Sanibel Is Opening Slowly… Just in Time for Memorial Day


This week brought the first of the islands’ good summer showers which already have greened things up and affected some of the bright orange blooms on the big Royal Poinciana trees that are so spectacular here in May.

Also spectacular is the color of the gulf and bay waters. Though that changes when the rainy season begins and things get stirred up, this week many islanders remarked that driving across the causeway looks like a Caribbean postcard. (This photo was gulf side yesterday.)

Today is another quiet Friday at SanibelSusan Realty, but the island could get busier soon. Check out the scoop below about the City Council Meeting yesterday. After that is info about the action this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Sanibel Emergency Proclamation Extended

As background on City openings, on Tuesday, Sanibel’s Mayor extended the City’s Emergency Proclamation another seven days – or until May 26. The following three changes were part of the updated Proclamation which may be read on http://www.MySanibel.com.

  • The temporary parking restrictions at Pond Apple Park (1380 Periwinkle Way) and at The Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (1159 Causeway Rd) are lifted.
  • Earlier restrictions on beach/pool chairs/equipment were modified to allow chair/equipment in the same percentage as the occupancy allowed (for example, hotels/resorts/timeshares approved for 50% occupancy may provide for guest use the same amount of chairs/equipment).
  • Additionally, the 227 units in the on-site resort rental program at Sundial were added to the hotel/resort/timeshare list based on their recent receipt of a motel license from Florida Division of Business & Professional Regulation.

So, Sanibel’s pay-parking lots remain closed through the Memorial Day holiday (will reopen June 1, unless there is another change). At that time, vacation rentals remained limited to 30 days or longer, except those properties with licenses as hotels/resorts/timeshares which may rent up to 50% occupancy (with safety precautions and with guests from COVID hotspots not allowed).

I ventured into a couple of off-island Publix this week and was surprised to find few patrons wearing masks and adhering to the social distancing precautions. At Bailey’s, they continue to provide a mask if you do not have one.

Sanibel Opens Vacation Rentals, With Restrictions & Exceptions

Last Friday afternoon, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that beginning this past Monday, Florida was in full Phase One of reopening. Full Phase One includes a stipulation that vacation rentals can reopen on a county-by-county basis as long as the county submits a plan to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and it is approved by the secretary of DBPR. As of today, in just a week’s time, 26 Florida countries have received state approval for vacation rentals.

The plan was unanimously approved by the Lee County Commission on Tuesday and later in the week Lee County’s Safety Plan received state approval. Those plan details say:

  • Vacation rentals should open and operate for in-state reservations only (i.e. only Florida residents).
  • Short-term rental properties should prohibit rentals to persons traveling internationally or from a state or locality with a substantial community spread of COVID-19.
  • Short-term rental properties should maintain 72 hours between guest check-ins to allow for effective cleaning and disinfecting of the rental unit.
  • Short-term rental properties shall thoroughly clean and disinfect the property between rentals following CDC guidelines. cdc.gov/…/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-fac…
  • Short-term rentals shall post signage in all units detailing cleaning and sanitation procedure.

The county plan was revised and approved by the state to restrict vacation rentals to residents of states that have less than 700 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. That currently means residents of Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island are prohibited.

Those changes resulted in a Sanibel City Council Meeting yesterday afternoon which unanimously adopted the county plan.

During further Council discussion yesterday, regarding face masks, a motion to make them mandatory in public places (where social distancing cannot be done) was defeated 3-2, but a motion passed that recommends them, following the CDC requirements regarding face coverings. Those details were posted on www.MySanibel last night.

Things in Florida seem to be moving at a steady pace in the Full Phase One Reopening with places like gyms and fitness centers opening back up, and more people going into restaurants and stores. The latest breaking news was the Governor’s announcement that he will be lifting all restrictions on youth activities such as summer camps and youth sports. Hopefully, this will begin to provide some relief to both parents and kids as everyone settles into a new normal. The last day for Lee County Schools is right around the corner, June 3.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 15-22, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sanibel Siesta #302 2/2 $699K, Sandpiper Beach #202 2/2 $789K, Yacht Haven #4 3/2 $895K, Sayana #103 2/2 $948.5K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 listed at $353K, Blind Pass #B205 2/2.5 listed at $469K, Sand Pointe #131 2/2 listed at $729K.

3 closed sales: Sandy Bend #7 2/2 $790K, Gulfside Place #221 2/2 $1.05M, Cyprina Beach #1 3/3 $1.36M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1170 Buttonwood Ln 4/2 $899K.

6 price changes: 1567 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 now $670K, 701 Nerita St 3/2 now $698K, 1031 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 now $699K, 1978 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $719K, 1285 Par View Dr 4/2.5 now $789K, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 now $3.095M.

10 new sales: 1667 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/1.5 listed at $439K, 954 Donax St 3/3 listed at $525K, 1339 Tahiti Dr 3/2 duplex listed at $525K, 1826 Ardsley Way 4/3 listed at $625K, 1021 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $694.5K, 1828 Farm Trl 3/2 listed at $695K, 1271 Par View Dr 3/3 listed at $899K, 2154 Starfish Ln 3/3 listed at $1.399M, 6071 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 5/4.5 listed at $1.75M, 5044 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 listed at $2.15M.

2 closed sales: 730 Cardium St 2/2 $491.5K, 5842 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $925K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

3 new sales: 6411 Pine Ave listed at $329K, 6419 Pine Ave listed at $889K, 6053 Sanibel-Captiva Rd listed at $1.195M.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Seabreeze #1253 3/3 now $1.545M.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2227 1/1 listed at $539K.

1 closed sale: Captiva Shores #8B 3/2.5 $1.125M.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 13500 Palmflower Ln 4/4 listed at $2.695M.

1 closed sale: 11542 Wightman Ln 5/5 $3.08M.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.

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.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

Rain is expected here on Monday, but we need it & afternoon showers will soon be our norm.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Yes, You Can Buy Now… We Are Working & Ready to Help


It is another quiet Friday at SanibelSusan Realty. The islands continue to reopen slowly with the toll booths still unmanned and the causeway islands sometimes packed, particularly on the weekend. (A sure sign that the gulf waters are clear and sparkling, and they are!)
SanibelSusan Realty is one of the few real estate offices physically open, but not much is happening. Yesterday, we got a couple of showing requests for the upcoming weekend/week and there has been some action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System. It is still an excellent time to buy!
The Association of Realtors® office remains closed, but many Realtors® have accepted the FISH Food Challenge and have donated groceries to their food pantry. Nearly 20 have donated just in the last week and the pantry continues to go through the food like crazy. Astounding but not surprising that there are so many hungry folks on the islands, with so many businesses closed, particularly those that cater to vacationers.
Below is an update on re-opening progress, after which is the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System.

Latest City Proclamation Due to the Threat of COVID-19

Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council meeting, scheduled to discuss beach parking and short-term rentals/hotels, turned into a 6+hour event with plenty of public comment and differences of opinions on many items discussed. That meeting resulted in a new City proclamation dated Wednesday. There has been a lot of confusion about the changes, particularly as they apply to vacation rentals, so below, for clarification, are some excerpts from the actual Proclamation No. 20-028  (which may be read in its entirety on www.MySanibel.com).
“…on May 12,2020, the City Council met for a special set public meeting to discuss COVID-19, including consideration of temporary restrictions and prohibitions related to the declared State of Local Emergency; and … City Council voted in support of taking certain actions to reopen the local economy on a gradual basis and consistent with the Governor’s phased approach, including the following:
A. Allowing the current restrictions on accommodations rentals to expire, subject to emplacing a lessened restriction on vacation rentals which closely follows the Governor’s restriction… and allowing new rentals at hotels, motels, and timeshares under restricted occupancy and conditions intended to mitigate any community spread of COVID-19; and
B. Extending certain public beach parking restrictions for an additional duration; and
C. Strongly encouraging the wearing of face masks by employees of places of public accommodations and by all members of the public who cannot properly socially distance; and
D. Raising parking fines to $200, is a result of the significant volume of parking violations particularly in and around beach access points.”
As further clarification, the proclamation says:
SECTION 2. Temporary restrictions on accommodation rentals at hotels, motels, and timeshares. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020, the “public lodging establishments” identified in Attachment A…, which include all 37 “hotels”, “motels”, and “timeshare projects” on Sanibel … are subject to the following temporary restrictions, which shall remain in temporary effect until modified or terminated by written Proclamation of the Mayor or by Resolution of City Council:
A. Occupancy is limited to 50% of the units within the public lodging establishment; and
B. No reservations or check-ins are permitted from anyone that resides in or is travelling from an area identified by the Governor of Florida to be a “hot spot” of substantial community spread of COVID-19, including Louisiana, the New York Tri-State rea (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York), Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Broward County, Florida; and
C. All places of public accommodation are strongly encouraged to follow the guidelines set forth by the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, which can be found under SANCAP SAFE RESOURCES at https://members.canibel-captiva.org/; and
D. Notwithstanding the aforementioned restrictions nothing in this section restricts or otherwise affects the ability of the owner of a rental unit from personally staying at his or her own property.
SECTION 3. Temporary restrictions on accommodations rentals at vacation rentals. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020, the “public lodging establishments” on Sanibel which are “vacation rentals”,… but not including the hotels, motels, and timeshare projects…, are subject to a temporary rental restriction of a minimum duration of 30 days, which shall remain in temporary effect until modified or terminated by written Proclamation of the Mayor or by Resolution of City Council. For the purposes of this section, the rental restriction is application to anyone who is not an owner of the unit. Notwithstanding the aforementioned restriction, nothing in this section affects the ability of the owner of a rental unit from personally staying at his or her own property.
SECTION 4. Paid public beach parking restrictions. The paid public beach parking restrictions currently in place as extended by … which … are due to expire on May 15, 2020 are hereby extended to May 31, 2020 after which such restrictions will expire and public beach parking will reopen.
“SECTION 5. Wearing of face masks. Effective immediately, and until further notice, the wearing of face masks by all employees of retail shops, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation who interact with members of the public, as well as by all people in any public area where social distancing is not feasible or otherwise occurring is strongly encouraged.
SECTION 6. Parking fines. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020 fines for all parking violations are temporarily raised to $200.00…..”
So, in a nutshell, short-term vacation rentals including those in residential communities, condo complexes or resorts, not included on the 37-property list (of hotels, motels, and timeshares) cannot rent for a period of less than 30 days. This is in accordance with the Governor’s phased reopening and more related to how properties are defined by Florida Statute/Florida Department of Revenue classification, than by any desire to penalize rentals which typically are nightly, weekly, or biweekly.
The Proclamation may change as more state and county guidance is provided and new COVID-19 data evolves. The changes/restrictions are emergency measures taken to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the community.
The number of Sanibel’s reported cases remains low at 11, but testing remains limited and the antibody test is not expected here until next week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis Readying Most of State to Enter Phase Two Reopening

An internet posting yesterday said that Jacksonville could host Friday’s official announcement by the Governor. When he addressed reporters in Doral yesterday, he said that a “good announcement” was coming Friday that would apply to most of the state. This announcement came just hours after Tampa Bay Times reporter Lawrence Mower tweeted a Florida Chamber email saying to expect a May 18 entrance into Phase Two. The Governor disclaimed any advance announcement in response to reporters’ questions, claiming to “march to the beat of [his] own drummer.”
In Phase Two, people from vulnerable populations would still be asked to self-isolate, groups of up to 50 would be permitted, albeit with social distancing still in play. Phase Two would also allow increased restaurant capacity, as well as the reopening of gyms, schools, and bars with social distancing and diminished occupancy. The Governor stressed these are modest changes.
Though South Florida may still be on a slower path, the Governor noted that Florida is a “diverse state,” and he won’t “sit here rolling back the entire state if there’s an outbreak in Hialeah.”

Is Real Estate America’s Rock During the Coronavirus Crisis?

