Happy Friday at The SanibelSusan Team

Another Friday report from SanibelSusan and team. Funny weather here this week – still summerlike, warm and humid, but two mostly-overcast days in a row now, rather than bright sunny days with occasional afternoon or evening showers.

meals of hope logoNext Friday at the Sanibel Community House is the Meals-of-Hope food-packaging event that the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® is sponsoring and my committee is ringleading. I am happy to report that we have met both of our goals: 1) to raise more than $5,000 to pay for the food/supplies, and 2) to line up at least 50 volunteers to help in the packing. If any of you are here and want to help, just let us know in advance so that we have a task lined up for you. It will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on July 28. Our goal then is to pack 20,000 meals during the two hours.

Below are a couple of news items, followed by the action posted since last Friday in the islands’ Multiple Listing Service. Not much action this week, but The SanibelSusan Team has good representation! Woohoo!

Other Dates to Remember

Noahs-Ark-2August 4, Friday – Noah’s Ark Annual Bag Day from 9 to 11 a.m. Fit as much as you can in an bag purchased in the parking lot for $4. Any items that don’t fit in the bag are 80% off. After August 4, the Ark is closed for cleaning and repairs. It reopens October 3 on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. In November, full schedule resumes (weekdays and the 1st Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. Donations are accepted beginning September 1. More info at www.saintmichaels-sanibel.org.

ding darling goose logoUntil August 28 – Seniors age 62 and older can purchase a lifetime pass “America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior” for $10 at the “Ding” Darling Nature Store when the price increases to $80. The pass allows free lifetime admission to most national wildlife refuges, including “Ding’ Darling, plus national parks and monuments, and more than 2,000 sites manages by federal agencies. This is the 1st senior pass price increase since 1994.

Homeowners Association Restrictions Have an Expiration Date

henderson-franklinA good article was posted on-line June 28, 2017 by Amanda Barritt, with Henderson Franklin Attorneys at Law.

“With the turnover of volunteer homeowner’s association (“HOA”) board members over time, it is not surprising that certain important long-term issues may be overlooked. There is one very important law, however, which board members may not be aware of that can eliminate an HOA’s ability to enforce its restrictions.

“I am often contacted by an HOA board at the last minute before their restrictions “expire” under this law and even sometimes after they expire. Below is a breakdown of the two different processes an HOA must follow to preserve the restrictions before they expire or, if the deadline has been missed, to revitalize the restrictions.

What is the law and why? The Marketable Records Title Act (“MRTA”) is a Florida law designed to eliminate “stale” recorded claims that affect the title to real property, such as old recorded leases for which the beneficiaries have long departed or dissolved. Without MRTA, these documents still have to be shown on title commitments and policies even though may have long since become irrelevant and unused. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exemption to save old (and still active) association covenants unless the affirmative steps are taken to preserve them.

What does it mean to HOA’s? The simplified explanation is that the recorded covenants governing a community must be preserved before the end of a 30-year period beginning on the date they were recorded. The Florida statute lays out the process that an association must go through to preserve the effectiveness of the recorded covenants if the 30 years has not yet expired. The preservation process will mean that the covenants are effective under MRTA for another 30 years. HOA’s must still look at the Declaration to determine if the covenants expire under their own terms at another date without an automatic renewal.

“Merely amending or restating the covenants does not restart the 30-year clock. The statutory process must be followed. For preservation, the Statement of Marketable Title Action provided in Section 712.06, Florida Statutes must be sent to all homeowners seven (7) days in advance of the board meeting to consider preserving the covenants. The Board must approve the preservation by at least 2/3 vote of the Board, and then a Notice of Marketable Title Action is recorded in the public records.

What if an HOA misses the 30-year deadline? “Revitalization” is required to reinstate the recorded covenants for another 30 years. The revitalization process that applies to HOA’s is found in the Homeowners’ Association Act (ch. 720, Florida Statutes).

Revitalization Process: In order to revitalize, a majority of the owners of the affected property must approve of the revitalization. The process also includes:

  • Forming an “Organizing Committee” to prepare the proposed revitalized documents.
  • Providing notice to all homeowners that includes the HOA documents (as well as the current articles of incorporation and bylaws), a graphic depiction of the property (often a copy of the plat, if applicable), and the form of written consent for them to sign to approve the revitalization (unless the HOA is holding a vote at a meeting).
  • Submitting the approved documents, the consents, and other documentation verifying that the proper process was followed to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“FDEO”) for approval.
  • Upon approval by the FDEO, the revitalized Declaration, the current Articles, Bylaws, and affected property owners and property list are recorded.

Bottom Line: It is important to note that the expiration date under MRTA applies regardless of whether an HOA’s Declaration of Restrictions contains its own expiration date. Both the MRTA deadline and the Declaration’s own expiration provisions must be addressed by all HOA’s. The process may be daunting for some Boards, but a successful revitalization or preservation is possible with some diligence. If you have any questions or concerns regarding how MRTA applies to your HOA, please feel free to contact me at amanda.barritt@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1108.”

Green Sea Turtles On Sanibel

GREEN-SEA-TURTLE-900The first green sea turtle was tagged on June 5, on the west end, just east of Bowman’s Beach. Since then four more have been tagged here making the Green Sea Turtle in Southwest Florida program a huge success for the first year.

Conservancy of SW FL logo.pngThe Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) partnered with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this year to tag green sea turtles. As of last week, two green sea turtles were tagged with satellite trackers on Keewaydin Island and five on Sanibel.

SCCF logoSCCF has a nighttime tagging crew monitoring the beaches seven days week to tag loggerhead turtles with flipper and pit tags, and taking measurements. So far this year, the crew has encountered 202 loggerheads, while 20 green sea turtles have been reported on the island. Green sea turtles nest biannually.

In addition to looking different, these two turtles have different nesting characteristics. Green sea turtles use symmetric movements while crawling on the beach, while loggerheads crawl like babies. Green sea turtles also have a tail drag because their tails are a bit longer. The green sea turtle also spends a long time covering their nest to camouflage it from predators. Two of the five green sea turtles were found nesting at 5 a.m. Green sea turtles lay a clutch of about 136 eggs, while loggerheads lay an average of 110 eggs. Follow the green sea turtles that have been tagged on www.movebank.org.

To help protect sea turtles, please:

  • Hunker down when spotting a sea turtle on the beach, especially when seeing a green sea turtle. If it sees a human near them, it is enough to scare them back into the water.
  • Turn lights completely off near and on the beach, or place an approved red filter over the light. Sea turtles are not attracted to the long wave length of red lights.
  • Make sure beaches are clean and flat. Flatten sand castles, fill in holes, and remove beach furniture from the beach at night.
  • If you see a sea turtle nesting, do not approach it, but rather watch from a distance and hunker down.

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

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Pointe Santo #B2 2/2 $825K, Tamarind #B202 2/2.5 $1.749M.

1 price change: Snug Harbor #312 3/2 now $669K.

1 new sale: Blind Pass #B105 2/2 listed at $464.9K.

1 closed sale: Spanish Cay #D1 2/2 $360K (our listing & sale).

HOMES

1 new listing: 1035 S. Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 $1.149M.

6 price changes: 1717 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $649K; 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $669K; 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 now $733,888; 225 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 now $749K, 765 Conch Ct 5075 5/4 now $899K, 5075 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 now $3.45M.

1 new sale: 625 Lake Murex Cir 3/2.5 listed at $699K (our listing).

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 0 Island Inn Rd now $995,555.

1 new sale: 2501 Wulfert Rd listed at $183.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 6/5/2 now $3.699M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 4 Sunset Captiva Ln 3/2.5 $2.345M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Here’s hoping your summer is happy too! Next Friday’s update will be posted earlier in the day! Happy weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Causeway 07-15-17

 

Rain, Rain Went Away, But Probably Not For Long

It’s Susan with another Friday report from now-sunny Sanibel. This time of the year, it’s hard to know when a shower may surprise us. As they say in Florida during the summer, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” Here’s more info.

The Rainy Season Is Here

sun & rainNo doubt about it this week, the rainy season has begun and we have the mosquitoes to prove it. With serious showers over much of the state this week, the rain has put the Caloosahatchee and the estuary in a good place and given water managers a bit of relief. Local papers are reporting that Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources, James Evans said, “The near-term perspective is very good.”

During the last 18 months, the Caloosahatchee estuary, San Carlos Bay, and the islands’ gulf beaches have seen both ends of the spectrum. From the heavy rains in January 2016, estuaries on both coasts were negatively affected when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released high flows of water from Lake Okeechobee.

Then it stopped raining, Lake O’s water level dropped, and water releases from the lake were less than enough to keep proper salinity in the local estuary. The low flows also have had the effect of excellent water clarity in the bay and beaches evidenced all over social media the last couple of weeks, with photos posted of glistening clear water – better some say than they ever remember seeing it.

Early June West wind beach

As Director Evans recently reported to City Council, “Water clarity is good at this time as a result of the reduced flows,” he said. “With the rain, we will see flows increase and we probably will get more water than we want. Low flows are not great for salinity levels, but they are great for water clarity.”

“When the lake falls to a low level, it becomes a water supply issue,” Evans told City Council. Water releases down the Caloosahatchee River, on this coast, and St. Lucie River, on the Atlantic side, are at the bottom of the release food chain. The water district controls lake releases for agricultural, commercial and residential interests. After those are met, it is decided how much water the Corps of Engineers will allow down the two rivers.

With the lake still low and rainy season just beginning, both the water district and the Corps of Engineers may soon have enough flexibility to take care of all interests, including the estuaries. But this opportunity is rare, which is why it is important to continue to push to establish water storage areas on all sides of Lake Okeechobee. Storage areas would allow water to be held in rainy times and released in dry times.

mosquito-clip-art-mosquito-clipart-6In the meantime, locals are looking forward to tonight when evening flyovers by Lee County Mosquito Control are scheduled.

As posted yesterday on the City’s web site: “If you are experiencing a high number of mosquitoes at your residence, please make a service request by clicking on this link http://www.angwatechnology.com/lee_devel/PublicServiceRequest/ or contact the LCMCD directly at (239) 694-2174.  If the LCMCD receives complaints from a specific area or neighborhood, the District dispatches personnel to conduct a mosquito count and if warranted, will fog or spray the area.

“For additional information regarding mosquito control on Sanibel, please visit the Lee County Mosquito Control District’s website at http://www.lcmcd.com

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayAt the office, in addition to all of us playing post-season catch-up, Dave and I both have been working toward some new sales and checking off the boxes on some contracts that are in the pipeline. The activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a few other news items below.

At the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors

SanCapAssnLogoThough we had no local Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, this week my Communications and Public Relations Committee got the arrangements worked out and Board approval for an Association-sponsored meal-packaging event – as part of our 2017 “Working Together To Make A Difference Campaign.”.

Over the next few weeks, our goals are to raise the $5,000 and get the manpower needed to package 20,000 nourishing healthy meals for donation to those in need.

meals of hope logoTo be held at Sanibel’s Community House on July 28 from 3 to 5 p.m., island Realtors®, business partners, and their families will man the assembly lines where the direction, supplies, and equipment will be provided by Meals of Hope, who then will distribute the meals to local food pantries.

Teammate Elise and I have participated in these meal packaging events before. Not only are they fast-paced and fun, they are a great way to give back. Food needs are especially high in the summer when schools are out, so please let me know if you would like to contribute or participate – or check out other events at www.Meals-of-Hope.org. (All donations are tax deductible.)

How to Keep Hackers Out

emailAn article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” on line on Wed, offered some advice good for not just Realtors®, but the public too.

“The FBI reports that email phishing accounts for 95% of cybersecurity threats. That’s why client communications are a key component of “cyber hygiene,” legal and law enforcement experts said during the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Cybersecurity Conference in Chicago, which focused on threats to the real estate industry.”

The typical advice to employ complicated passwords and change them often isn’t enough to thwart hackers, according to the FBI special agent, who leads a team of cybercrime watchdogs at the agency’s Chicago field office. He also said that email hacking has become so pervasive that cybercrime now ranks as the FBI’s third-highest priority after terrorism and counterintelligence.

A common practice involves cybercriminals hacking into practitioners’ email accounts and sending fraudulent wire-transfer instructions to their clients. That’s why having a strong email password is so important. Longer passwords are suggested—at least 26 characters—and more secure than making them overly complicated with capital letters and symbols.

Frequently changing passwords also isn’t the best prevention against cybersecurity threats. If you use a pattern that’s easy to guess to update your passwords more frequently, it may give hackers an in to breach your email.

Recommended is using a password management system to store passwords; then you can ensure each one meets security standards without worrying about forgetting them.

Shells – Shells – & More Shells

sundial-logoI had lunch Wednesday at Sundial Resort where the huge waves were crashing on the beach – a sight not often seen in the gulf. It certainly wasn’t good beach weather for sunbathers here on vacation, but a prelude to the continued reports of superb shelling this week. Some long-time island shell-aholics dropped in at the office yesterday and described Sanibel shelling over the last couple of days as “superb”.

It’s not just mosquitoes and “green” grass that have resulted from the recent rain storms, the number of Junonia-finders has increased too.

Sanibel-shells-from-storm-windsThere are five different photos this week in the “Island Sun” alone. Some of us have been looking decades for one of those shells. From Lighthouse Beach to Blind Pass to Clam Bayou, reports are there are more perfect empty shells of many varieties rolling in every day.

Good shelling often is the best part about the rainy season.

Upcoming Events – Planning Ahead

Sat, June 17 – Free Admission Day at Sanibel Historical Village & Museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with full guided tour at 10:30 a.m.

4th-of-july-clip-artTues, July 4 – 27th Annual Sanibel Independence Day Parade at 9:30 a.m. Now is the time for entries to sign up. 2017 Parade T-Shirts are available at Bank of the Islands.

Tues July 4 – 38th Annual Road Rally at noon starting/ending at Timbers Restaurant parking lot. More info at http://www.SanCapOptimist.org

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 2-9, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sundial West #F306 1/1 $465K.

2 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 now $479.5K, Coquina Beach #1D 2/2 now $559.9K.

1 new sale: Loggerhead Cay #592 2/2 listed at $629K.

3 closed sales: Sundial East #L401 2/2 $714K, Sanibel Surfside #225 2/2 $750K, Sundial West #K403 2/2 $875K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 9113 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 $649,999; 765 Conch Ct 5/4 $939K.

9 price changes: 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 now $559K, 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 now $569K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex now $599K, 1807 Buckthorn Ln 3/2.5 now $695K, 485 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $1.075M, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 now $1.295M, 750 Periwinkle Way 5/4 now $1.75M, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 now $2.395M, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.727M.

3 new sales: 769 Pyrula 3/2 listed at $599K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $599K, 1032 Lindgren Blvd 3/2.5 listed at $895K.

8 closed sales: 1596 Bunting Ln 2/2 $490K, 1954 Roseate Ln 3/2 $534K, 5308 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $542.5K, 3152 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $635K, 1252 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $659K, 276 Ferry Landing Dr 4/3 $880K, 9019 Mockingbird Dr 4/4 $1.125M, 1757 Venus Dr 4/2.5 $1.74M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 540 East Lake Rd now $169K, 1820 Ardsley Way now $185K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 listed at $315K.

2 closed sales: Beach Villas #2422 1/1 $512K, Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 $590K.

HOMES

No new listings & price changes.

2 new sales: 14980 Binder Dr 4/3 listed at $1.198M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 listed at $6.245M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16950 Captiva Dr $2.7M.

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

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Dodging Summer Storms & Wonderful Sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Florida Realtors logoFollowing the Florida Realtors 2015 Convention, The SanibelSusan Team and I are back into the swing of things on Sanibel. Though the islands are pretty quiet now – sometimes no cars passing by on Periwinkle Way – we all will be anxiously watching the weather this weekend hoping that Tropical Storm Erika heads away from Florida. Heavy but occasional showers this week have “greened” the island up, while there have been reports of minor flooding in some of the heavily traveled areas off island.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoWe are happy to report that though there was only one new listing on Sanibel this week, it was a new condo listing at SanibelSusan Realty.

A few of our listings had good showings this week too, but not much sales action was reported. Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Barrier-Island-Title-Web-bannerToday we had an advance signing for an upcoming closing. Barrier Island Title Services, Inc. who holds our company escrows and performs most of SanibelSusan’s closings, usually, with notice, can prepare closing documents in advance. In this case, the sellers’ signing coincided with their last island visit before the actual closing date. The sale will not officially occur until later, but signing ahead eliminates the need for a mail-away for that half of the sale. Thanks to Barrier’s Closing Officer Angie Martin for facilitating this convenience.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoOur local Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® held its August membership breakfast meeting yesterday. Members were updated on the leadership team’s meetings in Orlando last week and the educational segment of the meeting included a presentation by Board Certified Real Estate Attorney Ned Hale on the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau Rules that become effective October 3. Known as the Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule, here are some highlights.

Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule

Federally-mandated changes affect residential sales with mortgage financing and apply to any loan application taken by a lender on or after October 3. They are the result of the Dodd-Frank-Act of 2010.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an entity created by the Dodd Frank Act, issued a new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) final regulation that, among other things, created two new forms (each with many variations) and new 3-business day delivery requirements.

Beyond possibility adding more time to the window from contract to closing, the changes also involve new terminology. For example, a new form called the “Loan Estimate” replaces the former Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Initial Truth-in-Lending Disclosure (TIL). More importantly, a new “Closing Disclosure” will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and Final Truth-in-Lending Disclosure (TIL).

Under the new rule, the consumer is required to receive the new “Loan Estimate” three business days after application. What constitutes application? 1. Consumer’s name, 2. Consumer’s income, 3. Consumer’s social security number, 4. A property address, 5. An estimate value of the property, 6. The mortgage loan amount sought. The “Loan Estimate” will be issued by the lender or mortgage broker.

The consumer also is required to receive the new “Closing Disclosure” three business days before the closing or when the loan is consummated. The “Closing Disclosure” will be issued by the lender or settlement agent if the lender delegates that responsibility to them.

How is this going to impact a Realtor® and their business?

  • Closings may take longer because of the 3-business day review periods.
  • Different forms will be used for most transactions.
  • Realtor® contact information and license numbers will be on the new “Closing Disclosure”.
  • Buyers may receive multiple “Loan Estimates” due to changed circumstances, multiple applications, or multiple applications with different loan products with the same lender.
  • Clients may receive multiple “Closing Disclosures”, some with a three business-day waiting period and some without, and some before closing and some after.

Like all new rules, there will be a learning curve, but I think that we can assume that the closing process will take longer if there is a mortgage. If a transaction, with bank financing, normally would take 30-45 days to close, it likely will take longer. If expenses are to be included on a “Closing Disclosure”, the lender and the title company will need the invoices well in advance of the closing date. Contact information for home- and condo-owners associations will need to be provided earlier too. Realtor® communication will remain key, particularly with lenders and title companies regarding any potential delays, out-of-state signings, powers-of-attorney, or seller credit adjustments. Getting from contract to closing always takes Realtor® attention and diligence – but after October 3, it will be even more important.

Upcoming Realtor Events

Wondering what local Realtors® are doing to help the community? Many of us have marked our calendars for the upcoming events.

  • SCCF logoCoastal Clean-up – Sep 19 – Realtor® teams will participate in this world-wide Coastal Clean-up event which here is organized by SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation).
  • Habitat for Humanity – Date TBD in Sep – In May, Sanibel Realtors® prepped and painted a new Habitat for Humanity home in San Carlos Park. It was especially rewarding because the Mom, who with her children would be moving into the home, worked hand-in-hand. A date for some new home building tasks soon will be assigned to Sanibel’s Realtors®.Habitat_for_humanity logo
  • Meals of Hope – Date TBD in Nov – Meals of Hope is a local non-profit that arranges for the packaging of nutritional meals by volunteers. The food packages then are distributed by accredited food bank partners. Last summer, Elise and I joined other real estate association colleagues from Southwest Florida in one of these food packaging events in Bonita Springs where over 20,000 meals were put together in an afternoon. Many of these meals went to children and their families who were not getting school-provided meals because of the summer school break. meals of hopeSince its start in 2007, Meals for Hope has packaged and distributed more than 27 million meals. The upcoming Sanibel/Captiva Islands Realtor® event will be held at the association’s meeting room where we hope to package at least 5,000 meals.
  • american heart logoHeart Walk – January 31 – Realtors® again will participate in this early-2016 fundraiser where the Sanibel/Captiva Heart Walk goal is to raise $50K for the American Heart and American Stroke Associations.

Where to Dine in September?

diningIf you are planning to be on the island next month, remember that is when many of the local restaurants and stores perform their annual housekeeping and repairs, while many employees get well-deserved vacations. Here are a few of the temporary closings that we heard about this week.

  • Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro – Closes after dinner on tomorrow (8/29) and will be closed the month of September.
  • Over Easy Café – Will be closed for just ten days, September 14-24.
  • Traders Café & Store – Closes after dinner on tomorrow (8/29) and will be closed most of September (until 9/29). They will, however, be open for dinner the evening of September 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. for the annual Celebrity Island Dinner to benefit The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Tickets are required, www.shellmuseum.org

Winter-Weary Home Buyers Heading to Florida

wall street journalThanks, Scott, for sharing the following article from the August 19th “Wall Street Journal”.

“In terms of real estate, the winter of 2014-15 may be the best thing that ever happened…to Florida.

The Sunshine State is No. 2, behind California, in jumbo volume for both primary and secondary homes at Quicken Loans, says Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken, one of the country’s largest jumbo lenders. “When you have got people who get cold in the wintertime, they start thinking about places they would rather be. And that places Florida at the top of the list,” he says.Florida the sunshine state

“In June, sales of single-family homes were up 19.6% and condo sales 14.6% in Florida compared with a year ago, according to Florida Realtors, the state’s largest trade association for residential real-estate professionals.

“The median home-sale price for single-family homes in Florida is $203,500, well under the $417,000 limit for government-backed loans in all but two counties in the state. Driving jumbo lending are markets like Miami Beach, where conforming loans are capped at $417,000 but the median sale price of a bay-front home is $2.7 million and waterfront estates can reach $40 million.

florida“At Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the top metro area in Florida for jumbo lending is Naples-Marco Island, located in Collier County, where the conforming loan limit is $425,000. (The only other county that exceeds the $417,000 limit is Monroe County in the Florida Keys, where conforming loans are capped at $529,000.)

“Other Florida metro areas with high jumbo volume include Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area (median sales price $295,000), North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota ($245,000), Cape Coral-Fort Myers ($212,250) and Jacksonville ($212,000), says Andre Brooks, Florida regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which holds the largest volume of jumbo mortgages in the U.S.

“Lenders say that many borrowers in Florida are retirees moving south or out-of-state residents buying vacation homes. But another big demographic is self-employed entrepreneurs, says Tom Wind, executive vice president of home lending at Jacksonville, Fla.-based EverBank. Small-business owners like the fact that Florida has no state income tax and a business-friendly environment, he adds.

“EverBank also does most of its Florida jumbo lending in the south and southwest coastal regions, with the majority of loans in the $800,000 to $1 million range, Mr. Wind says. “We see a lot of people coming from the Northeast to the east side of Florida, and from the Midwest to the West Coast,” he says.

“Foreign buyers, mostly from France and South America, are also big in the Miami area, where more than half of sales this summer have been cash transactions, says Ines Hegedus-Garcia, an agent with Miami-based RelatedISG International Realty. In hot areas like Miami Beach, home buyers should be prepared for bidding wars and final sale prices above listing prices, she adds. In competitive markets, borrowers are sometimes losing out to cash buyers even when they bid higher.

“Here are a few more tips for Florida jumbo borrowers:

  • Higher down payments. While jumbo mortgages typically require a 20% down payment, some Miami sellers will also make that mandatory even when the buyer’s lender has looser requirements, Ms. Hegedus-Garcia says. “The seller wants to see a stronger buyer,” she adds. Many Florida borrowers put down even more, 30% or 40%, on homes in the $1 million range, Mr. Banfield says.
  • Cash now, finance later. One way that jumbo borrowers compete with cash buyers is to purchase with cash and then refinance a few months later, Mr. Brooks says. Roughly half of Quicken’s Florida jumbos are refinances, Mr. Banfield says.
  • Consider an ARM. About 40% of Wells Fargo’s jumbo mortgages in Florida are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) compared with only 10% of the general mortgage population, Mr. Brooks says. Quicken also sees a lot of ARM borrowers who aren’t quite at retirement but want to buy a second home. They get a jumbo with low rates for the initial five years, for example, then use the proceeds from the eventual sale of their primary home to pay off the ARM before higher rates kick in, Mr. Banfield says.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 21-28

Sanibel

CONDOS

Pool

Compass Point pool

1 new listing: Compass Point #221 2/2 $699K (our listing).

3 price changes: White Caps South #5 1/1 now $520K, Mariner Point #813 2/2 now $549K, Seascape #301 3/3 now $1.139M.

1 new sale: Sundial B408 1/1 listed at $465K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #H302 2/2 $550K, Island Beach Club #P2E 2/2 $720K, Sundial #A301 2/2 $845K, Lighthouse Point #323 3/2 $830K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 1004 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 now $899K.

2 new sales: 580 Chert Ct 2/2 listed at $580K, 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 listed at $1.55M.

4 closed sales: 9439 Coventry Ct 2/2 $515K, 1314 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $525K, 1409 Albatross Rd 3/2 $565K, 554 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $680K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $205,555.

1 new sale: 247+255 Robinwood Cir listed at $229K.

1 closed sale: 9239 Dimmick Dr $133K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $580K.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #1A 3/2.5 listed at $1.55M.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #30 3/2 $2.1M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11546/48 Wightman Ln 3/2.5 $3.8M.

1 price change: 11520 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 now $2.29M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 $2.225M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, here’s hoping that Erika heads out to sea & misses Florida completely!

Fingers crossed, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan