $795K, By-The-Sea #C102 2/2 now $1.149M.

5 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #314 2/2 listed at $569K, Loggerhead Cay #433 2/2 listed at $594.9K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 listed at $699K, Loggerhead Cay #163 2/2 listed at $779K, Sundial West #E310 2/2 listed at $890K.

5 closed sales: Sundial West #G407 1/1 $435K, Sanibel Moorings #1631 2/2 $570K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 $675K, Tarpon Beach #206 2/2 $780K, Gulfside Place #323 2/2 $1.25M.

HOMES

10 new listings: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $525K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 $550K, 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $569K, 746 Nerita St 3/2 $749K, 3017 Turtle Gait Ln 3/2 $749K, 632 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $750K, 5267 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $834.5K, 438 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $859K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 $1.099M, 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 $1.16M.

11 price changes: 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $440K, 1940 Periwinkle Way 3/2 half-duplex now $459K, 5885 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $549K, 396 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 now $624K, 1478 Albatross Rd 3/2 now $674.9K, 660 Oliva St 3/3 now $849K, 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 now $924.9K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $1.099M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/3 now $1.5M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/2 now $1.595M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.448M.

4 new sales: 1126 Schooner Pl 4/2.5 duplex listed at $459K, 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 listed at $924.9K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 listed at $1.099M, 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 listed at $1.949M.

10 closed sales: 813 Rabbit Rd 2/2 half-duplex $365K, 1283 Par View Dr 2/2 $475K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex $520K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $588K, 2521 Key Lime Pl 3/2 $565K, 753 Cardium St 3/2 $620K, 1806 Ibis Ln 3/2 $650K, 5739 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $780K, 1995 My Tern Ct 4/2 $1.279M, 411 Bella Vista Way 4/4 half-duplex $1.95M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct $335K, 5251 Punta Caloosa Ct $580K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 5340 Punta Caloosa Ct listed at $1.375M.

No closed sales. 

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #5102 ½ now $369K, Sunset Captiva #103 2/2/2 now $949K.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2214 2/2 listed at $620K.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3216 1/1 $305K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 listed at $4.198M.

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.

fathers-day-clip-art-jTx95RBTE1Until next Friday, here’s hoping your summer weather is as spectacular as on the islands! Best wishes on Sunday to all the Dads, would-be Dads, & Moms covering as Dads!

If you want to buy yours a piece of paradise for Fathers Day, I can help.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Flamingos, Papayas, Real Estate News, Halloween Events, & More…


"Sailors delight" Wed heading on the island about 7 p.m.

It’s the end of another good week of real estate activity on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Many of our listings had showings and at our Realtor Caravan meeting yesterday several new sales were announced. See the details on those at the bottom of today’s blog. I was out a couple of times showing condos this week too, while our pals in rentals say that their phones were ringing off the hook this morning as a result of the snow flurries in the northeast last night. All good news.

Improvement in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Market

The 2012 Sanibel and Captiva residential real estate market is showing improvement. Here is a summary of inventory and sales this year compared to last:

                         SANIBEL CONDOS                               SANIBEL HOMES

                         No.       Avg Price $        Avg DOM          No.       Avg Price $        Avg DOM*

 For sale           228       684,548             444                   212       1,213,506          420

Sale pending      11       380,809              322                     24          922,850          404      

Sold & Closed:

2011 to 10/28   128      611,650               311                   148          842,461          376

2012                 120      608,545               381                   124          775,805          320

                          CAPTIVA CONDOS                               CAPTIVA HOMES

                         No.       Avg Price $        Avg DOM          No.       Avg Price $        Avg DOM*

For sale             60         825,488            502                   62         3,408,369          699

Sale pending       3        602,500            771                     1        1,190,000            46      

Sold & Closed:

2011 to 10/28     22         762,323            486                   19         1,924,095          378

2012                   25         696,159            312                   10         2,258,250          357

* DOM = days on market

These sale prices and numbers of sales are a far cry from the heydays of 2005 and 2006, but it appears to be good solid improvement just the same. Vacant land sales are not doing as well, but as the inventory of homes goes down, lot sales should improve too.

Rare Wild Flamingos Spotted in SW Florida

Flamingo at Bunche Beach

An article in Tuesday’s Fort Myers “News Press” included a photo of a flamingo observed at Bunche Beach near the Sanibel Causeway. It reported that several flamingo sightings last week have Southwest Florida birders abuzz. According to their writer Amy Bennett Williams:

“They may be an unofficial Florida mascot, but wild-born flamingos have all but disappeared from the Sunshine State. Spotting one in these parts is “rarer than rare” says naturalist Vince McGrath, which is why area birders are abuzz about several recent sightings of the graceful creatures in Lee County.

A group of Alva Elementary School fourth-graders on a field trip to Bunche Beach near the Sanibel Causeway last week watched a lone flamingo feeding, preening and resting in the shallows before it took flight. The bird’s feathers had only traces of the characteristic coral pink, which leads McGrath to believe it’s a youngster. Other birders have seen flamingos elsewhere in the region. Nine flew north past Barefoot Beach near Bonita Springs last week, says Gayle Sheets, who volunteers with Lee County Bird Patrol (birdpatrol.org), a group that monitors birds throughout Lee County.

“It’s a common misconception flamingos aren’t native to Florida. Actually, before much of the state was re-plumbed and its wetlands drained, they were common here. “Blame the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers,” McGrath laughed. Occasionally, captive flamingos escape from zoos and tourist attractions, especially after hurricanes. And judging by the behavior of the young Bunche Beach bird, that may be the case, McGrath says. “It let people get pretty close,” he says, “and it didn’t seem too bothered by them.””

Doc Ford’s For Good Food & More

Doc Ford's papaya trees

While out for lunch with a colleague this week, we spotted this papaya plant at one of our favorite island haunts, Doc Ford’s. When we asked their Manager Liz about it, she said that the top leaves of the plant were hiding their sign so they trimmed them off. Now we are  wondering when we will see the restaurant serve their famous fish tacos with their own fruit. This tree is loaded.

 

Papaya tree with full leaves

For those not familiar with these wonderful plants, which love growing here, the picture on the right is a tree with its upper leaves intact. (P.S. Next time you are Doc Ford’s, try their chicken caesar salad which gets my vote as the best on the island. All of the Randy Wayne White books featuring main character Doc Ford are terrific too and easy vacation reads.)

REO Sales Nationally May Not Peak Until 2013

An interesting article by Jon Prior was posted last week on LinkedIn. It includes varied opinions on the status of real estate currently held by lending institutions.

“The sale of properties repossessed through foreclosure may not peak until 2013, keeping home prices from a meaningful recovery for some time, analysts estimated Monday (10/17/2011). Nearly half of the more than 552,000 REO (real estate owned) properties liquidated in the first half of 2011 were held by private banks. In the years ahead, the government – including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac – will begin taking a majority of the activity.

“In 2013, REO sales could reach 1.48 million properties, according to estimates from Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts, a 10% increase from projected amount in 2012.  “We do not expect to see anywhere near the downward pressure on home prices that we had back in 2008, since the expected percent changes in liquidation volumes are so much smaller,” BofAML analysts said. “But home prices are starting from a negative point, so the implication is that home prices will continue to decline as the foreclosures transition through the pipeline.”

“Most of the projected increase will come as the government begins to unload its backlog. The government-sponsored enterprises and HUD, analysts estimate, will liquidate roughly 595,000 properties in 2013 alone. Total REO liquidations wouldn’t drop below 1 million until 2015, according to BofAML.

“The Obama administration began work last month developing new strategies for selling this mass of properties, which may involve renting more of them. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is also working on a way to refinance more underwater borrowers to entice them from walking away. “I would essentially rent the house back to those who are living in them now,” said Susan Woodward, an economist with Sand Hill Econometrics. “I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to push 4 million people out of their homes when they’re victims of a slower economy they had nothing to do with.” Other analysts were skeptical of anyone who could predict accurately what the GSEs or Washington would do, especially after the elections in 2012. “Do they really think that the government under any administration would let 500,000 homes hit the market and crash prices all over again, six years after the first crash?” said Scott Sambucci, chief analyst at Altos Research. He said even if unemployment improved by a full percentage point or two — which he said would be a stretch — the market would still struggle to meet such a supply influx. “It would crash the market, so no, it’ll never happen,” Sambucci said.

“Daren Blomquist at RealtyTrac, which monitors foreclosure filings across the country, said the sale of REO is on track to reach 825,000 by the end of 2011.  “We do expect the REOs to pick back up in 2012 as lenders push through some of the foreclosures delayed by processing and paperwork issues,” Blomquist said, adding the inventory needed to be sold could reach well into the millions.

“If half of the 800,000 mortgages currently somewhere in the foreclosure process and another half of the 1.5 million loans in serious delinquency end up REO, it could mean an additional, 1.15 million properties that would need to be liquidated — not including new foreclosures that enter the process, according to RealtyTrac.  “That’s very possible given continued high unemployment rates and high underwater rates,” Blomquist said. RealtyTrac estimates roughly 27% of all outstanding mortgages are worth more than the underlying property.

“Woodward said refinancing borrowers, in negative equity or not, down to current market rates could result in a total savings for U.S. households at $250 billion annually. When asked if private investors would return to fund the future mortgage market after such a radical change, she said they would. “I think the whole world would see this as a one-time fix. We did similar extreme things during the Great Depression,” Woodward said.

“Investors themselves, though, showed little confidence they would take on such a risk again. In fact, most are trying to keep the government involved in the housing market for the future, to keep risks as low as possible. Otherwise, foreign investors would flee.

“While the estimates on how many REO will be sold in the future are extremely difficult to nail down, the size of the best projections share a common and threatening scale. Analysts said major refinancing schemes or new strategies for liquidating REO on a local level would need to be completed soon to rescue house prices from the still increasing pressure of mounting foreclosures. “The need for policy support would therefore be considered urgent,” the BofAML analysts said.”

(Bank bailouts and government intervention don’t sit well with this old girl. I have always been more in favor of “let the chips fall where they may.” It probably would have been painful at the time, but perhaps not as painful as the politicians fiddling around the edges of these problems and prolonging this economic mess. The following article posted on Monday in the CNBC Real Estate Report by Diana Olick sums it up pretty well.)

Obama Refi Plan is Not Housing Stimulus

“”President Obama is taking action.” At least that’s what the blog on WhiteHouse.gov says today in describing the President’s trip to Las Vegas. “We can’t wait to help homeowners,” it goes. That action consists of revamping an existing government refinance program through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, so-called “underwater” borrowers. There are an estimated 11 million of those nationwide according to CoreLogic. The original program, which started in 2009 and has helped about 900,000 borrowers get lower interest rates, was capped. You couldn’t owe more than 25% more than your home was worth. That cap is now gone, so you can be eligible no matter how underwater you are. Fees have been waived or lowered, banks have been largely let off the hook for reps and warrants on the loans (when they are forced to buy back bad loans), second liens can be transferred and mortgage insurers will move their coverage to the new loan.

“While federal regulators and administration officials were releasing, explaining and selling the plan in Washington this morning, President Obama is making his pitch in a state where 60% of homeowners with a mortgage are underwater on those mortgages. But Las Vegas is also the foreclosure capital of America. 70% of home sales in August were of “distressed” properties, that is foreclosures and short sales. The number of new notices of default also surged in that month, up nearly 58% from July, as lenders ramp up the foreclosure machine again.

“About those numbers: This plan is for current borrowers who want to get a lower monthly payment through a lower mortgage rate. Yes, it’s the first plan that “rewards positive behavior,” says Florida attorney and mortgage expert Shari Olefson, but it doesn’t do anything for the now 6 million plus borrowers who are either behind on their mortgage payments or already in the foreclosure process. It also does nothing about all those foreclosed properties sitting on the books of Fannie, Freddie, the FHA and the big banks that still need to be sold and right now can only be sold at below-market prices. This plan does nothing to stop the bleeding in home prices. Don’t get me wrong, it may make about a million and a half borrowers feel better about making monthly payments on an investment that will never show any return. It may stop some from walking away from their homes and mortgages. “It takes the sting out of it,” one underwater borrower told me today, but it doesn’t change the value of his home.  Unless we fix the negative equity problem, we’re going to refinance all folks into lower rate mortgage, but fast forward a year or so from now and they’re going to sit back at their dining room table and say, look I’m still underwater, and we may see defaults again,” says Olefson.

“Make no mistake, this refi plan is an economic stimulus at best, a political play at worst. It will give some relief to a very limited number of borrowers who may have been on the edge of trouble; it does not stimulate home sales, save delinquent borrowers from foreclosure, stop the bleeding in home prices or rid the market of a suffocating number of distressed properties. If this is the best the administration can do, then housing will continue to struggle for a bad long time. Of course, you could argue that it is not up to the administration to fix a housing market that was crushed by Wall Street greed and a buying public that refused to heed any of the repeated warnings that home prices don’t always go up. Maybe what will ultimately save housing won’t be a housing fix at all.  “What we really need for housing to recover is a) Europe to get its house in order so we don’t precipitate another recession; and b) a jobs package,” says former assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr, who worked on the administration’s housing bailouts.”

Three Mortgage Mistakes You Can Avoid

Another recent article posted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson on Inman News clears a few misconceptions about today’s mortgages. Some good advice here:

“The mortgage market is in a state of tumult these days. Rates are bizarrely low, but many homes are worth much less than the mortgage balances they secure. People are still losing their homes left and right, but millions of mortgage applications of creditworthy borrowers are being rejected every year.

Against this backdrop, it’s really no wonder that would-be buyers and homeowners alike are in a state of confusion about which end is up in the mortgage marketplace. To shed some light into this darkness, here are three very common mortgage mistakes that you might be making as we speak — and some strategies for avoiding or correcting them.

  1. Failing to try to refinance because you’re upside-down. At last count, nearly 11 million Americans were upside-down on their homes — meaning they owe more in mortgage(s) than the home is worth — and that’s about 23% of all American homes. With interest rates having dropped to historic low after historic low, more than 10 million Americans have refinanced their mortgages since 2009. But most homeowners with negative equity feel like they are trapped in their 6, 7 or even 8% interest mortgages, unable to save the hundreds of dollars every month of a mortgage at today’s sub-4% rates, because no lender will refinance them. The fact is, multiple options abound for lowering your interest rate and monthly payment if you’re upside down on your home loan. Banks are increasingly amenable to simply modify existing mortgages to render them less prone to default and foreclosure — especially when the homeowner is trying to recover from a financial hardship like interrupted income due to job loss or illness, and especially with upside-down loans (which are particularly liable to strategic default, without modification). Also, many banks offer refis on mortgages as much as 25% underwater (so long as no payments have been missed) through the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Refinance Program and the less widely adopted Federal Housing Administration Short Refinance Program. Contact your own mortgage bank’s loss mitigation division about a loan modification or a refi under HARP, or reach out to any mortgage broker that offers FHA loans to apply for the Short Refi Program.
  2. Walking into the bank branch to get a mortgage. Not to jump on the anti-bank bandwagon, but unless your bank happens to be a neighborhood credit union or one of the few large banks that ranks highly in customer satisfaction (e.g., USAA), you’ll likely not be satisfied with the speed, customer service or assertiveness of a mortgage banker you meet just walking into the branch. If you work with a mortgage broker or a private mortgage banker you meet by referrals from your circle of friends and relatives, chances are good you’ll get someone who understands that the long-term health of their business depends on you and clients like you getting a deal closed in a timely manner. Specifically, you should request referrals from folks you know who have bought or refinanced homes relatively recently, as the mortgage pros who are still in business and closing deals successfully these days are necessarily skilled at navigating a very tricky and restrictive mortgage market. Also, if you work with a mortgage broker whose company also has its own bank, you get the best of both worlds: a professional who will shop lots of banks’ offerings to find the best options for you, and someone who can coordinate your transaction via a small pool of local, experienced appraisers. Many large banks select appraisers who don’t know the area, which can kill your deal in the long run.
  3. Thinking you’re stuck with it for 30 years. I’ve heard people say they didn’t want to buy a home because they were depressed by the thought of a debt that would last 30 years. I’ve heard others regret that they couldn’t afford the payment on a 15-year mortgage and instead were stuck with a 30-year loan. The fact is, you control when you pay your mortgage off, and it doesn’t take a lottery or inheritance windfall to pay yours off sooner than later. Some people pay half their mortgage payment every two weeks, which results in a full extra payment every year and can pay your mortgage off as much as five years early. Others just pay an extra $100 or so as often as they can, and ask their loan servicer to apply the overage to principal. Some do much more, applying paycheck raises over the years or amounts they once paid to extinguish credit card debt toward their mortgage balances in an effort to pay them off early. The theme is that, as a borrower, you may have much more power than you thought, from exploring little-known options for getting your upside-down mortgage’s payment lowered to being aggressive about paying your home off sooner rather than later. So get clear on your personal goals for your mortgage, get educated about your options and get assertive about making them happen — now.”

Upcoming Events

  • Oct 29, Saturday – 17th Annual Hallo ‘Tween Costume Party is at ‘Tween Waters Inn from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. This adult over-age-21 event is the islands’ most notorious Halloween bash, and traditionally the largest and most famous Halloween party on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, regularly attracting more than 1,000 colorfully costumed guests. The outdoor event is infamous for the scope, size, scariness, outrageousness, raciness, zaniness, variety and creativity of costuming. Tickets are available at the door. This year, the theme is “Twisted Circus” with live music and a $1,000 costume contest with judging at midnight. Every year this party grows and grows, with many planning their costumes months in advance. Another record turn-out is expected. More info on www.tween-waters.com.
  • Nov 5, Saturday – 18th Annual Esperanza Woodring Memorial Cast Net Rodeo at The Bait Box on Sanibel. Cast net throwing lessons and demonstrations begin at 9 a.m. with competitions starting at 10:30 a.m. Children’s registration is FREE and each child receives a prize just for competing. The Bait Box was founded in 1971 by lifelong Sanibel resident Ralph Woodring, son of Esperanza Woodring. Esperanza was born on Cayo Costa in 1901 and spent more than 75 years on the waters around Sanibel as a commercial fisher and as a fishing and shell guide. She was a master at the art of casting a net, rather unusual for a woman at the time. This event in her honor includes a raffle and refreshments with all proceeds benefiting START (Solutions to Avoid Red Tide) which is a grassroots organization and member of the Red Tide Alliance which is comprised of Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. The Alliance focuses on the development of programs that monitor, control, and mitigate red tide.  The Cast Net Rodeo is a fun day for the whole family at The Bait Box on Sanibel. For more info on START, go to www.start1.com.

  • Nov 17-20, Thursday thru Saturday, Buck Key Weekend – Part of the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the Buck Key Paddling Trail reopened last winter after Hurricane Charley damage closed it in 2004. Restoration was made possible by a group of avid kayakers from Captiva Island who formed a committee to raise funds for the clearing of the trail. Toward that end, the committee, in partnership with “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge and Captiva Cruises, is planning a weekend of informative and fun events to benefit Buck Key upkeep and preservation. The public is invited to all the festivities. The weekend kicks off with a free “History of Buck Key” presentation at the Captiva Island Yacht Club on Thursday, Nov 17 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with seating on a first-come basis. Friday will feature kayak tours of Buck Key with Captiva Kayaks. On Saturday, Nov 19, Captiva Cruises’ Santiva will have for a historic cruise of Roosevelt Channel and Buck Key, departing from McCarthy’s Marina. The weekend culminates on Sunday, Nov 20, with a private Jazz Brunch Cruise aboard the Lady Chadwick.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity October 21-28

Sanibel
CONDOS
5 new listings: Sanibel Arms #1 2/2 $429K, Sunset South #1C 2/2 $489K, Compass Point #213 2/2 $599K, Sanibel Surfside #126 2/2 $849K, Pointe Santo #E3 2/2 $885K.
8 price changes: Tennisplace #D23 1/1 now $155K (short sale), Lake Palms #9 2/2.5 now $275K (short sale), Sandalfoot #4C2 2/2 now $489K, Sundial #O201 2/2 now $495K, Sandalfoot #4C2 2/2 now $548K, Clam Shell #C 2/2 now $749K, Junonia #202 2/2 now $849K, Wedgewood #305 3/3.5 now $1.349M.
1 new sale: Sundial #E201 2/2 listed for $849K.
4 closed sales: Coquina Beach #3E 2/2 $375K, Pelicans Roost #103 2/2 $525K (short sale), Pointe Santo #C7 2/2 $677K, Loggerhead Cay #174 2/2 $562.5K.

HOMES
5 new listing
: 1537 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 $774K, 568 Lighthouse Way 2/2 $1.5M, 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.595M, 3864 West Gulf Dr 4/5.5 $2.475M, 3517 West Gulf Dr 4/5 $6.5M.
12 price changes: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex now $299K, 490 Elizabeth Rd 2/2 now $418K, 6101 Castaways Ln 4/2 now $599K (short sale), 927 Limpet Dr 3/3 now $739.9K (foreclosure), 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 now $979K (short sale), 2367 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 now $1.289M, 730 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 now $1.35M, 5391 Shearwater Dr 3/3.5 now $1.649M, 780 Birdie View Pt 5/4.5 now $2.199M, 654 Kinzie Island Ct 6/4/2 now $2.295M, 5045 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 now $2.295M, 1191 Bird Ln 4/3 now $2.695M (short sale).
6 new sales: 9239 Kincaid Ct 2/2 listed for $249K, 1212 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 listed for $339K, 3180 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 listed for $599K, 1204 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex listed for $749K, 6192 Henderson Rd 3/2 listed for $899K, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 listed for $1.495M.
No closed sales.

LOTS
4 new listings
: 1912 Ibis Ln $249K; 4556 Buck Key Rd $259.9K; 5830 SanCap Rd $389,555; 1837 Buckthorn Ln $495K.
3 price changes: 600 Hideaway Ct now $285K, 5121 SanCap Rd now $299K, 1114 Seagrape Ln now $495K.
No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing
: Beach Villas #2533 2/2 $850K.
1 price change: Captiva Shores #6B 2/2 now $749K.
No new or closed sales.

HOMES
1 new listing: 17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 $4.995M.
4 price changes: 17 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 now $685K, 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $2.395M, 16697 Captiva Dr 2/2 now $2.495M, 16730 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $5.25M, 16950 Captiva Dr 2/2 now $10.385M.
No new or closed sales.

LOTS
No new listings.
3 price changes
: 16989 Captiva Dr now $1.2M, 16970 Captiva Dr now $2.995M, 16980 Captiva Dr now $2.995M.
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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

Until next Friday, best wishes from SanibelSusan for a Happy Halloween with lots of treats & no tricks