This week was the National Association of Realtors® 2020 Legislative Meetings in Washington DC. This annual event usually brings Realtor® leaders from around the nation to the capitol. With COVID-19 interrupting those plans this year, committee meetings and conference sessions were held virtually.
This event also is when Realtors® who have achieved National Hall of Fame status are recognized. That also were done virtually. Congratulations to Florida’s 17 new Hall of Fame members. That boosts our state members in 2019 to 106. I am proud to be one of them. (I know my picture is old… I made the club for the first time in 2016.)
Below is an article written by Shannon McGahn. She is senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of REALTORS®.
“It’s been a rough few months for the economy, and we could all use a little good news.
“For America’s 81 million homeowners, here is some: While retirement accounts and the stock market may have cratered, home values are hanging tough.
“The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was up 8% from March 2019 as prices increased in every region.
“And with a proper recovery and the right policies, there is a great chance that home values will remain fairly stable even as home sales temporarily fall while Americans shelter-in-place.
“The pandemic also hasn’t stopped real estate transactions outright like in many other sectors. A recent survey of NAR members found that one-quarter of REALTORS® had at least one client go under contract during the second week of April without physically seeing the property. Deals are proceeding with the growing use of new technology like remote notarization.
“Even those pausing their real estate transactions still plan to buy and sell once again within a few months.
“What’s more, NAR research unveiled earlier this year found that, since 2013, the median family net worth for all homeowners has increased by nearly 15%.
“Data from the study strongly suggests that “sustainable and affordable homeownership” remains the best opportunity “most households will ever have to improve their long-term net worth and financial security.”
“Property ownership is turning into a financial rock for many Americans during this crisis, and Congress has gone to great strides to help protect that investment.
“For those who can no longer pay their mortgage, new forbearance rules allow them to put off payments for up to a year without impacting their credit.
“Helping people struggling with rent and mortgage payments is a good thing, but we also do not want to spur another crisis down the line for property managers and owners who do not have relief from their obligations. Policymakers should take a comprehensive look and beware of unintended consequences.
“For REALTORS® who have seen a dramatic drop in their business (right as the crucial spring buying season arrived), new benefits like forgivable small business loans and unemployment assistance not normally available to the self-employed or independent contractors are helping them weather the storm.
“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) fund were created so quickly that banks had a hard time keeping up with demand. Money ran out for the PPP in two weeks, and another round of replenishment sped through the legislative process. PPP and EIDL grants got billions more in funding and will help keep millions more employed. Congress deserves credit for responding in a bipartisan and lightning-fast way even if the rollout of those programs was less than perfect.
“We’ve heard from many REALTORS® around the country who have secured PPP loans and saved scores of jobs. People like Anthony Lamacchia of Waltham, Mass., who reports he can now keep all 47 of his employees on the payroll.
“The strength of the housing sector will be critical to our national recovery. After all, the real estate industry makes up nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and every two houses sold creates one American job.
“America has been experiencing a housing shortage for years as demand for homes has consistently outpaced supply in most major U.S. markets. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has stated his expectation that, once we get through the worst of this crisis, housing demand will reemerge quickly. Our economic recovery won’t be a slow-build like what followed the 2008 financial crisis.
“America’s financial and lending systems look vastly different today than they did before the Great Recession shook America’s economic core. Changes to strengthen lending standards and eliminate loose credit have pushed default and foreclosure rates toward record lows.
“It has never been more clear that property ownership is still one of the best and safest investments an American family can make.
“Economic downturns and public health crises—no matter how severe—will never change this fundamental fact.
“But what has become even more apparent is that during this crisis, home has become more important than ever.
If Congress continues to be a champion of the American people and protect homeownership, by all indicators, real estate can and will help get our economy going again.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 8-15, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS
3 new listings: Island Beach Club #320B 2/2 $685K, Pointe Santo #D24 2/2 $720K, Kings Crown #306 2/2 $868.5K.
5 price changes: Colonnades #3 1/1 now $265K, Sanibel Arms #D7 1/1 now $357.9K, Blind Pass #B209 2/2 now $479K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 now $539K, Tantara #203 3/2 now $1.095M.
1 new sale: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-3 3/3 listed at $914.5K.
3 closed sales: Sundial #D310 1/1 $372K, Sundial #B308 1/1 $505K, High Tide #A101 2/2 $1.075M.
HOMES
1 new listing: 2154 Starfish Ln 3/3 $1.495M.
3 price changes: 566 Boulder Dr 3/2 now $689.9K, 1021 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $694.5K, 215 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $839K.
4 new sales: 1677 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/1.5 listed at $399.9K, 857 Rabbit Rd 1/1 listed at $489K, 2065 Wild Lime Dr 3/2.5 listed at $599K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $659K.
1 closed sale: 1898 Woodring Rd 2/2 $1.7M.
LOTS
1 new listing: 690 Birdie View Pt $369K.
1 price change: 1313 Par View Dr now $300K.
1 new sale: 1226 Isabel Dr listed at $1.239M.
No closed sales.
Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
1 price change: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2.5 now $1.425M.
1 new sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #1B 2/2 listed at $889K.
No closed sales.
HOMES
1 new listing: 15138 Wiles Dr 6/5.5 $6.495M.
1 price change: 15200 Captiva Dr 2/2 now $988K.
2 new sales: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 listed at $2.695M, 16221/16217 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 listed at $4.389M.
No closed sales.
LOTS
No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.
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.
Below is our “Island Sun” ad from today’s paper.
Enjoy your weekend!
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

When The Goin’ Gets Tough, The Tough Stay Calm


It has been a pretty quiet week at SanibelSusan Realty. I only kept the office open until mid-afternoon on Saturday. Without the phone ringing even once, at 2:30 p.m. I called the only other island real estate office open and found that they were not getting calls either. So, I made the executive decision to close and go get my nails done.

Then, while manning the office solo on Monday, I cleaned out some old files and came across the below “Guide to Deciphering Showing Feedback”.

What the agent SAYS What the agent MEANS
The buyer thought the property was too small. The buyer found larger properties for the same price.
They liked the property but bought another. The buyer found other properties that were better values.
They liked the property but bought a new one. Buyers generally will pay 10-15% more for a new or updated property making it difficult to compete.
They didn’t like the old carpet. The seller should consider replacing the carpet.
They thought the yard was too small, the street too busy. They found other homes with larger years, quieter streets for the same price.
The property needs some work. The seller may need to make minor repairs or neutralize paint or reduce the price accordingly.
They didn’t like the floor plan. Hard to overcome this objection.

The lesson here is that price objections often come cloaked in different terms. If you are selling, listen carefully to feedback and make your adjustments swiftly. Your ULTIMATE GOAL is to be the very best property in your price range.

At SanibelSusan Realty

The rest of the week, Elise and I have both been in the office, but the inquiries have been few. Her weekly report of the action on the local MLS is after a few news items below.

Though our office has remained open, our phones have rung just a few times. The local Association of Realtors® is closed and their events and in-person meetings are cancelled for the next few weeks.

Most island organizations and non-profits also are closed, while the FISH Food Pantry remains open and their meal deliveries continue. It is a good time to clean out your pantry and bring them some non-expired non-perishable items. Soon, FISH will be preparing Easter baskets for needy children, family dinners, and elderly shut-ins. If you do not have food goods to donate, they happily accept monetary donations, Easter candy, coloring books, crayons, and grocery store gift cards.

Time to Get Moving

A favorite author, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, had the following article in the March/April 2020 “REALTOR®” magazine: “Resistance to change is keeping some consumers from finding homes.

“There’s no such thing as lifetime employment in America. People change jobs. Businesses are created and destroyed. New technology, more efficient ways of doing things, changes in consumer taste – these are the stuff of life.

“Even with the current unemployment rate at 3.5%, a 50-year low, about 5.6 million workers stopped working for their latest employer last December alone. Some were fired or let go, while others left in the hope of moving on to something better. In fact, during the same month, 5.8 million workers started with a new employer. The 200,000 difference, in this example, is what’s reported as the headline for monthly net job creation. Miraculously, this thin margin between job gains and job losses has been consistently positive over the past decade, which is the reason for the cumulative gain of 20 million net new jobs since the Great Recession.

“Despite the apparent dynamism in the job market, people are not likely to change their current residence. The mobility rate is at a historic low of 9.8% annually. By comparison, 20% of Americans moved to a different home in any given year throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s.

“One reason people are staying put is the upsurge in two-earner households, which complicates relocations. Still, Americans should get moving again. Behavioral studies suggest that leaving one’s comfort zone may help people do better economically and enjoy life more fully. I’d like to see a boost in people’s standard of living not from a 3% pay raise but in a bigger way. If people move from expensive regions of the country to more affordable ones, their opportunity to own a home increases greatly.

“Some consumers have gotten the message. That’s why metro areas like Austin, Denver, and Nashville have been booming as residents from higher-cost areas arrive. But these same cities are seeing slower job gains as they become less affordable. An adequate supply of new homes is needed to accommodate the new population. Clients looking for a bigger bang for their housing dollar should consider Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC; Columbus, OH; or Las Vegas. It’s time to end the inertia.

MLS Games People Play

Here’s another interesting article from the latest “REALTOR®” magazine. Author is Graham Wood. I am sure that some of you have seen some of the listings mentioned in his write-up. The SanibelSusan Team doesn’t play these MLS games.

“David Weldon empathized with his client’s growing desperation to sell her home, a 3-bedroom house in South California’s Riverside County. But he was uncomfortable about her suggestion for boosting the listing’s appeal. The seller listed the home with Weldon last July at a list price of $600,000. After nearly 70 days on the market, the property hadn’t received an offer she would accept. She also was under contract to purchase another property contingent on the sale of her home, which added to the pressure. The seller asked Weldon, a broker-associate at ReMax One in Moreno Valley, CA, to take steps that sounded to him like “gaming the MLS” to draw more eyes to her listing and get it sold faster.

“She had learned from another agent in a prior transaction that there are ways to manipulate MLS data to the seller’s advantage. Loopholes in many MLS systems make it possible for real estate professionals to reset a property’s recorded days on market – making a listing appear newer than it is – or surface a home on an MLS’s “hot sheets” with, say, a $100 reduction in list price. While these practices can help raise the visibility of listings in the MLS, they’re also deceptive marketing techniques that have the effect of skewing real-time MLS data – a problem the real estate industry is working to solve – and cast a poor light on agent professionalism.

“”The MLS platform is not the tool to refresh a listing,” says Rene Galicia, director of MLS engagement at the National Association of REALTORS®. “You’re not treating the underlying issue – perhaps you need to revisit your pricing strategy, for example – if you’re relying on gaming the system to get action on your listing.”

“Weldon says it’s not uncommon for agents in his market to inappropriately cancel and resubmit a listing to the MLS with an inconsequential edit to the property address – such as changing “Street” to “St” – which resets days on market in the system. That’s the type of action his seller was requesting.

“”There’s no way to do what the seller was asking me to do that I’m comfortable with,” Weldon says. “I said, “You want me to cancel the contract and start over after I’ve put a considerable amount of time marketing your property.” When his client was unrelenting, Weldon decided to end his professional relationship with her. The seller relisted with another agent, and as of mid-January, the property had been on the market for 106 days – more than a month longer than Weldon had the home listed.

“While not necessarily a violation of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, these types of tactics may “work against the duty of honesty in Article 1, and the “true picture” mandate for all advertising, marketing, and other representations in Article 12,” says Rodney Gansha, NAR’s director of engagement and staff executive to the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee.

“Not all practitioners see it that way, though. “In some markets, people consider these practices to be wrong, while in other markets, it’s tolerated,” Gansho says. “Most agents can look up a property’s history to see exactly what’s changed or when it was first put on the market, so gaming the MLS is a limited strategy anyway.”

“Galicia takes particular exception to the idea of lowering a listing price by a minuscule amount to boost its standing on MLS hot sheets. “Most MLS technology will display the dollar amount of the price reduction, and savvy consumers can see that a $100 price drop is not a legitimate strategy,” he says. “If a listing shows up on a hot sheet all the time, that could be a sign of data manipulation rather than true changes to the terms of the listing itself.”

“Such a pricing strategy also could damage your reputation with other agents who find it offensive and could ultimately hurt your ability to find a buyer. “I’ve seen properties reduced by $1,” says Dan Halperin, GRI, an agent with Gagliardo Realty Associates in River Forest, IL. “It’s such a waste of everybody’s time. It irritates clients, and it doesn’t leave a good impression on the public.” Halperin adds that many of his buyers feel an urgency to be among the first to visit a new listing, so he keeps a watchful eye on turnover in the MLS. “I want to be able to tell my clients whether it’s been listed six times or had several price drops in the past,” he says. “I want them to know when it’s not the hot property they think it is.”

“So what’s a smarter approach? Instead of resorting to MLS gaming tactics, focus on professional listing photos from the start and adding virtual home tours and floor plans to listings in order to refresh them, Galicia recommends. Gansho encourages agents to revamp listing descriptions as a way to capture interest from people who may have previously overlooked your listing. These changes won’t appear on an MLS hot sheet, but sharper marketing may get buyers to pay closer attention.

“Heather Embrey, CRS, GRI, a sales associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Premier in Falls Church, VA, says she recently sold a 4-bedroom 2-bath listing, which had lingered on the market for 60 days, after updating the listing photos. Embrey’s seller was initially hesitant about staging the home, but when the sale stalled, the client agreed to change furnishings and add carpeting to neutralize the space.

“The new photos of the staged property enticed a buyer who previously viewed the home to give it a second look. The buyer ended up purchasing the home for the $499,500 list price. “In my office, they jokingly call me the compliance queen because I very much follow the rules,” Embrey says. “I’m not trying to reset days on market, I don’t change the address, and I don’t try and make it look like a new listing. There are too many other tools at my disposal for me to have to do that.”

The Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate World

Adding SanibelSusan’s 2-cents worth to the above article: On the islands, there are some who end a stale listing and relist to make a property look like it is new to the market. That is not fooling anybody. Even Zillow sees through that.

Sanibel/Captiva’s real estate market is quite seasonal and easily affected by changes in the weather, the economy, and world events. Being mostly a resort and 2nd-home market, purchases often are made with discretionary income. That all equates to our market being UNLIKE the norm. It often takes longer to sell a property here unless it is one that is in demand at that time of the year or has special features setting it apart from its competition.

The best way to get a Sanibel/Captiva property sold remains listing with a top local agent in a reputable island brokerage, pricing right (and just under a $100K-price increment), solid continual ever-changing marketing with broad internet exposure and professional photography/streaming videos, honest reliable property details (Florida is a full-disclosure state), easy showing instructions, and good legal signage.

Today, there are 227 Realtor® members at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®. I always want to be one of the top producers, though my goal is not necessarily to sell the most, but to provide the best service. Looking at Sanibel closed sales year-after-year, my position has lingered at #8 or #9, which makes me happy. I like being in the “top 10”.

It was a surprise to check and see that I am in 6th place based on the last 12 months of closed Sanibel sales. Probably more surprising is that of all these 200-some agents, over the last 12 months, only 60 sold more than one property and 29 sold only one. That means, that way more than half the membership had no sales. Real estate has always been a business where a small percentage of agents make most of the sales, but Sanibel and Captiva take those numbers to the extreme.

We also probably have the only grocery stores on the planet that remain fully equipped. No shortage of toilet paper and paper towels here, plus sunshiny blue skies, clear water, and very little traffic, except on the bike paths.

Be well, stay calm, fingers crossed that we soon are on the other side of the virus and its impacts.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 13-20, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Captains Walk #E8 2/1.5 $395K, Blind Pass #B209 2/2 $494K, Coquina Beach #2B 2/2 $529K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 $599K.

8 price changes: Sundial #C301 1/1 now $464.9K, Sanibel Arms West #B2 2/2 now $534.9K, Loggerhead Cay #222 2/2 now $610K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-4 3/3 now $799K, Sandalfoot #1C1 2/2 now $799K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-1 3/3 now $899K, Tarpon Beach #207 2/2 now $999K (our listing) (photos below – taking a walk the gulf from Tarpon Beach), Sundial #K402 2/2 now $1.1499M.

5 new sales: Captains Walk #C3 1/1 listed at $279K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 listed at $548.5K, Sanibel Arms West #H5 2/2 listed at $549K, Sundial #L404 2/2 listed at $1.35M, Tigua Cay #485 3/3.5 listed at $2.195M.

4 closed sales: Tennisplace #B24 2/1.5 $339K, Sunset South #2C 2/2 $555K, Sand Pointe #212 2/2 $725K, Gulfside Place #214 2/2 $1.2M.

HOMES

4 new listings: 954 Donax St 3/3 $525K, 2480 Library Way 2/2.5 $649K, 690 Durion Ct 3/2 $725K, 5419 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.095M.

3 price changes: 968 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex now $399K (our listing), 1339 Tahiti Dr 3/2 duplex now $525K, 730 Cardium St 2/2 now $539K.

968 Greenwood Ct S highlighted – looking toward the lighthouse & the mainland, gulf & bay!

9 new sales: 1856 Ardsley Way 3/2 listed at $499K; 1813 Farm Trl 3/2 listed at $629K; 760 Cardium St 3/2 listed at $649K; 1567 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $685K; 701 Nerita St 3/2 listed at $712K; 1676 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $799,999; 4739 Ruelle 4/3 listed at $995K; 1490 Angel Dr 4/3.5 listed at $1.695M; 500 Sawgrass Pl 8/8/3 listed at $2.65M.

2 closed sales: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $698K, 675 Gopher Walk Way 3/2.5 $1.17M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1303 par View Dr now $314K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 4538 Bowen Bayou Rd $190K.

Captiva

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Just Another Happy Friday at SanibelSusan Realty


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that it is great to be back from Orlando to the warmth of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. How spoiled one becomes, especially in the winter, living in this tropical paradise. Like in past years, the Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings ended with an uptick in real estate action at home.

With the arrival of February visitors this weekend, there is expected to be a big turnover tomorrow of not just vacation condos but also Sanibel seasonal-rental homes. Rental managers and hotels report few, if any vacancies, next month, so we also expect busy weeks ahead. A report of all that happened this week in the islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

Lee County County Commissioner Approve Funding for Santiva Beach Erosion Project

At its January 21 Lee County Board of County Commissioners meeting, following recommendation from the Lee County Tourist Development Council, commissioners voted to approve funds for the entire cost of Sanibel’s emergency shore protection project along the north end of Sanibel-Captiva Road. The nearly $1.4 million funding request will use money from Tourist Development Tax reserve funds to protect against continued erosion south of Blind Pass in a critical erosion area.

Temporary protective measures were approved by Sanibel City Council in December and already are in place and working. This new permanent project went out for bid in early January, with this work expected to begin in early March and be completed by the start of turtle nesting season, May 1.

Two Florida Destinations Were Named on the 50 Most Beautiful Places in The World List

Posted on January 28 on www.OnlyInYourState.com in an article by Marisa Roman:

“Florida sure does have some breathtaking natural beauty. While it’s true that many visitors to Florida come for the magic of Orlando, or the sunny beaches of Miami, there are a few other hidden pockets of beauty that are a must-see. Recently, U.S. News Travel revealed their list of the 50 Most Beautiful Places In The World, and it’s no surprise that Florida has not one, but TWO islands that made the cut.

“According to U.S. News Travel, both Sanibel Island and Captiva Island made the list as two of the 50 most beautiful places in the world, and we couldn’t agree more. The two stunning islands are right off the coast of Florida but taking a trip to these gems can end up being the perfect tropical vacation.

“Together, Sanibel and Captiva have around 15 miles of stunning sandy beaches, plus there are no stoplights which makes any visit feel more like a secluded paradise. There are so many different ways to enjoy these islands, from collecting seashells to snorkeling to walking the shoreline with family. Sanibel Island is known for having the best seashell beach in America, with a variety of seashells in all different shapes, sizes, and color.

While Captiva has been known to have some crisp, clear views of the Milky Way from time-to-time.

“While the two islands in Florida may look like they are one giant area, each island has its own set of restaurants, beaches, and activities to partake in. But regardless of which island you choose to visit, you are likely going to get stunning sunsets and tropical vibes no matter what. Visit Sanibel Island & Captiva Island in Florida and see for yourself why they made the list for most beautiful places in the world.

“Have you ever been to either of these islands in Florida before? Share with us your experience in the comments section! Or if you’re looking for more reason as to why Sanibel Island is an absolute must-visit, then check out why it’s the best place in America to hunt for seashells.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service

Though attendance was average at the Association’s weekly caravan meeting yesterday, only a few new sales were announced. Earlier in the week, our MLS Director posted the below graphics of the islands’ 4th quarter 2019 sales statistics.

Island inventory today is plentiful. On Sanibel, there are more condos for sale than sold last year and about a year’s worth of home inventory. Though build-out is looming, there are 75 residential lots for sale on Sanibel, compared to 15 sales last year.

On Captiva, 40 condos, 43 homes, and 5 lots are for sale. Those numbers compare to 29 condos, 17 homes, and just 1 lot sold in all of 2019.

So, for prudent buyers there are plenty of choices. Our hope is that election year politics and water quality worries don’t prevent winter prospects from purchasing. Today, the water remains beautiful with no red tide reported anywhere in Florida. (Photo below taken yesterday (January 30, 2020) by Jim Szabo with SanCap Aerial Photography.)

Some ‘Luxury’ Home Features Becoming ‘Standard’

Posted this week on-line at FloridaRealtors®:

“Builders say some the home elements that were considered upgrades only a few years ago are a standard element of most new home construction today – items such as laundry rooms, walk-in master closets and low-emissivity (low-e) windows.

“LAS VEGAS – First-time and repeat buyers say they’d rather have a smaller home with high-quality amenities than a bigger property with fewer such features, according to a survey the National Association of Home Builders released during the International Builders’ Show last week in Las Vegas.

“NAHB’s report, titled “What Home Buyers Really Want,” identified the following features as being most desired by both segments of buyers.

  • Laundry rooms
  • Energy Star–rated windows
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Patios
  • Ceiling fans
  • Kitchen double sink

“Builders report that designers are including flexible spaces that add greater functionality to laundry rooms. They’re also creating more outdoor spaces to seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor living. The survey also uncovered the most likely features that single-family homebuilders say is becoming standard in most new homes built today, including

  • walk-in master closets
  • low-emissivity (low-e) window
  • laundry rooms

“Builders say they’re also more likely to add energy efficient features, such as lighting, programmable thermostats and Energy Star-rated appliances.

“The open design concept, along with great rooms and 9-plus-foot ceilings on the first floor, is also becoming common in newly built homes, the survey finds.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 24-31, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #A3 2/2 $548.5K, Sanibel Arms West #H6 2/2 $549K, Sanibel Arms West #B4 2/2 $559K, Lighthouse Point #111 2/2 $645K, Pointe Santo #C2 2/2 $765K, Gulfside Place #214 2/2 $1.32M, High Tide #B302 3/2 $2.495M.

7 price changes: Spanish Cay #F8 2/2 now $379K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 now $548.5K, Loggerhead Cay #324 2/2 now $569K, Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 now $570K, Compass Point #222 2/2 now $669K, Island Beach Club #220B 2/2 now $700K, Sundial #K402 2/2 now $1.1699M.

4 new sales: Mariner Pointe #731 2/2 listed at $539K (our buyer), Lighthouse Point #114 3/2 listed at $679K, Signal Inn #18 3/2 listed at $1.175M, La Playa #B1 3/2 listed at $1.299M.

2 closed sales: Sundial #C204 1/1 $460K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #2-5 2/2.5 $683K.

HOMES

9 new listings: 499 Peachtree Rd 2/2 $474K, 970 Palm St 3/2 $569K, 500 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $759.9K, 9421 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $799K, 1199 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $999K, 9019 Mockingbird Dr 4/4 $1.325M, 3851 Coquina Dr 3/2.5 $1.389M, 769 Pyrula Ave 3/3.5 $1.395M, 418 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.195M.

13 price changes: 9195 Dimmick Dr 2/2 now $419K, 1356 Jamaica Dr 2/1.5 now $549K, 730 Cardium St 2/2 now $564K, 743 Windlass Way 3/2 now $599K, 433 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $599K, 1717 Sand Pebble way 3/2 now $619K, 1978 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $732.5K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 4/3 now $799K, 1285 Par View Dr 4/2.5 now $849.5K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $975K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $997.5K, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 now $1.995M (our listing), 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 now $2.749M.

Mama & baby dolphin in the canal at 842 Limpet Dr

8 new sales: 5745 Pine Tree Dr 2/1 listed at $498K, 1925 Roseate Ln 2/2 listed at $639K, 5672 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 listed at $715K, 335 Cowry Ct 4/3.5 listed at $799.9K, 1056 S.Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed at $879K, 911 S.Yachtsman Dr 3/3 listed at $1.195M, 2857 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed at $1.199M, 3757 West Gulf Dr 4/4 listed at $6.499M.

2 closed sales: 1611 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $469K, 982 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 $1M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 9042 Mockingbird Dr $395K.

1 price change: 2372 Wulfert Rd now $148K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 2510 Coconut Dr $668,666.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Tennis Villas #3119 1/1 now $294K, Lands End Village #1667 2/2 now $1.184M, Beach Homes #25 3/2 now $1.995M.

1 new sale: Beach Cottages #1404 2/2 listed at $1.245M.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 $630K.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $998K, 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 now $2.189M, 1124 Longifolia Ct 4/5 now $2.988M.

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 Superbowl favorite be a winner, & your February bright!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s Another Sunny Friday at SanibelSusan Realty


It’s another happy Friday, time for SanibelSusan’s weekly island report. After an overcast chilly weekend, those who complained that summer weather dragged on too long this year, were suddenly surprised with a day that didn’t get out of the 60’s (that was Sunday). Thankfully, the sun came out Monday morning as it warmed up to 71. Daytime temperatures stayed in the 70’s much of the week, which is below the islands’ November average which is 80 degrees F. Temperatures are expected to be back to the norm next week for the holiday, with Thanksgiving Day currently forecast to be a sunny 82 degrees F.

When the sun is out, the roads and bike paths continue to fill up with visitors. For those asking about upcoming holiday events and where they can get their Thanksgiving dinner, below is that info, followed by a couple of news items and a report of the action since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

The SanibelSusan Team wishes you a wonderful Thanksgiving! Business is good. We are thankful for that and also ready for anyone looking for real estate here next week. The only day the office is officially closed is Thursday.

Upcoming Events

  • 18th Annual Community Thanksgiving Celebration – Sunday, Nov 24 at 6:30 p.m. at The Community House, with island-wide representation. Open to all, with food and monetary donations to benefit. F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva. Program participants will include representatives from local churches, City government, and BIG ARTS Community Chorus singers. See you there!
  • ‘Tween Waters Annual Tree Lighting Celebration – next Friday, Nov 29, from noon until 8 p.m.

Where On-Island to Dine or Get Fixin’s on Thanksgiving Day

The Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce posts a list of establishments that are open and closed on Thanksgiving Day. Rather than provide the long list including those closed, below is their list abbreviated with just those open on Thanksgiving.

BUSINESS OPEN/CLOSED COMMENTS PHONE
Bailey’s General Store 7 am -12 pm (239) 472 1516
Bleu Rendez Vous French Bistro 5 – 8 pm Reservations only (239) 565 1608
Bubble Room 11:30 am – 3 pm

& 4:30 pm – 8 pm

Recommend Reservations (239) 472 5558
Captiva House 12 – 8 pm Buffet, reservations only (239) 472 5161 (#4)
Crow’s Nest 4 – 8 pm (239) 472 5161 (#4)
Dairy Queen 11 am – 8 pm (239) 472 1170
Dante’s Pizza 5 – 10 pm (239) 558 4429
Doc Ford’s – Captiva 11 am -10 pm (239) 312 4275
George & Wendy’s Seafood Grille 5 – 10 pm (239) 395 1263
Geppetto’s 8 am -10 pm (239) 472 6566
Gramma Dot’s 11:15 am – 8 pm (239) 472 8138
Huxter’s Market & Deli 6:30 am – 10 pm (239) 472 6988
Island Cow 7 am – 8 pm (239) 472 0606
Jerry’s Food Store 6 am – 3 pm (239) 472 9300
Jerry’s Restaurant 6 am – 12 pm (239) 472 9300
Keylime Bistro 8 am – 10 pm (239) 395 4000
Lighthouse Cafe 7 am – 2 pm (239) 472 0303
Normandie (West Wind Inn) 8 am – 2:30 pm &

4:30 pm – 7 pm

(239) 472 1541
Pecking Order Order pick up til noon (239) 472 2534
Pinocchio’s Ice Cream 8 am – 10 pm (239) 472 6566
RC Otter’s 8 am – 6 pm (239) 395 1142
Sand Dollar 8 – 11 am & 5 – 10 pm Buffet 8-11, Dinner 5-10 (239) 395 4101
Sanibel Cafe 7 am – 2 pm (239) 472 5323
Sanibel Grill 4 – 10 pm (239) 472 3128
Schnapper’s 11 am – 4 pm (239) 472 8686
Sea Breeze Cafe 7 – 11 am (239) 395 6017
Sunshine Seafood Cafe 4 – 9 pm (239) 472 6200
Thistle Lodge 11 am – 7 pm Buffet, Reservations (239) 472 9200
Timbers 4 – 8 pm (239) 472 3128
Traditions (Island Inn) 4 – 9 pm (239) 472 4559

 

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® November Membership Meeting

At the local Association of Realtors® monthly breakfast meeting yesterday, breakfast sponsor, J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, Executive Director Birgie Miller told us about the recent National Fish and Wildlife Foundation award of a $5.309-million grant to the Refuge for restoring their newly-acquired 68-acre Wulfert Bayous area. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge partnered with them for a grant from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to restore bird population affected by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Grant monies will enhance this wetland habitat for roosting and nesting birds to attract species impacted by the spill, including roseate spoonbills, white ibises, brown pelicans, wood storks, and many egret/heron species.

Event speaker was Phillip G. Flood, Jr, Principal Regional Representative at the South Florida Water Management District. He updated us on the many water restoration projects underway in an area known as one of the world’s largest water management systems. It spans 16 counties, 18,000 square miles, with 8.1 million residents, 2,100 miles of canals, 2,100 miles of levees and berms, 600 water control structures, 625 project culverts, 70 pump stations, and 3,500 hydrological monitoring stations. With 23 multi-year projects underway, it may be several years before significant results are noticed here. The C-43 storage reservoir project is one of the projects closest to the islands. It is spread over 10,500 acres and divided into two reservoir cells and two pump stations. Though he complimented Sanibel for being proactive with its efforts to prevent pollution and overdevelopment, he acknowledged that the rest of the state needs to follow suit.

During the Caravan announcement segment of the meeting, only a handful of new sales and price reductions were mentioned. It’s the time of the year when the norm is more new listings. Our new listing at Lighthouse Point #211 was open for the Open House caravan that followed. (Some Lighthouse Point photos below.)

Gene’s Books

A couple of years ago, when Gene, from Gene’s Books was looking for a spot for a second store, it was teammate Dave that helped make it happen. Now both of Gene’s stores are open, the original at 2365 Periwinkle opposite Palm Ridge Rd and the new one, up and across the street at 2422 Periwinkle Way (formerly a shell shop). Book aficionados love Gene and his stores. Many a client has said, “if you need a book, Gene will find it.” Nice to see him recognized in the below article posted last week, Nov 13, 2019, at “Forbes” on-line by Travel Contributor Wendy Altschuler:

“Here Are The Best Bookshops In America For Bibliophiles – If you’ve ever lost track of the sunlight, because you were fused to a cushioned chair with a titillating title in your hand, then raise your proverbial glass in the air and celebrate the hospitable bookshop that allowed you to read for hours on end, uninterrupted. Spending time in bookstores is especially easy when the environment is welcoming, and the space is unique. Take one step inside Shakespeare and Company in Paris, Livaria Lello in Portugal, or Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice to understand the sentiment.

“America also has some pretty impressive bookstores, guilty of housing bookish fugitives. Read on to discover the most unique havens for bibliophiles because, after all, isn’t holding the binding of an actual book, where you can smell the pages and let the hardcover rest on your chest when you pause to ponder, better than the digital alternative?

            “Chicago: Women and Children First – Feminist bookstores in America are few and far between and Chicago’s Women and Children First is one of the largest feminist bookstores around, housing more than 30,000 titles by and about women. Visiting authors, book groups, and story time for children events have made this bookseller a staple in the Andersonville neighborhood.

            “Seattle: Secret Garden Books – It’s not easy to keep an independent bookstore up and running, especially with heavy competition online, however there are a number of booksellers that have managed to thrive for many years in The Emerald City. University Book Store, Eagle Harbor Book Co., and Island Books are community stalwarts. Secret Garden Books is also a standout because for over forty years, they have been dedicated to promoting literacy for children. After all, getting younger generations to develop a love of reading contributes to the success of an independent bookstore, decade after decade

Denver: Tattered Cover Book Store –Tattered Cover has been around since 1971 and even though it’s a relatively large independent book store, it still maintains that cozy lose-yourself-in-a-chair feel that bookworms crave. Chances are, if you have a favorite author on a book tour, you’ll be able to get your book signed and hear them read here. You can relish the experience at four different locations, including one inside of Union Station, and if you must go online, check out their Indie Next List for new titles.

San Francisco: City Lights Booksellers and Publishers – San Francisco is such a lovely walkable city, full of sensory delights, and a trip to City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, a landmark located on the edge of China Town, will not disappoint book lovers. Political and poetry books have long been the bread and butter of City Lights and the publishing arm still produces titles to this day. Beatniks, free thinkers, and artists were the clientele of the 50’s and it would appear that little has changed even to this day. City Lights co-founder and poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who turned 100 in March 2019, made headlines for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems in 1956, which was part of an obscenity trial. He faced jail time and a fine in order to endorse free speech. This bookshop is all about creating an indelible space for open minded readers, thinkers, and speakers.

            “Gene’s Books, Florida – There’s something about seeing stacks of books everywhere, lining the walls, topping each surface, stored in every nook and cranny, that creates a lived-in feel. Gene’s Books on Periwinkle Way in Sanibel, Florida, is such a place. The popularity of this gem has created a need for expansion—there’s a second building across the street. Both locations have a large selection of Florida-specific titles and visitors can often get discounts or receive free books.

“Visiting independent bookstores, anywhere across America, gives us the opportunity to learn about diverse communities and local vibes. Ask the bookseller for a recommendation, kick up your feet on a lounger—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand, and stay awhile. A book purchased and enjoyed from a special destination is one of the best mementos you can have.”

Florida’s Sunshine & Tax Benefits Beckon Billionaires

Article from the 11/11/19 “Wall Street Journal”: “While the president is the most famous rich person moving to Fla., he’s not alone. But it’s too soon to determine the impact of tax migrations on states’ budgets.

“NEW YORK – In addition to President Donald Trump, a number of high-profile financiers have ditched northeastern states for Florida’s warmer climate and lower taxes. David Tepper, Paul Tudor Jones and Barry Sternlicht are among prominent transplants who pulled up roots in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut and headed for the Sunshine State – and Carl Icahn says he’s moving his company from New York to Miami next year.

“The exodus of billionaires can put a damper on their previous states’ budgets, though New Jersey and Connecticut tax officials said it is too early for state revenue data to show whether the 2017 tax law imposing a $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions has caused high earners to flee.

“The most recent tax data available covers 2017, and the SALT cap went into effect in 2018. Both Connecticut and New York have been losing residents; Connecticut’s population of 3.57 million in 2018 was down 22,000 since its last peak in 2013, according to Census figures, and New York’s population slipped to 19.54 million in 2018, a loss of about 119,000 from its last peak in 2015.

“Some of the reasons ultra-wealthy individuals give as reasons for moving to Florida include the 2017 tax law change, the high costs in New York compared with the greater purchasing power of a dollar in the Sunshine State, and the warmer weather. For many, it’s not a completely new beginning. Many of the transplants already owned vacation homes in Florida.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity November 5 – 22, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Sandpebble #2F 2/2 $449K, Loggerhead Cay #532 2/2 $689K, Sand Pointe #131 2/2 $729K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-3 3/3 $914.5K, Pointe Santo #C3 3/2 $1.195M.

5 price changes: Sanibel Arms #C7 1/1 now $385K, Sanibel Arms #F2 1/1 now $549K, Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 now $579K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 now $734K, Seawind II #2 2/2.5 now $849K.

3 new sales: Kimball Lodge #223 1/1.5 listed at $395K, Sanibel Arms West #M1 2/2 listed at $511K, Kings Crown #213 2/2 $799K.

3 closed sales: Yacht Haven #4 3/2 $650K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 $720K, Pointe Santo #A46 2/2 $1.05M.

HOMES

9 new listings: 1476 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $695K, 5304 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 $785K, 1724 Bunting Ln 3/3.5 $949.5K, 6176 Henderson Rd 3/2 $1.189M, 911 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.195M, 599 Lake Murex Cir 4/3.5 $1.299M, 751 Windlass Way 5/5 $1.595M, 2460 Harbour Ln 3/3 $2.1M, 5075 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $2.99M.

8 price changes: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 now $509K, 731 Durion Ct 3/2 now $775K, 5186 Sea Bell Rd 3/3 now $888.5K, 5842 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $995K, 938 Pecten Ct 3/2.5 now $995K, 1010 Kings Crown Dr 3/3 now $1.035M, 550 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.335M, 6071 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 5/4.5 now $1.75M.

5 new sales: 1585 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $575K, 6447 Pine Ave 3/2.5 listed at $595K, 9052 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed at $615K, 9440 Cotten Ct 3/2 listed at $650K, 5402 Osprey Ct 4/3 listed at $975K.

6 closed sales: 9401 Beverly Ln 3/3 $625K, 1800 Ardsley Way 3/2 $650K, 1677 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $675K, 823 Birdie View Pt 4/3 $777.5K, 9094 Mockingbird Dr 4/3.5 $855K, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 $1.25M.

LOTS

3 new listings: 5116 Sea Bell Rd $229K, 667 Birdie View Pt $339K, 3941 West Gulf Dr $3.695M.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Ventura Captiva #2B 3/3 $915K.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4112 1/2 now $375K, Lands End Village #1651 2/2 now $1.199M.

1 new sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #2D listed at $900K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 $3.995M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 listed at $2.99M.

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, enjoy your Thanksgiving! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

 

September Weather Arrives on the Islands


It’s time for another SanibelSusan Friday update about Sanibel and Captiva Islands. It was a surprise on Tuesday afternoon when Sanibel’s electric service went out.

According to Lee County Electric Coop (LCEC), the outage was caused when an antenna atop a sailboat mast hit the main power line coming to the island. Thank you, LCEC for getting it back up and running in just an hour. With 90+degree temperatures that day, islanders did not want to be without AC for long. Most summers, there are a few minor outages, but this year, there have only been a handful.

Today’s surprise was a noticeable change in the weather. Local forecasters are joking that it is because fall begins on Monday. Little, if any, rain is expected in the upcoming week. With low humidity, temperatures today are expected to only hit 87 degrees F. That is a welcome change. It has been in the low 90’s for weeks.

On Monday, nighttime temperatures are expected to go down into the high 60’s/low 70’s. It has been many months since it has been that cool. Late September usually equates to snowbirds on the move. The SanibelSusan Team hopes that means more sales will follow.

September Island Updates

There is always a flurry of activity just before the snowbirds get back. Here are some changes that I noticed during my travels this week.

Casa Ybel Resort – The new entrance is almost done at Casa Ybel Resort. It was damaged two years ago during Hurricane Irma when their huge specimen tree on the bridge going into the resort came down. Over the last few weeks, landscaping crews have been there working on a new design. This week their new sign went up, work on the bridge and roadway completed, and the new landscaping went in. The design includes stonework with waterfalls now framing the entrance and many tropical plants and palms. What a special welcome it creates!

 

 

 

Dairy Queen – Has been closed and cordoned off with construction tape all week. No word on when it is reopening.

Mariner Pointe – Has a new fresh white sign at their entrance. It must be a temporary one, since their street number actually is “760”.

Saint Kilda – Community is getting water main replacement according to Island Water’s Fall 2019 “IWA Pipeline”. The project is upgrading the original developer-installed water main with higher strength pipe and new fire hydrants. Periodic IWA project updates may be found on their website www.IslandWater.com under “Latest Capital Project”.

SCCF Nature Center Closed for Renovations – The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation Nature Center is closed for educational programs until further notice due to ongoing interior renovations. The administrative offices remain open for meetings and other business activities. The trails behind the Nature Center at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd., also will stay open for visitors. While renovations are underway, SCCF events and educational programs will be held at the Bailey Homestead Preserve.” Detailed information about the open trails at SCCF’s six public preserves may be found at http://www.sccf.org/preserves. SCCF’s Native Landscape and Garden Center is maintaining its regular retail schedule at the Bailey Homestead Preserve, 1300 Periwinkle Way. Call 239-472-1932 for additional information about the Garden Center’s operating hours and upcoming programs.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® September Membership Meeting

In addition to the phones, roadways, beaches, and shops being super quiet, the local Association of Realtors® monthly membership breakfast yesterday, was lightly attended. Before the property announcements, attendees heard from the four candidates running for our three board vacancies. The election results will be announced at our annual meeting in October. Good luck to Realtors Greg Demaras, Pfeifer Realty Group; Mike McMurray, Royal Shell Real Estate; Liz Podolsky, McCallion & McCallion Realty; and Janka Varmuza, VIP Realty Group.

Meeting speaker was Angela Melvin, founder and CEO of Valerie’s House. Angela like her family before her, grew up in Fort Myers. Her mother, Valerie, died in a car accident in 1987 when Angela was just 10 years old, sparking her passion to find a place that could help children in similar situations. After college and working as a broadcast journalist around the country and then a Communications Director on Capitol Hill, Angela spent several years working for and sitting on boards for various non-profits including the Wendt Center for Grief and Loss in Washington, DC. She returned to Fort Myers in 2013 and shortly after, founded Valerie’s House.

Valerie’s House is the first and only organization in Southwest Florida with its sole mission to help children grieve the loss of a loved one. With locations now in Fort Myers, Naples, and Punta Gorda, Valerie’s House is a place where children connect with one another and learn the tools to heal after they have experienced the death of someone they love. At Valerie’s House, children know others their own age, and they learn that loss doesn’t have to limit their dreams. In addition to a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, Valerie’s House is a family of others grieving. More info at http://www.ValeriesHouseSWFL.org.

Upcoming Event Reminders

International Coastal Cleanup is tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 21, from 9 a.m. until noon. Thirteen clean-up locations will participate throughout Lee County. The island Realtors® team will be working on Causeway Island B. Last year, the cleanup attracted 1,546 volunteers who removed 3,358 pounds of litter and debris from waterways. To participate, please register at www.klcb.org/coastal-cleanup.html

USTA Southwest Florida Clay Court Championships for the 4th year will be at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, September 27-29. Age Divisions: Open, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, singles & doubles. Registration deadline is Sep 25 at www.USTA.com using tournament ID 150046619.

Farmers Markets are beginning soon. Local Roots has updated their website with the market start dates. Wondering which is open when? Here’s a quick summary.

  • Sundays on Sanibel – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Oct 6 to May 31 (including Easter Sunday) on the grounds of Sanibel City Hall. This will be the 12th season for the Sanibel market. It has something for everyone: fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, honey, meats, cut flowers, prepared meals, mini-donuts, cupcakes, bagels, guacamole, pickles, cheeses, baked goods, native plants, artisan foods, local crafts, organics, and more. Shoppers are encouraged to bring dry and canned foods to the market booth. They are donated each week to F.I.S.H., the islands’ food pantry. The market is a plastic-straw-free zone, is a non-smoking area, and only service dogs are allowed in the vendor areas. New to the market this season, vendors will not use single-use plastic bags. Reasonably price reusable bags are for sale at the market booth or bring your own. Follow the signs for parking. All handicap parking is at City Hall. For more information on this and other SWFL Farmers Markets, go to BuyLocalLee.com
  • Mondays at Fenway South – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Jan 6 to Mar 30 at Jet Blue Stadium
  • Tuesdays on Captiva – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Nov 5 to Apr 28 at South Seas Island Resort
  • Wednesdays at Lakes Park – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Oct 2 to Apr 29 at Lakes Regional Park
  • Thursdays at Coconut Point – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Oct 3 to Apr 30 at Coconut Point Mall
  • Thursdays at River District – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-‘round at Centennial Park
  • Fridays at Boca Grande Farm & Fish Market – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Dec 20 to Apr 24 at Wheeler Rd ball field
  • Fridays at Sanibel Outlets – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Dec 13 to Mar 27 at Sanibel Outlets
  • Saturdays in Bonita Springs – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. from Oct 5 to Apr 25 at The Promenade

Seems like yesterday when Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura started Local Roots and organized their first market in the parking lot at Tahitian Gardens shopping center. Talk about success! What wonderful contributions they have made to us living in Southwest Florida. Did I mention, they are summer pickleball stars too!

Island Beaches & Red-Drift Algae

As much as social media today keeps us connected, I swear sometimes it is our own worst enemy. There were so many differing reports about beach conditions following Hurricane Dorian and so many local reporters only talking about the bad stuff (ugh), that I did stops at a few beaches yesterday as I was on my real estate rounds. East-end and mid-island beaches were beautiful. This morning, I stopped at the bayside beach at the end of Bailey Road and it likewise is clear and breezy. Some of my photos below.

Beach at the Donax Street access on 9/19/19

Overlooking Sand Carlos Bay at the end of Bailey Rd on 9/20/19

To clear up misconception and confirm conditions often change, below is the report posted online yesterday by the City.

Large Sections of Sanibel Beaches Currently in Excellent to Very Good Conditions

Frank Spinuzza. 09/19/2019 05:58 pm

Spot Locations Remain Dynamic & Ephemeral

Update on Algae Pilot Project

At this time large stretches of Sanibel beaches are in excellent to very good conditions.  Algae deposits continue to be dynamic and ephemeral, likely driven by wind conditions, currents, tides, and/or other factors.

Residents & visitors are reminded that paid beach parking meter receipts are not restricted to the beach parking lot in which purchased.  Paid, unexpired beach parking is transferrable to any other of the other City of Sanibel’s public beach parking lots.

Status of In-water Algae Removal Pilot Project:

City staff is currently compiling the results of the in-water algae removal pilot project conducted on Tuesday 9/10/19. The project, authorized for 4 days, was discontinued after 1 day due to insufficient algae at both permitted locations. Equipment remains staged on-island in the event conditions at one of the two currently permitted locations (Lighthouse Beach Park & Gulfside City Park) as warranted and are suitable to continue the pilot.

Results will be presented to City Council at a future meeting as well as the upcoming Tourism Development Commission meeting for reimbursement.

We are presently experiencing very dynamic changes to our beaches based upon changing wind directions, even the course of the same day, conditions earlier today were observed as:

  • Excellent conditions with little to no algae deposits are present at Sanibel’s east end beaches from Lighthouse Beach Park to Gulfside City Park and at Blind Pass Beach Park on Sanibel’s west end.
  • Light to moderate deposits are present Beach Accesses 1, 2,5 & 7 on West Gulf Drive.
  • Moderate to heavy deposits are present at Tarpon Bay Beach, Bowman’s Beach and Turner Beach (Captiva).

Even at locations with heavier algae deposits, little to no odor is currently present.

While shorebird nesting season is officially complete, numerous shorebirds are present and actively foraging in algae deposits.  Seabirds and wading birds are also present.

Sea turtle nesting season continues through Oct 31st.  As of 9/15/19, 60 active nests remain.

Numerous baitfish were observed at several locations…

(The City report contains photos taken from various island locations, check them out at www.MySanibel.com. The City’s 9/19 report ends with the below info.)

“Florida Department of Health–Healthy Beaches Program

The Florida Department of Health samples 4 Sanibel beach locations weekly for fecal indicator bacteria. Samples collected on Monday 9/16/19 were all in the “good” range for enterococcus bacteria. Weekly testing results are posted here:  http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/county-detail.html?County=Lee&Zip=33916-2205

For more information on Sanibel and other Lee County beach conditions, click on these links:
Florida Healthy Beaches
Mote Marine Lab Beach Conditions Map

END”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 13-20, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

2 price changes: Sundial #E108 3/2 now $1.275M, La Playa #1B 3/2 now $1.399M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Sundial #I104 1/1 $456K (our buyer, under contract last week, closed this week), Mariner Pointe #1041 2/2 $468K.

(Our Sundial buyer went under contract last week & closed this week. It’s not often that a closing can happen that quickly, but thanks to Stacy at Sundial West & Michelle at Barrier Island Title, it got it done! The SanibelSusan Team thanks them!)

HOMES

2 new listings: 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $550K, 5757 Baltusrol Ct 3/3 $1.579M.

1 price change: 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $755K.

3 new sales: 970 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $429.9K, 9401 Beverly Ln 3/3 listed at $675K, 1136 Golden Olive Ct 4/4.5 listed at $2.59M.

4 closed sales: 513 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $628.5K, 534 N. Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $825K, 845 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1.1065M, 844 Lindgren Blvd 3/3 $1.205M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5118 1/2 now $377.9K.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2426 2/2 listed at $537.5K.

1 closed sale: Ventura Captiva #2A 3/3 $900K.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, enjoy a “cool” September!

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sometimes “It Takes A Village”


On normally-sunny Sanibel, this week has been one with several “off & on” showers from the storm developing north of us in the Gulf. Thankfully, most have been short-lived, though some arrived quickly.

We had a doozy yesterday, where suddenly it poured on Periwinkle in front of the office, with barely a drizzle in our back parking lot. Minutes later, it was over. Photo below from the gulf beach right after one of the passing storms.

The good news is the bunnies are happy with plenty of bright green juicy vegetation to munch, the windsurfers and kite-boarders enjoyed the storm-fueled breezes, and the shops and restaurants parking lots have been packed when the usual beach-goers are looking for other things to do.

Now we are thinking of those in the north central Gulf Coast area where Tropical Storm Barry is making landfall. May it dissipate quickly.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

The SanibelSusan Team is thankful to report a two-closing week and recognize that sometimes “it takes a village”. The crew at Barrier Island Title and their remote notary went above and beyond in providing the services needed for today’s closing. Kudos to them, my teammates, and Realtor Kerri Maw at Pfeifer Realty for their hard work in getting another SanibelSusan listing sold. Thanks also to Evan DuPont with John Naumann & Associates for bringing the buyer for our mid-week closing, also with Barrier Island Title. Some are easy, others challenging! We are grateful for them all.

Congratulations also to teammate, Dave, for a new off-island listing today.

The activity on the islands this week posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below. Just one Sanibel condo and one Sanibel home went under contract, no new sales on Captiva.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

With some Realtors® on vacation, the Association’s Caravan meeting yesterday had a few empty seats. The Caravan that followed had just one property open for viewing.

During the off-season is when the Association makes good use of the downtime and holds some of its community service events.

  • “Love That Dress” Donations – Through the month of July, the Association is serving as a drop-off point for donations for the upcoming “Love That Dress” event which is an annual shopping spree to benefit the PACE Center for Girls of Lee County. If you have any new or gently-loved dresses, shoes, handbags, or accessories, please drop them off this month at the Association Office at 2353 Periwinkle Way, Suite 201 which is the 2nd floor over Finnimore’s Cycle Shop in the Winds Shopping Center. (Or give me a call, and I’ll pick them up.) The actual “Love That Dress” event will be held August 21 at Embassy Suites – Fort Myers/Estero. Tickets go on sale August 1.
  • “Meals of Hope” Food Packing – This year will be the Association’s third Meals-of-Hope food-packing event. This time, on Friday, August 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for the supplies and then pack 20,000+meals that are later distributed to local food banks. Let me know if you want to join us or make a donation (checks made out to Meals-of-Hope). The meal packing is assembly-line-style, fast and fun. Again, thanks to The Sanibel Community Church for allowing us to hold the event in their Fellowship Hall. (It’s just impossible to get the supplies and equipment needed into our Association’s 2nd floor spaces.)
  • “Captains for Clean Water” Benefit – Then the next afternoon on Saturday, August 3, the Association is hosting its 2019 Corn-Hole Tournament to benefit Captains for Clean Water. Association members and spouses from our district (Marco Island, Bonita, Fort Myers & the Beach, Cape Coral, and Sanibel-Captiva) will come together for a few hours of comradery and fun at Marlins Brewhouse. Here’s hoping that Sanibel-Captiva players come out ahead of our standings in the district softball and bowling tournaments.

Our local MLS Committee is working hard in preparation for the conversion to our new Multiple Listing Service in mid-August. Though we tend to get comfortable with old familiar systems, this new one has many new exciting features and will be more-user friendly for both MLS members and the public. The SanibelSusan Team is all signed up for their upcoming training, while as a member of the original task force reviewing system, I get access to the beta version next week.

Pricing a Listing?

Interesting tag line on an article in the Florida Realtors® July 2019 issue. It says: “Use the “Just Below” Pricing Strategy… you’ll get on average 2% more for your home than those who price it too high or just right. Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics”.

Be Nice to Grandma

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, authored the following article in the July-August issue of “REALTOR®” magazine.

“First-time buyers have not fully returned to the market. So far in 2019, they’ve accounted for only 31% of all home sales, well below the historic market share of around 40%. That’s why home sales are still running at an annualized pace of 5 million, essentially unchanged since the year 2000 even though the U.S. population has grown by 45 million and the number of households by 20 million.

“Though affordability has been hurt in recent years by fast-rising home prices, it takes a smaller share of monthly income to own these days then it did two decades ago, when 30-year mortgage rates were in the 8% range.

“There are several reasons first-time buyers are struggling to get in the market. Student debt has tripled over the past decade, starter home listings are in short supply because home-builders have focused on expensive homes; many affordably priced condos are not FHA-certified; and credit score requirements to obtain a mortgage are tighter than historic norms.

“As the National Association of REALTORS® works to ensure access to mortgage credit for all qualified Americans, individuals can position themselves for home-ownership. For example, military veterans continue to benefit from the loan guaranty program that started 75 years ago. For some in college today, a “gap year” of military service or any full-time job can reduce their student debt.

“Then there’s family, NAR research shows that a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members, and that share is likely to grow. Many of those that lived through the Great Depression, or heard their parents’ survival stories, have benefited from decades of careful wealth accumulation. The average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800. The lesson for millennials: Be nice to grandma and grandpa. They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.”

LCEC Info About Solar Power Systems

Some good info in the June issue of “LCEC News” (Lee County Electric Cooperative):

“A little more than 730 LCEC cusomers have installed solar power systems at their home or business. The benefit of these systems is that panels convert solar energy into electric energy. Although users rely on the electric grid during evening and less-sunny periods, they may reduce their electric bill. And the good news is that all LCEC customers are using solar power in one way or another since LCEC delivers power from FPL, the largest generator of solar energy in Florida.

“There are safety considerations that should be examined when installing solar power systems. Prior to purchasing the system, contact a licensed qualified electrician to ensure your electrical system can support the technology. Before net metering or putting power back on the grid, LCEC must be notified and an application process must be completed. This keeps electric workers and neighbors safe and ensures property credit for shared power.

“Once installed, solar power system may present unique challenges for first responders and firefighters, so it is important to notify local officials about the type of panels that have been installed. This will help to protect firefighters and minimize damage to the building if a fire occurs.”

Call Before You Dig, 811

“Did you know that homeowners are required by law to call 811 or report online to sunshine811.com two FULL days before digging in any easement, right-of-way, or permitted-use area? The information reported is used to compare the desired digging site to the location of any underground utilities in the area. The area will either be declared clear or will be appropriately marked for any underground lines. Not only does unsafe digging pose a rich to underground lines, it is extremely dangerous causing injuries and deaths around the world annually.” (also from the June “LCEC News”)

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society News

  • Acquisition of Wulfert Bayous – You may have seen the sign on San-Cap Road near the entrance to The Sanctuary where the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society has been trying to raise $3 million in private donations to complete the $9.5 million acquisition of Wulfert Bayous, the last large parcel of unprotected and undeveloped land on Sanibel. This week, they announced that their donations goal was reached. But as they await the Lee County Commissioners’ August decision to approve $6.5 million to complete the acquisition, they are continuing to accept donations in case the 20/20 funds don’t all come through. If they do receive the full $6.5 million, extra funding will be applied to a restoration project to remove invasive vegetation from the tract and create improved habitat for wading birds. Click HERE to watch their video about the Wulfert Bayous’ preservation campaign.
  • Tues, July 16 – World Snake Day – Join the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in celebrating World Snake Day with lots of fun events at the refuge:
  • 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. – free guided Indigo Trail Walk (meet at the flagpole at Refuge entrance)
  • 11 to 11:30 a.m. – Snake lesson in the Education Classroom
  • 12 p.m. – Movie “Invasion of the Giant Pythons in Auditorium B (60 minutes)
  • 12 to 2 p.m. – Snake crafts in the Education Classroom
  • 2:30 to 3 p.m. – Snake lesson in the Education Classroom.

The Community House Shellcrafters

On TV this week, ABC News 7 reporter Kristen Clark on Monday covered everything you need to know about Shellcrafters and the different creations they make – flowers, animals, jewelry – all from shells found on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. Shellcrafters meet at The Community House every Monday year-‘round (except major holidays). Class starts at 10 a.m. with doors open to view and purchase creations until 1 p.m. All ages are welcome, though children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No reservation required.

Here are links to the TV segments:

Shell Crafters Segment 1

Shell Crafters Segment 2

Shell Crafters Segment 3

Food Fun

I hate to admit that I have eaten out three times this week, but since our restaurants always appreciate additional business from locals in the summer, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend the three restaurants that created the following meals. Thanks also to my friend, Sheila, vacationing on Captiva.

On Wednesday night, we had dinner at Malia Island Fusion Cuisine. I saw three other tables of locals too. That night, I enjoyed this dish “Diver Scallop & Shrimp Curry”.

Not wanting to miss out on a meal with Christian and Mari at Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro before they close for their summer vacation, last night my dinner there was this yummy dish called “Filet – Frites”, the onion soup gratinee first, and the creme brulee after were equally yummy. Bleu Rendez-Vous will be back open in October. It’s definitely worth the wait.

Then today after our closing, teammate Dave and I stopped for lunch at T2, bringing back lunch for teammate Elise. I’m a huge fan of their spinach salad (which is even better with blackened shrimp), but today I tried their shrimp tacos. It is another winner.

The service at all three restaurants was outstanding. It really is hard to go wrong dining anywhere on Sanibel or Captiva, but this week Malia, Bleu Rendez-Vous, and T2 all get a special thumbs up from SanibelSusan. Now I need to walk a few thousand extra steps over the weekend.

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 5-12, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Snug Harbor #312 3/2 $658K, Sanddollar #C202 3/2 $1.3M.

1 price change: Sunset South #6B 2/2 now $591.5K.

1 new sale: Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 listed at $1.49M.

1 closed sale: Spanish Cay #B4 2/2 $379K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1717 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $649K.

9 price changes: 1401 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex now $519.9K, 1585 Bunting Ln 3.2 now $569K, 9406 Beverly Ln 3/2 now $599K,  9448 Begonia Ct 3/2.5 now $649K (our listing), 1586 Century Ct 3/2.5 now $665K, 1978 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $735K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $900K, 2441 Shop Rd 4/3.5 now $924K, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.474M.

9448 Begonia Ct in Gumbo Limbo

1 new sale: 1550 Centre St 3/2 listed at $599K.

7 closed sales: 398 Old Trail Rd 3/3 $485K, 1827 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 $530K, 1555 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $650K, 686 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $766.4K, 510 Sea Oats Dr 3/2.5 $940K, 1838 Buckthorn Ln 3/2 $1.177M, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr, #2C 3/3 half-duplex $1.35M (our listing).

LOTS

1 new listing: 5627 Baltusrol Ct $375K.

1 price change: 2133 Starfish Ln now $404K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 9270 Kincaid Ct $138K (our listing).

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Lands End Village #1633 2/2 $1.439M.

1 price change: Captiva Hide-A-Way #2D 2/2 now $900K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 now $3.7M, 15819 Captiva Dr 5/5 now $9.4M.

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 a rain-free weekend and happy days!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Wrapping June & Looking Forward to July On Sunny Sanibel


It’s another sunny Friday on Sanibel, with island merchants, restaurants, and Realtors® all hoping for a boost in business from soon-arriving holiday vacationers and visitors. With very little rain this week until a couple of late day thunderstorms yesterday, bay and gulf waters remain clear and bright.

The weather continues to be warmer than usual for this early in the summer, with near-record temperatures almost every day. Those temperatures dropped a little after the showers last night, with more typical high-80’s expected for the next few days with occasional scattered thunderstorms. Betcha we have another one tonight.

First another royal poinciana tree photo – a great vision of red against a blue sky. They are about gone by now, but will be back in bloom next May/June.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association or Realtors® June Membership Meeting

Yesterday was the June Monthly Membership Meeting of the local Association of Realtors®. Attendance was light.

Speaker was Ashley Gibbons, Member Services Manager at the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce. She explained how visitor traffic to both islands, their facility, and their website continue to increase following a tough period after last summer’s red tide. The Chamber’s renovation is complete, several staff members are new, and their social media, including Instagram, also continue to get more followers.

The real estate announcements that followed were few, with just a handful of sales and price reductions. Caravan included six new listings open for viewing.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

It was a busy week for the team, with a closing, a new sale, and action items accomplished with both active listings and upcoming closings. Our detailed report of the activity in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below, including the local island July 4th events.

Island Holiday Happenings

Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sanibel Community Church, complimentary all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, juice, & coffee, with donations to benefit Boy Scout Troop 1740. 

29th Annual Independence Day Parade begins at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road. The theme this year is “Seas the Day” with Captains for Clean Water serving as grand marshal. The parade runs east on Periwinkle and ends at Casa Ybel Road. Parade judges will be stationed in front of Winds. Parade watchers are reminded to arrive early, Periwinkle Way from Donax Street to Tarpon Bay Road will be closed beginning at 9 a.m. (and reopen about noon).

July 4th Celebration at Jerry’s Shopping Center begins after the parade, until 2:30 p.m. with complimentary hot dogs & snow cones, plus water slide, bounce house, face painting & other patriotic fun for kiddos.

40th Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club Road Rally which is an automobile scavenger hunt, begins at noon at The Timbers parking lot. Proceeds fund local youth benefits and scholarships. Entry forms are available at Bailey’s, Sanibel Café, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, or online at www.sancapoptimist.org. Rally is limited to 50 vehicles. Prizes are awarded for correct time and mileage, most correct answers to the quiz, best decorated vehicle, team coming from the farthest location, and team finishing last. I’ve done this several times and it ain’t easy, but it’s fun!

An Awesome 4th of July as advertised by The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., includes a backyard BBQ dinner, DG, swimming, putting course, and fireworks. Reservations required 239-472-3355.

Fireworks at dusk from the end of Bailey Road out over the bay. Best viewing on the causeway and bay side of the island.

The Future of Southwest Florida International Airport

Southwest Florida International Airport, aka RSW, is one of the newest airports in the nation, with a terminal less than 15 years old. Even so, with 9 to 10 million travelers a year passing through the airport, lines often are backed up “in season”. With more and more people moving to SW Florida, plans are in the works to stay ahead of the growth with a $200M renovation in the works.

In the local news this week, it was reported that getting through TSA (Transportation Security Administration) will be faster as part of this airport expansion with a new plan to make checkpoints more efficient. Even with RSW’s unique design of three separate security checkpoints determined by airline, there are reports of it taking more than an hour to get through security in the throes of season. Lee County Port Authority already had announced a $1.7 million plan to cut back on these wait times.  The plan creates up to two additional security lines per concourse. These changes are expected to be completed by October/November and will allow passengers to board faster.

Plans to expand RSW are more than halfway complete, with renderings including a new gate, amenities, and consolidating concourses. The most significant change planned is an 18-line centralized security checkpoint, which will be usable by 2023. According to a Wink News article published Tuesday, airport leaders are looking even farther ahead of this project with their long-range plan including space for a second runway.

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Budget With Real Estate Priorities

On Tuesday, posted by FloridaRealtors® on-line:

“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 2019 state budget late last week, and while he used his line-item veto power to remove some budget items, a number of items that impact real estate made it through the process.

“$682 million for environmental projects – A massive bill to help the environment includes $400 million for Everglades restoration, $100 million for springs restoration, $50 million for beach restoration projects, $25 million to combat blue-green algae and red tide, and $25 million for a septic-to-sewer cost-share program.

“$200 million-plus for affordable housing projects – Lawmakers allocated money from the state and local government housing trust funds for affordable housing programs, with more than half the money ($115 million) destined to assist Panhandle residents whose properties were devastated by Hurricane Michael.

“$15 million to continue LIDAR mapping – The Division of Emergency Management may continue spending the

$15 million currently being used for LIDAR (light detection and ranging) mapping. LIDAR is a next-generation mapping technique and has the potential to lower flood insurance rates throughout Florida.

“$500,000 to prevent unlicensed real estate activity – The Legislature allocated money from the Professional Regulation Trust Fund to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) for its ongoing effort to combat unlicensed real estate activity.”

Gov. DeSantis Announces Plan to Crack Down on Environmental Crimes

There was more good “water” news on Tuesday when, during a visit to Stuart, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new plan to crack down on Florida’s environmental crimes. During a news conference at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center, he signed a bill that creates a Division of Law Enforcement within Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which allows the DEP to conduct criminal investigations into environmental crimes. Officials said the DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement will be made up of sworn officers. Since taking office in January, Gov. DeSantis has made Florida’s environment a top priority.

Construction Progress at BIG ARTS

If you have attended an event or taken a class at BIG ARTS, you will appreciate how quickly their new building is progressing. The former buildings were demolished in early April, right after their annual Spring Concerts. Click on the blue link below for a 4-minute walk through the construction site with Architect Amy Nowacki.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SrTXWQXSyA

(Amy is a busy multi-talented gal, also singing for many years in the BIG ARTS Community Chorus. She also is the architect for the renovations underway at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, scheduled to reopen mid-July.)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 21-28, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings

4 price changes: Seashells #36 2/2 now $375K, Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 now $593K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #5-1 2/2.5 now $773.9K, White Pelican #114 2/2 now $895K.

4 new sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 listed at $235K; Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 listed at $499K; Surfside12 #A3 3/2 listed at $749,999; White Pelican #133 3/3 listed at $1.595M.

3 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #122 1/1 $347.5K (our buyer), Tarpon Beach #304 2/2 $987.5K, Compass Point #183 2/2 $1.15M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 6496 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/3.5 $899K, 1285 Par View Dr 4/2.5 $919K.

11 price changes: 785 Rabbit Rd 3/2 half-duplex now $379K, 1550 Centre Ct 3/2 now $599K, 1418 Sanderling Cir 3/3 now $649.9K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $674K, 9401 Beverly Ln 3/3 now $719K, 1559 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $754K, 1350 Middle Gulf Dr, #1F 3/3 half-duplex now $779K, 731 Durion Ct 3/2 now $785K, 335 Cowry Ct 4/3.5 now $799.9K, 0 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3.5 now $969.5K, 4080 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $995K.

5 new sales: 993 Fish Crow Rd 3/3 listed at $684.9K, 3284 Twin Lakes Ln 4/4 listed at $785K, 947 Cabbage Palm Ct 3/3.5 listed at $995K, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed at $999K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr, #2C 3/3 listed at $1.495M (our listing).

6 closed sales: 745 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $462.5K, 1427 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $460K, 458 Cas Ybel Rd 3/2.5 $655K, 702 Durion Ct 3/2 $754K, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/4 $1.09M, 1561 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/4 $1.8822M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2216 1/1 now $519.9K.

1 new sale: with contingencies: Tennis Villas #3230 2/2 listed at $469K.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #4124 1/2 $387.5K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16525 Captiva Dr 3/4 $1.65M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 16801 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 listed at $2.095M, 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 listed at $6,999,990.

1 closed sale: 16798/802 Captiva Dr 4/4 $5.65M.

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 fun safe 4th of July holiday,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

June Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s another sunny Friday on Sanibel, following another week of fantastic weather until the first summer shower gave us a quick dousing this morning. Maybe the rainy season has begun. We don’t like using the “h” word, but that season has begun too (Jun 1 to Nov 30).

Meanwhile, the gulf and bay waters surrounding the islands are a brilliant blue and sparkling green. The color and clarity changes each summer when the rains stir up the sand and vegetation along the waterways, so it always pays to enjoy this view when you can.

With swimming pools already needing extra water and some grassy buffers along the bike paths looking like straw, rain is needed. The typical pattern for this time of the year is a quick daily shower or two. As the saying goes in Florida in the summer, “wait a minute and the weather will change.” Summer sunsets following a shower are the best.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Here at SanibelSusan Realty, we appreciated a nice closing on Monday and several of our listings continue to get good interest and showing activity. The action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news below.

There was no Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday, but I had 15 Realtors® there attending my “Resort & 2nd Home Market” class on Monday. It always is fun to share with colleagues. If we all do a better job, it helps everyone.

Attendees wearing their pop quiz prizes from 2019 Resort & 2nd Home class of the SCIS (Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist) designation. SanibelSusan instructing.

Summer Projects & Other Scoop

Il Cielo at 1244 Periwinkle Way –A sign says “closed for renovations, reopening in the fall”.

Malia Island Fusion Cuisine at 1100 Par View Drive in Beachview Estates, next to Sanibel Golf Club – Tried to celebrate our Monday closing there for lunch but found out that they have new summer hours. Open Mon-Thu from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Open Fri & Sat from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Pointe Santo at 2445 West Gulf Dr – Will finish up their concrete-restoration building-exterior project late summer/early fall. Buildings A, B, D, and E are done with the work accomplished during the “off season” to least affect vacations and rentals. The spalling work in Building C is scheduled this year between Aug 11 and Oct 19.

View from Pointe Santo #C43. Make an offer now & seller agreeable to closing after summer restoration work is done.

Sanibel Delivery opened yesterday according to a recent article in the “Islander”. It’s an interesting concept. Sanibel Delivery will pick up and drop off take-out orders from restaurants, grocery and convenience store items, pet food and supplies, legal documents and run bank errands, pick up flowers, take packages to and from the post office or shipping stores, get ice, drinks, prescriptions. It also will stock a residence before an arrival or pick up items for donations. Sanibel Delivery services just Sanibel, not Captiva or west of Clam Bayou Ln/Pine Tree Dr. Operating Tues through Sun from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. To schedule a delivery, call or text 239-308-5353 or email david@sanibeldelivery.com.

Condo Q&A: Who’s Responsible for Water Damage?

Since a condo owner recently asked me this same question, it was timely to read the below article posted this week on-line at FloridaRealtors®. Maybe this is of interest to you too:

“By Steven J. Adamczyk

“June 3, 2019 – Question: A unit owner in our building suffered water damage in his unit due to a clog in his drain pipes. He is claiming that the association should pay for all of the repairs inside the unit. Coincidentally, this owner does not have insurance and the drains have otherwise been working fine. Is there any merit to the owner’s claim? – T.R, Deerfield Beach

“Answer: Any time there is water damage, the first question is whether the damage is the result of an insurable event. When there is an insurable event, the statute will dictate who is responsible for what damage. Likewise, if there is no insurable event, the declaration of condominium will dictate who is responsible for what damage.

Here, we will assume it was an insurable event. If so, the statute provides that the condominium association is responsible to repair and replace property insured by the condominium association. With this type of damage, it means the association will likely repair and replace drywall, but the statute then provides that the owner is responsible to repair and replace interior portions of the unit such as kitchen cabinets, floor coverings, paints, and personal property such as furniture within the unit.

“It is possible that the above delegation of responsibility can be shifted so that one party is responsible for everything. Under the statute, this can happen if one party is negligent or if they fail to follow a rule.

For example, if the association had been notified that the common element pipes had been malfunctioning for a long time and the association ignored the problem, it is possible the association would be responsible for everything, assuming the damage here was the result of that ignored common element problem. Likewise, if the rules prohibit shoving paper towels down a drain and the clog was due to these paper towels, the owner could be responsible for all damage.

“We often see these aggressive accusations when there is no insurance for the obvious reason that the owner knows the association has insurance. That being said, it is highly unlikely that you are responsible for all of the damage, and you should consult with your attorney and insurance carrier to determine the extent of your responsibilities.

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

Captiva Testing Iguana Removal Program

This article came from today’s “Island Sun”: “A pilot program funded by the Captiva Community Panel (CCP) is addressing the iguana problem currently plaguing the island. “The (iguana) issue came up at one of our panel meetings, and it’s been a topic of conversation for a while,” said Dave Jensen, CCP board member. “People have been seeing iguanas on their properties, and they can do some damage.”

“According to Jensen, he called the City of Sanibel to investigate how the neighboring community addresses their invasive species issue. They city’s department of natural resources put him in touch with Alfredo Fermin of AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services, a professional trapper based in Cape Coral.

“Iguanas are very aggressive… they have a nasty bite and their tails can hurt you, too,” said Fermin, who has more than 10 years of experience trapping wildlife. “They can tear up your garden, they burrow near seawalls which causes a lot of damage, and their poop is dangerous because they carry diseases….”

“Iguanas can grow up to six feet long, have no natural predators. One female may lay between 40 and 70 eggs at a time, and the species is a direct threat to burrowing owls.”

“One month ago, the CCP agreed to hire AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services to come to Captiva, trap and remove nuisance iguanas. The pilot program requests that island residents give permission to Fermin to access their property and remove the iguanas.

“On his first visit to Captiva on May 7, Fermin visited 20 properties and removed 21 iguanas. Since then, he has returned to more than 50 properties and eliminated 56 iguanas.

“If you don’t know what you are doing, it can be nearly impossible to catch them,” said Fermin, who uses a noose bar to snare the iguanas. “It’s still too early to give an estimate on the number of iguanas there are on Captiva, but I’ll be out there every Tuesday until the funds run out.”

“Jensen added that if AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services determines that there is an overpopulation of iguanas on Captiva, the CCP will request that Lee County assist with the funding of the removal program.

“To give permission for AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Service to access your island property, call Dave Jensen at 470-5389. For iguana-specific questions, contact Alfredo Fermin via email at AAAWildlife1@yahoo.com or by calling 440-7783.”

Families & Friends of The Sanibel School

The Sanibel School (Elementary & Middle) (A Florida School of Excellence & nationally rated Blue Ribbon school) currently is accepting students and approving off-island attendance waivers.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 31 – June 7, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Tarpon Beach #305 2/2 $1.1M, Kings Crown #302 2/2 $1.6M.

9 price changes: Sundial #H210 1/1 now $379K; Blind Pass #E202 2/2 now $450K; Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 now $597K; Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 now $674K; Surfside 12 #A3 3/2 now $749,999; Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 now $759.9K; Shell Island Beach Club #7C 2/2 now $799K; Oceans Reach #3A1 2/2 now $899.5K, Island Beach Club #340E 2/2 now $1.231M.

4 new sales: Spanish Cay #B4 2/2 listed at $399K, Sundial #G405 1/1 listed at $419,555; Sundial #C310 1/1 listed at $459,750; Sundial #J204 2/2 listed at $793K.

5 closed sales: Sanibel Siesta #109 2/2 $510K, Cottage Colony West #112 1/1 $585K, Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 $650K, Loggerhead Cay #582 2/2 $680K, White Sands #25 2/2 $957K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 5307 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2.5 $685K, 2739 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 $1.375M.

6 price changes: 430 Old Trail Rd 3/2.5 now $639K, 1550 Centre St 3/2 now $645K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $949K, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.6399M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.299M, 4709 Rue belle Mer 3/2 now $3.125M.

5 new sales: 9052 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 listed at $650K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed at $799.9K, 845 Birdie View Pt 3/3 listed at $1.169M, 2303 Troon Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.189M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 listed at $1.747M.

2 closed sales: 5869 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $589K (our buyer), 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 $800K.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Captiva Cove #C 5/4 $3.475M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 956 South Seas Plantation Rd 6/6 $5.5M.

1 price change: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $998,899.

2 new sales: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 listed at $995K, 16825 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 listed at $2.695M.

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, make it a great one! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Why It’s a Good Banana Week


It’s Susan reporting another sunny Sanibel Friday following a busy Memorial Day weekend/week for The SanibelSusan Team. We got new listings, good activity with listings, and action items accomplished on upcoming closings too.

That’s the funny thing about this real estate business, once it seems too quiet, things can change with no logical explanation. Realtors® often say their work comes in bunches, like bananas. Let’s just say that it was a good banana week for SanibelSusan Realty.

I forgot last Friday to post the below photo taken by Kim at the West Wind Inn pool bar. Not-to-worry, it has looked exactly the same as this every day this week too – bright blue skies with sparkling clear gulf waters. Sometimes a few white puffy clouds come across from the mainland late in the day (if, as the locals say, they can afford the bridge toll). Soon they will bring rainy-season showers, but now it really is a wonderful time to be here with summer-like weather and very little traffic.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

At our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, a $5+K check was presented to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s (SCCF) new CEO, Dr. Ryan Orgera. The Association raised this money during our recent annual end-of-season golf outing/auction. It will go toward SCCF’s water quality efforts. Additional raised funds raised at the same event are going to RPAC the Realtors® PAC that supports property issues like water quality, short-term rentals, flood insurance, and candidates that are pro-homeowner rights.

During the meeting announcements, I was happy to announce two new listings and two new sales. The activity posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

Monday morning, at the Association, I’ll be teaching the 2019 “Resort and 2nd Home Property” class to Realtors® looking to earn or update a Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist designation. Since authoring that class in 2012, I’ve updated and taught it every summer. It’s always a good exercise to confirm that Florida remains the state with the highest number of vacation and 2nd homes. (My home state of Maine remains the one that has the largest number compared to population.) The most popular vacation home destination is the BEACH.

The National Association of Realtors® periodically surveys investment and home buyers. Their latest survey shows that 72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe that now is a good time to buy. Here’s hoping that means more sales on the islands.

Is Vice President Pence Returning?

Yesterday, when Jim Anderson owner of JMA Photography stopped in to get a key for filming one of our new listings, he mentioned that he needs to get the drone aerials done quickly as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has issued a notice that a “very important person is due to arrive on Sanibel on Friday for a five-day stay.”

Past similar announcements saying “VIP Movement Notification” were related to Vice President Mike Pence visiting. The Pences have vacationed on Sanibel for years, often staying at their friends’ home here (which SanibelSusan sold to them).

The Pence’s last island visit was just a short stay, March 1-3 when he flew into SW Florida International Airport on Air Force Two and his security detail came across the causeway late evening. He also returned to the area in late March to deliver a speech on religious freedom at Ava Maria University. Last year, the Pences were here for a week, spending Easter on the island.

Sea Turtle Nests Up This Year

Worried about fall-out from the water woes last summer, it was great news to read today in the “Island Sun” that the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) reports that sea turtle nest counts are up significantly from last year. Peak nesting for loggerheads typically occurs in mid to late June, so numbers are expected to grow too.

As of May 27, on Sanibel’s east end, there are 24 loggerhead nests, compared to 19 last year at this time. On Sanibel’s west end, there are 89 loggerhead nests and 2 green nests, compared to 59 loggerheads & no greens last year, same time. On Captiva there are 36 loggerhead nests compared to 22 in 2018. Hooray for the turtles. You can follow the nests at http://sccf.org/our-work/sea-turtles.

FREE Fishing Weekend

The Florida Fish & Wildlife conservation Commission (FWC) is offering a license-free saltwater fishing weekend tomorrow and Sunday, June 1 and 2, and a license-free freshwater fishing weekend next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8. During these weekends a fishing license is not required for Florida residents or visitors. These free fishing weekends are part of the eight license-free fishing days FWC offers each year. All bag limits, closed areas and size restrictions still apply. More info about licenses at www.myFWC.com/license and fishing tips at www.myFWC.com/fishing.

What’s a Homeowners’ Association To Do With Surplus Funds?

Here are the question and answer response posted on Florida Realtors® news this week:

Question: I live in a homeowner’s association, and I have two questions regarding issues that are of concern to me. First, what is the board supposed to do when there is a surplus of funds at the end of the fiscal year and second, do I have a right to request a copy of the association’s receivable report from the association, as there has been a large amount written off as bad debts? – E.K., Port St. Lucie

Answer: Regarding your first question, the board of directors has a few options when actual expenses are less than anticipated at the end of the fiscal year. One option is for the board to carry over the surplus to the next fiscal year. Another option is to refund the surplus to the members. This option usually is not recommended.

A third option is for the board to vote to transfer the surplus of funds to a contingency reserve or other board-made reserve account. This is to be distinguished from reserve accounts subject to Section 720.303, Florida Statues, which were either established by a vote of the members or initially by the developer of your community.

In regard to your second question on the right to view the association accounts receivable report, you have a right to inspect this report pursuant to Section 720.303(4)(j), Florida Statutes.

“The association has a duty to maintain accounting records for seven years. You should verify whether the association has adopted a process for how to request an inspection and copying of the official records of the association and follow the adopted procedure.

“Harris B. Katz, Esq., is managing partner, Boca Raton of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column. Editor’s note: Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, civil litigation, estate planning and commercial transactions.

© 2019 Journal Media Group, Harris B. Katz”

Florida Tax Holiday on Hurricane Supplies Begins Today

As posted this week on-line at Florida Realtors®:

“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – May 29, 2019 – A little nudging for storm prep shouldn’t be necessary after Matthew battered Florida’s east coast in 2016, Irma essentially drenched the entire state in 2017, and Michael ground up a chunk of the Panhandle last year.

“Still, Floridians will have seven days to build a hurricane-season stockpile – including batteries, flashlights and radios – free of sales taxes, beginning Friday. “You’ll have the opportunity to get pretty much whatever you need. It is very important to do so,” says James Miller, the Florida Retail Federation’s external affairs director. “Make sure you have your disaster preparedness and emergency kits ready to go, because we ultimately will have a storm at some point.”

“The discount is part of a tax-relief package (HB 7123) that lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved earlier this month. The week-long sales tax holiday is expected to save shoppers $800,000, nearly one-tenth of the total tax-package savings projected for the fiscal year beginning July 1, according to state economists.

The discounted items will likely coincide with hurricane-season enticements from businesses, such as Lowes, Home Depot and Harbor Freight, that are already highlighting the arrival of the six-month 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which begins Saturday. “During that time, obviously all of the stores will be stocked in preparation for the holiday and in preparation hopefully for no upcoming storms,” Miller said.

“The discounted supplies are just part of what Floridians need to be prepared for any disaster, says Mark Wool, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. “You need to be able to be self-sufficient, without the aid of anyone else, including EMS (emergency medical services), for three to five days,” Wool said. “We need a gallon of water per person and pet per day, non-perishable foods, flashlights, battery-powered radios, batteries for your flashlight, prescriptions, and make sure your gas tank is full.”

“Jim Zingale, executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue, encouraged all Floridians to exploit the “holiday.” “While living in and visiting Florida offers many benefits and advantages, it is important to keep the potential for severe weather hazards and threats in mind,” Zingale says.

“Items eligible for the May 31-June 6 tax break

  • Reusable ice that costs $10 or less
  • Self-powered light sources, $20 or less
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks, $25 or less
  • Nonelectric food storage coolers, $30 or less
  • Packs of AA-cell, AAA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt or 9-volt batteries, $30 or less
  • Self-powered radios, two-way radios or weather-band radios, $50 or less
  • Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting, $50 or less
  • Tie-down kits, $50 or less
  • Portable generators, $750 or less
  • The rental or repair of items doesn’t qualify for the exemption, and items sold at airports and theme parks aren’t included in the deal.”

Source: News Service of Florida, Tom Urban, Jim Turner

Sanibel’s Summer Youth Activities

Yesterday was the last day of school in Lee County public schools. For families looking for something for children to do over the summer, the City of Sanibel and several island organizations still have openings for a variety of programs and camps. Here are a few:

Sanibel Recreation Center – Summer Day Camp, a 9-week traditional camp from June 3 to August 2, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (no camp July 4). Available for children entering kindergarten through eighth grade. More info at www.MySanibel.com

Sanibel Sea School – camps on marine-related topics from early June to early August. Most are day camps for ages 6-13 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There also are half-day camps for ages 4-6 or “Sea Squirts” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Most include time at the beach with island skills camps for little ones, and paddle-boarding and reef snorkeling for teens. There too are several overnight camping expeditions for ages 11-12 and 13-15, separately. Visit www.SanibelSeaSchool.org/sanibel-camps for more info.

The Community House – Home to the Culinary Education Center of Sanibel, kids summer cooking classes are offered from July 29 to Aug 2 for ages 8-14. A second camp is scheduled for August 5-9. (both are 9 a.m. until noon). More info at www.SanibelCommunityHouse.net .

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 24-31, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #1041 2/2 $484K, Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $499K, Yacht Haven #4 3/2 $899K, White Pelican #114 2/2 $988K, Tarpon Beach #104 2/2 $1,149,555.

4 price changes: Sanibel Arms #C7 1/1 now $399.9K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 now $596.5K, Pointe Santo #D21 2/2 now $629K, Seawind II #2 2/2.5 now $876.5K.

1 new sale: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 listed at $249K.

5 closed sales: Sundial #H108 1/1 $415K, Loggerhead Cay #471 2/2 $522.5K, Kings Crown #210 2/2 $775K, Sanddollar #C203 3/2 $1.15M, Sanibel Surfside #231 3/3.5 $1.2M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 730 Cardium St 2/2 $599K, 1558 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $749K (our listing).

View from 1558 Sand Castle Rd

8 price changes: 6447 Pine Ave 3/2.5 now $595K, 4245 Gulf Pines Dr 3.2 now $695K, 9401 Beverly Ln 3/3 now $739K, 405 Tiree Cir 3/2 now $755K, 218 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 now $799K, 534 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $969K, 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $1.139M, 2915 Wulfert Rd 5/6.5 now $2.895M.

6 new sales: 1886 Farm Trl 3/3 listed at $629K, 640 Oliva St 3/2 listed at $649K, 4779 Rue Helene 3/3.5 listed at $699K, 556 Chert Ct 4/3 listed at $799K (our listing), 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 listed at $889K, 1561 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/4 listed at $2.395M.

556 Chert Ct

5 closed sales: 651 Donax St 4/2 duplex $475K, 328 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $546.5K, 1159 Golden Olive Ct 3/2 $1.14M, 2282 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.34M, 2332 Troon Ct 4/5 $1.525M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: 9270 Kincaid Ct listed at $149K (our listing), 5618 Baltusrol Ct listed at $339K.

9270 Kincaid Ct

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Seabreeze #1253 3/3 now $1.6999M

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Villas #2418 2/2 $655K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 42 Oster Ct 2/2.5 $1.095M.

1 price change: 17030 Captiva Dr now $7.4M.

1 new sale: 11530 Laika Ln 4/4 listed at $2.13M.

1 closed sale: 56 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 $825K.

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, we’re hoping for more bananas! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan