Real Estate Scoop from Sunny Sanibel!


It has been another quiet week on sunny Sanibel. The local and national news about the green algae in the river and canals in Cape Coral is making rental phones ring with questions and some cancellations, but if you are here, like The SanibelSusan Team, you have noticed that the gulf waters still are sparkling and usually clear.

Here’s a cool picture shared with me this week by Jimmy and Jim Anderson who handle our professional photography. I told them I’d give them a plug when I posted this. Jim’s been taking care of our listing pictures for 25+years! Jimmy’s the drone expert! Nice job, guys! Check out more of their work at ImagesForSuccess.com.

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Below are a couple of news items followed by the postings in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoThis is the off-week for the islands’ Thursday morning Realtor® Caravan Meeting, but next week is our July membership meeting, which always brings more members out.

Our new listing at Moonshadows #2C already is signed up to be on the caravan – open July 26 from 9 a.m. until noon at 1351 Middle Gulf Drive.  (Here’s a link to the streaming video for Moonshadows, by Jim and Jimmy Anderson).

meals of hope logoFirst, on Tuesday is the Association of Realtors® hosted meal packing event for “Meals of Hope”. We have raised the $5,000 needed to pay for the food for 20,000+meals and have more than 50 volunteers ready to get to work, but there is always room for more, so let us know if you want to participate. Teammate Elise and I will be packing then from 3 to 5 p.m., while Teammate Dave keeps the office running.

New Eats

paperfig kitchen logoThe word is out that Sanibel’s Paper Fig Kitchen is having their soft opening today, July 20. Located in Tahitian Gardens here is what their website says about their offerings: “PAPER FIG KITCHEN in Sanibel believes that even a quick breakfast bite, lunch on the go (or on our Shop porch), afternoon nosh, or “I don’t have time to shop, chop, and prep” take along dinner should be creatively crafted, absolutely fresh, and without a doubt, delicious!

“Every item at PAPER FIG KITCHEN is made in House from scratch…. which includes our fresh to freezer hors d’oeuvres, soups, prepared/green salads, entrees/sides, trays & platters, dressings, sauces, garnishes, etc.  Client favorites, seasonal fare, daily specials, and sweet treats will be available at our storefront…. Our Kitchen to yours! “ They offer catering and private chef services too. More info and menu at https://paperfigkitchen.com/

National Flood Insurance Program Expiring

NFIPThe SanibelSusan Team has heeded the call-to-action to encourage Congress to reform and extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which expires July 31 denying necessary insurance coverage to homeowners and buyers in more than 20,000 communities nationwide. We don’t want to know what will happen if this doesn’t occur. The National Association of Realtors® supports:

  • Reauthorizing and gradually strengthening the NFIP so it is sustainable over the long run;
  • Encouraging the development of private market options to offer comparable flood insurance coverage at lower cost than NFIP;
  • Providing federal assistance to high-risk property owners, including guaranteed loans, grants and buyouts in order to build to higher standards and keep insurance rates affordable;
  • Provide fair flood insurance rates that better reflect the property’s flood risk;
  • Improving flood map accuracy, so fewer property owners have to file expensive appeals.

You don’t need to be a Realtor® to also encourage Congress.  CLICK BELOW TO:
Tell Congress to EXTEND NFIP and PASS Flood Insurance Reform Thank you.

Florida’s Gross Domestic Product Hits $1-Trillion Mark

Florida Realtors logoOn Monday, FloridaRealtors® on line posted the following article from “The Orlando Sentinel”.

“Florida’s gross domestic product topped $1 trillion Friday, an economic output that would make the Sunshine State the world’s 17th largest economy if it were an independent country, the state chamber said.

“The milestone has been expected. University of Central Florida economic analyst Sean Snaith said the state has been strong in all areas of employment. “This is really being driven by fundamentals,” he said. “This is not just a fluke of an overheated economy.”

“Florida’s economy has grown larger than Saudi Arabia’s, Switzerland’s and Argentina’s, the chamber said.

“The economist who authored the study pointed to growth in manufacturing. “Those [jobs] are growing faster here than the U.S. the last few years, ” said Jerry Parrish, Florida Chamber Foundation chief economist.

“The $1 trillion figure was calculated based on the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ most recent GDP number of $984 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, and a formula that projects current statistics that have yet to be factored in by the bureau, including job growth, goods, services and other factors.

“Key factors driving the state’s growth that can be seen in Metro Orlando’s economy include low unemployment, population growth and tourism. The broad successes in those areas make the $1 trillion figure sustainable, Snaith said. “The near-term risk of recession is still fairly low,” Snaith said. “… Momentum in the labor market, the tax cuts and jobs act, all that has been a force of adrenalin, if you will, for economic growth. Could we drop below that? It’s possible, but that would be temporary. This is a mile marker on a longer-run trend as opposed to being fleeting or cyclical.”

“Florida has been adding $2.7 billion to its GDP each day on average, the Chamber said in its release.

At the start of 2008, the state’s GDP stood at $757 billion adjusted for inflation, according to BEA. It dropped to $715 billion by the third quarter of 2009 but has since risen steadily. The $1 trillion projection would represent a 39.86 percent increase.

“The Chamber cited unemployment lower than the national average and other factors driving the growth.… Florida continues to break visitation records, and our state is continuing to diversify its economy,” its release said.”

Where Are The Buyers?

realtor logoThe July-August issue of REALTOR® Magazine has a good article by NAR Chief Economist (and my favorite crystal-ball reader), Lawrence Yun. His answer to the above question is “They’re waiting until their earnings and home prices are better aligned.

“The economy is solidly advancing. The anticipated growth rate of 4 to 5% in the 2nd quarter is remarkable. For the year, the GDP will exceed 3% for the 1st time since 2005. Employment, likewise, is strong: 5 million net new jobs over the past two years, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.8%, the lowest rate in 50 years. Wages are up too, by 2.8% over the last 12 months.

“There is more good news. Despite recent volatility, the stock market has been close to an all-time high, helping push combined wealth in the U.S. across the $100 trillion mark for the 1st time. The median home price has risen 40% over the last fives years and continues to climb.

“And yet home sales are down 1% from this time last year, and homebuyer sentiment is tepid. The number of consumers strongly expressing “it is a good time to buy” fell to 38.5% in the 1st half of the year compared to 45% at a similar period last period.

“What’s behind the mismatch? For many potential buyers, homes are just too expensive. That’s why more building is critical. Consider advocating for accelerated new construction in your community. Some goals to consider pursuing with local authorities: streamlining the housing permit process; reducing impact feees on new homes; reducing minimum lot sizes; expediting local environmental reviews; promoting the repurposing of outdated commercial buildings into residential units; amending rehabilitation codes, and encouraging use of prefabricated, modular housing, and accessory dwelling units.

“At the federal level, the National Association of REALTORS® is pushing for expanded vocational training in construction fields, revised condominium defect laws, and increased community bank lending for lot development. The combined impact of these efforts would be tremendous. Not only would these steps relieve the housing shortage, they’d help keep economic growth humming at 4% or more. And that would be a win for everyone.”

Summer Happenings

Burn 07-17-18

  • J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge Prescribed Burn – In a press release, the Refuge thanked all residents, visitors and partners for “a successful prescribed burn of the Botanical Site on Sanibel on Tuesday, July 17. It was conducted to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires and to help preserve the natural ecology of the area, officials reported. It was successful because of help from multiple partners. The Southern Florida and Caribbean Fire District of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted the prescribed burn with the assistance of: six national wildlife refuges, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, two federal units, Big Cypress National Preserve and Avon Park Air Force Range; and local partners, Florida Forest Service, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, City of Sanibel, Sanibel Police Department, Sanibel Recreation Center, Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, Lee County Mosquito Control District, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Island Water Association, Audubon Society and the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society.”
  • Causeway Bridge Inspection. – Notice was in the “Island Sun” today that Lee County Department of Transportation will be performing a bridge inspection on Sanibel Causeway Span A next week. The job is scheduled to start on Tuesday (July 24) and finish on Thursday (July 26), weather permitting. Lane closures will be controlled by flagging operation. Affected times will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 13-20, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

5 price changes: Cottage Colony West #108 1/1 now $624.9K, Cottage Colony West #132 1/1 now $634.9K, Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 now $758.5K, Sundial West #E104 2/2 now $850K, Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 now $1.649M.

4 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #141 1/1 listed at $435K, Loggerhead Cay #313 2/2 listed at $535K, Loggerhead Cay #434 2/2 listed at $629K, Sandpiper Beach #506 2/2 listed at $719K.

5 closed sales: Blind Pass #A205 2/2 $400K, Sanibel Moorings #941 2/2 $510K, Loggerhead Cay #433 2/2 $575K, Lighthouse Point #212 3/2 $746K, Sundial West #E310 2/2 $875K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 4436 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 $729K, 1307 Par View Dr 3/3 $1.199M, 920 Snowberry Ln 3/3.5 $1.225M.

9 price changes: 2074 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 now $55K, 1339 Tahiti Dr 3/2 half-duplex now $649K, 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $739.5K, 438 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 now $819K, 1035 S Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 now $999K, 6412 Pine Ave 3/2.5 now $1.175M, 794 Conch Ct 3/2.5 now $1.548M, 599 Lake Murex Cir 3/3.5 now $1.75M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.446M.

4 new sales: 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 listed at $539.9K; 3784 Coquina Dr 3/3 listed at $549,999; 978 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 listed at $695K; 5657 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 listed at $1.299M.

1 closed sales: 3708 Coquina Dr 3/2 $715K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 6089 Sanibel-Captiva Rd $4.995M.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: 5723 Baltusrol Ct $287K, 6000 White Heron Ln $705K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

4 price changes: Lands End Village #1655 2/2 now $1.055M, Beach Homes #2 3/2 now $1.999M, Beach Homes #18 4/3 now $3.375M, Beach Homes #13 4/4.5 now $3.949M.

1 new sale: Tennis Villas #3129 1/1 listed at $325K.

No closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

TGIFUntil next Friday!

Enjoy your weekend! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Easter Blessings Abound On Sanibel


It’s SanibelSusan, reporting about another fun week on the islands. Many end-of-season events are wrapping things up and the spring weather here has been perfect – bright sunny warm breezy days, mostly in the 70’s, with gorgeous sunsets, followed by mild evenings.

Susan Yard 03-18-16

 

Lots of families and visitors are here on spring breaks and Easter vacations, so there has been lots of roadway traffic. Bike paths are busy too. Adding to that, Vice President Pence arrived yesterday and is expected to be here until next Friday enjoying Sanibel. (My lips are sealed as to which client’s home he is visiting.)

We’ve had plenty of action in the office too, with sales processing toward closings, others in-the-works, and our listings getting good action. After a few news items, below is the activity reported this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

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

Congressman Francis Rooney – It was standing room only at 8 a.m. yesterday at the local Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting. That’s because the speaker was Congressman Francis Rooney who came to update us on several important issues that affect our business.

arter rooney corace 03-30-18

Association affiliate member Dave Arter with Private Client Insurance Services, Congressman Rooney, & 2017 Association President Dustyn Corace

SanCap Mtg 03-29-18

Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district which covers parts of Lee and Collier counties. He lives in Naples where he and his family have a base of diversified international group of companies that have created many jobs and economic opportunities in SW Florida and throughout the U.S. He also served many years as an U.S. ambassador.

His down-to-earth presentation cut right to the chase, explaining how the fight for water quality continues with good progress made in recent legislation, but often without the necessary appropriations. Attendees including Realtors®, business affiliates, and local leaders were encouraged to push with property owners to also contact their congressional leaders, not just here, but in other states to likewise recognize the importance of this resource and what must be done and funded to ensure its continuity. Segments from his pitch were included in a TV report last night on “water quality” that appeared on Wink News.

Congressman Rooney also briefly mentioned how the Federal flood insurance program has been extended until July. But, since it is now out of the federal budget package, could be in jeopardy. (You can be sure that local, state, and national Realtors® organizations are closely following that too.)

Florida Realtors logoFlorida Realtors® Honor Society – At the same meeting, five members of the local association were recognized by Florida Realtors® for achieving 2017 Honor Society. I am one of the lucky five – recognized for making the achievement for the 19th year.

FishFood for F.I.S.H. – Realtors® and attendees were reminded that in April the Association is collecting non-perishable food items to help F.I.S.H. of San-Cap replenish their food pantry which often gets low when the island thins out. Snowbirds and owners heading home for the summer are reminded to drop items at F.I.S.H. or call your Realtor® or SanibelSusan Realty. We will gladly pick your items up and get them delivered to the food pantry – or drop them off here at 2242 Periwinkle Way, Suite 3.

Upcoming Eventseaster61

  • 24th Annual Spring Festival – tomorrow March 31 from 9 to 11 a.m. hosted by The Children’s Education Center of the Islands, held at the Community Park, across the street from SanibelSusan Realty.
  • Easter Egg Hunt – tomorrow March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sanibel Community Church. In addition to the hunt – for 2,500 pre-filled eggs, there will be games, crafts, bounce house, storytelling, & free lunch.
  • 7th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza – tomorrow March 31 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Island Inn, both inside and outside activities (those inside at Traditions on the Beach).
  • BIG ARTS Chorus Spring Concerts – Wednesday April 4 and Thursday April 5 at 7 p.m. at Schein Performance Hall. It usually sells out, so get tickets at www.bigarts.org. SanibelSusan is in the alto section.

Living Shoreline Approved Along Woodring Road

Sanibelcityseal logoAt Tuesday’s Sanibel Planning Commission meeting, approval was given for a project between the City of Sanibel and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to create a living shoreline along the eroded section of Woodring Road right-of-way. According to a report in the “Island Sun”:

us fISH & WILDLIFE LOGO“The project seeks to rebuild approximately 170 linear feet of existing rip-rap and stabilize approximately 710 linear feet of existing vegetated shoreline by the installation of “living shoreline”, an erosion control structure comprised of rip-rap, concrete pipes and “reefballs” …which provide additional protection from wave energy created by wind, waves, and boat wakes…The City has budgeted $200,000 for the project, which will likely go out for bids in late April, then be brought before Sanibel City Council in May or June…once approved, the project would be completed this summer in 30 to 45 days….”

Great American Cleanup – Sanibel Canals

Here’s a little scoop from Facebook:

kEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL“Join Coastal Keepers and the Ocean Tribe Paddlers on Saturday, April 21st for The Great American Cleanup, an initiative created by Keep America Beautiful. This is a paddle-based cleanup, so we will travel through Sanibel’s east end canals via paddlecraft, gathering litter along the way. If you do not have a paddlecraft, Ocean Tribe Paddlers has a limited number of loaner paddleboards and kayaks available.

“We will meet at Sanibel Sea School’s Flagship Campus at 8 AM for a briefing, then divide into small groups before driving to the Sanibel Boat Ramp to launch our vessels. Parking is available there for a small fee. All cleanup materials will be provided. After the event, participants are invited to return to Sanibel Sea School for refreshments.

“To register for The Great American Cleanup, please go to http://klcb.org/great-american-cleanup.html and choose Sanibel Canals as your location. We kindly ask that you register online in advance to help our friends at Keep Lee County Beautiful measure participation. To reserve a paddleboard or kayak, please contact oceantribepaddlers@sanibelseaschool.org before the event.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 23-30, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 $760K, Sunset South #10C 2/2 $799K.

5 price changes: Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 now $699K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 now $729K, Loggerhead Cay #163 2/2 now $779K, Sundial West #E104 2/2 now $899K, Atrium #201 3/3 now $1.435M.

5 new sales: Seashells #42 2/2 listed at $379.9K, Sundial West #F306 1/1 listed at $465K, Sundial East #P204 2/2 listed at $899K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 3/3 listed at $968.5K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 listed at $1.045M.

5 closed sales: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 $288K, Spanish Cay #F3 1/1 $274K, Sanibel Seaview #C2 3/3 $920K, Loggerhead Cay #134 2/2 $935K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 $1.295M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 8991 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 $875K, 1438 Causey Ct 3/2 $895K, 1248 Par View Dr 4/4.5 $1.38M, 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1.699M, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.495M.

14 price changes: 4542 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 now $515K, 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $599K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 now $659K, 236 Hurricane Ln 2/3 now $689K, 4439 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 now $695K, 4239 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 now $699K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 now $879.5K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $949.9K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $1.099M, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $1.145M, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.155M, 852 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 now $1.159M, 490 Sawgrass Pl 3/2.5 now $1.649M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 now $1.894M.

11 new sales: 1438 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $379.9K, 9471 Peaceful Dr 3/2 listed at $469K, 1283 Par View Dr 2/2 listed at $574K, 1410 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $609K, 225 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 listed at $699K, 727 Birdie View Pt 3/2 listed at $779K, 5410 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 listed at $799K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed at $998K (our listing), 330 East Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $1.15M, 5403 Shearwater Dr 4/3 listed at $1.195M, 2167 Starfish Ln 4/4.5 listed at $1.875M.

8 closed sales: 3008 Singing Wind Dr 2/2 $360K, 1425 Causey Ct 4/3 $660K, 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $675K, 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 $830K, 1275 Par View Dr 3/2 $885K, 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 $885K, 1470 Angel Dr 3/2 $875K, 4649 Rue Belle Mer 3/2.5 $2.45M.

LOTS

2 new listing: 978 Main St $184.9K, 2288 Starfish Ln $549K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 6027 Dinkins Lake Rd listed at $239.8K.

1 closed sale: 2998 Singing Wind Dr $150K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $399.9K.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #302 3/3 now $2.495M.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1665 2/2 listed at $975K.

No closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

happy-easter4Happy Easter!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

 

Traffic Kindness & Real Estate Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva


RacoonPeekingIt’s another Happy Friday at SanibelSusan Realty. Once again it was a busy seven days on the islands. SanibelSusan listings had good inquiries and showing activity. One listing went under contract. Another has been accepted verbally, and several offers on other listings are being negotiated. We got four new condo listings too, all with showings already scheduled tomorrow. A report below after a couple of news items lists all of the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service. It was another good week for real estate even with the heavy traffic.

Speaking of traffic, I read the below editorial by Sidney B. Simon in yesterday’s edition of the “Island Reporter” and asked him if I could share it in my blog. With his permission, here it is:

Traffic Kindness

traffic-jam-cartoon-cars-waiting-31833185“To the editor: Traffic is awful. Tempers flare. Road rage is pending. And just think what it would be like without those marvelous, competent Traffic Police? So yell a thanks as you go by.

“But, there’s something else each of us could do. We could, yes we could, let someone in. For example, when we see a car that has to make a left turn coming down from the library. Or even a right turn coming out of Dixie Beach. Or any turn coming out of one of the shopping centers or the post office.

“A little traffic kindness could ease the pain. And, here’s a simple plan to encourage that.

“If you drive an SUV and you see an SUV trying to get onto Periwinkle, you stop traffic and let it in, and include one other car behind it, not matter what it is. It’s amazing what one SUV can do to help.

“Now, take it further. Every pickup truck lets in a pickup truck. Every convertible could make it a habit to let any other convertible in. Every German car lets a German car onto Periwinkle. You know you German cars can recognize a Mercedes, a BMW, or VW. Let one in. Then every Japanese or Korean car owner, stops and welcomes in one of their breed. Hummers and Yugos may have some problems. If you drive anything else, I leave it to you to figure out what kindness you want to perform.

“One of the nice things about being stuck in traffic, you and your passengers can start a conversation about kindness, how it needs to be encouraged, and what we can teach our grandkids about some of the kindnesses we have done during our long life. Kindness is one of the legacies we leave behind. I welcome your comments. Sidney B. Simon, Sanibel Island”

REALTORS® Forecast Home Price Increases

US Map mar14_DN_confidenceThis article was posted on Monday on “Daily Real Estate News”. With the wonderful weather in Florida this winter, I bet Florida ends up leading the pack in this year – particularly on the islands where most buyers pay cash.

“REALTORS® expect home prices to continue to rise over the next 12 months. But they expect them to do so at a moderate pace, given tight credit conditions and the chipping away of home affordability, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index, a monthly survey distributed to more than 50,000 real estate practitioners to gauge expectations over home sales, prices, and market conditions.

“Real estate professionals reported a median price expectation of 3.9% over the next 12 months. The states where practitioners are predicting the biggest increases—5 to 7%—are in California, Florida, Alaska, and Hawaii. Tight inventories have helped to lift home values in these areas, according to the survey. “In states with booming economies like Washington, North Dakota, Texas, Michigan, and the D.C.-metro area, the expected price increase is about 3 to 5%,” according to the report.

“Real estate professionals also expressed several concerns over the housing market holding back some buyers, particularly due to “unreasonably” tight credit conditions. “Access to credit was often cited as a deterrent to home buying,” according to the report. “About 13% of REALTORS® who did not close a sale in February reported having clients who could not obtain financing.” In those cases, about 6% of the professionals said their buyer gave up, while 7% said their buyer continued to seek new or other financing. Other transaction hang-ups were lack of agreement on a price (accounting for 11%); buyer losing a home to competition (10%); and appraisal issues (3%).”

FEMA Outlines Next Steps for Flood Insurance Law

FloridaRealtors® on-line posted the following notice yesterday:

capitol“In testimony before a U.S. House subcommittee, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate talked about the timing of implementation. He suggested that homeowners and buyers be patient – it may take awhile for the law’s mandates to filter down to insurance agents.

“President Obama signed the flood insurance law on Friday, but FEMA has up to eight months to develop guidance for insurance companies, according to Lisa Jones, a consultant hired by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) to navigate the complicated law. And after FEMA solidifies the new rules, insurers have up to six months to retool their software.

“Rep. Steven Palazzo, vice chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, asked Fugate at a hearing yesterday if there was a way to fast-track the process. According to Fugate, the first step is to explain the grandfathering clause – where a homebuyer pays the same rate as a home seller in areas where FEMA subsidizes some flood insurance rates – to insurance agents in the field because “It’s going to take time to get that out there to every agent and get that into the system.”

“Fugate says buyers, at least in the short term, may have to work with both their insurance agent and FEMA to get the correct flood insurance rate. FEMA “may need to handle some of the immediate (flood insurance rate requests) – literally, hand-walk it through the process until the system is fully up and running with the new changes,” he testified.

“Fugate pointed to one part of the new law that would take time to calculate: A mandate that no single premium exceed 18%, and “we’re looking at the timeframes you gave us to do refunds” for homeowners who already paid a higher flood insurance premium.

“Fugate said the new mandatory caps will also impact all calculations for rate increases, and it will take FEMA time to do that, followed by software changes to programs that insurers use to quote rates to homeowners.”

Florida Working to Protect Water Quality

floridaHere is some excellent news. These excerpts are from a www.flgov.org article entitled “Governor Rick Scott’s FY 2014-2015 Recommended Budget Highlights”. That budget is now approved! This is all good news for Southwest Florida. The next step is to get the Federal Government to be more proactive on water quality too. Florida Realtors® locally, state, and nationally have been pushing for this for years!

“Protecting Florida’s Economy, Water Supply, and Environment through the Restoration of the South Florida Ecosystem and Florida’s Everglades: The Governor’s It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget commits an historic $180 million dollars towards restoring and protecting the Everglades and Florida Keys. This is a $110 million increase from the FY 2013-2014 budget.

“Florida’s Everglades: The Governor continues his commitment to Everglades by committing $130 million for restoration projects.

• Restoring America’s Everglades means reestablishing its natural water flow to the 2.4 million-acre marsh, reviving habitat for more than 60 threatened and endangered species, creating a reliable water supply for millions of Floridians and providing flood control to South Florida.

• The funds provided will implement the Governor’s water quality plan for the Everglades and continue the state’s commitment to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). It will also fund critical projects such as the Kissimissee River restoration and the raising of an additional 2.6 miles of Tamiami Trail to allow more water to flow into Everglades National Park.

• In addition, funding is provided to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for implementation of agricultural nonpoint source controls in the Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee, and St. Lucie River watersheds. Together, these projects will provide clean water for the Everglades and reduce the excessive flow of water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River estuaries.

“Wastewater Treatment Upgrades: The Governor’s Budget also provides $50 million for wastewater treatment upgrades in the Florida Keys.

“Protecting Florida’s Springs, Lakes, Rivers, and Estuaries: Governor Scott’s Budget provides $55 million for springs protection and restoration, including ensuring the protection of the groundwater supply in Central and North Florida. This is a $45 million increase in funding from FY 2013-14.
Governor Scott’s Budget also provides the following funding for water resource protection:
• $17 million for nonpoint source pollution management grants;
• $9.4 million for total maximum daily loads;
• $77.2 million for drinking water facility construction, an increase of $4.3 million from FY 2013-2014;
• $161.6 for wastewater treatment facility/storm water construction, an increase of $18.8 million from FY 2013-2014; and $8 million for lake restoration.

“Protecting Beaches: Over 220 miles of beaches, or 55% of all Florida beaches, that were designated as critically eroded have been restored and maintained through partnerships with local, state, and federal governments. Governor Scott’s Budget provides $25 million of financial assistance to local and state governments and special taxing authorities for beach and dune restoration, beach nourishment, inlet sand bypassing, regional sediment management and innovative projects. This funding adds to the more than $393 million in state funding for beach and inlet management provided over the last 10 years.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 21-28, 2014

Sanibel
CONDOS
6 new listings: Sanibel Moorings #1322 2/2 $419K, Cottage Colony West #119 1/1 $599K (our listing), Sand Pointe #122 2/2 $749K (our listing), Sanibel Surfside #123 2/2 $874K (our listing), Kings Crown #302 2/2 $899K (our listing), Sanibel Seaview #B1 3/3 $1.395M.
6 price changes: Captains Walk #C1 2/1 now $310K, Sunset South #1C 2/2 now $455K, Island Beach Club #P2A 2/2 now $474K, Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 now $595K, Sandals #D 4/3 now $1.975M, Seascape #104 3/3 now $2.295M.
9 new sales: Donax Village #9 1/1 listed for $249.9K, Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 listed for $349K, Sanibel Arms #C4 2/2 listed for $489.9K, Compass Point #212 2/2 listed for $569K, Pointe Santo #E32 2/2 listed for $739K, Sundial #E208 2/2 listed for $799K, Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 listed for $869K, Beachcomber #C302 2/2 listed for $1.695M, Sedgemoor #103 3/3.5 listed for $2.55M.
2 closed sales: Tennisplace #D33 1/1 $170K, Sundial #O205 2/2 $755K.

HOMES
5 new listings: 5141 SanCap Rd 2/2 $350K, 1827 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 $525K, 553 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $579K, 739 Elinor Way 3/3 $599K, 564 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $599K.
11 price changes: 966 Fitzhugh St 2/1 now $324K; 1481 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $524K; 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $569,555; 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $614K; 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 now $627.7K; 4279 Gulf Pines Dr 4/3 now $729.75K; 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $749K; 1291 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 now $825K; 1232 Isabel Dr 3/3 now $1.79M; 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 now $1.795M; 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.459M.
8 new sales: 531 Birdsong Place 3/2 listed for $448K; 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 listed for $449K; 1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 listed for $545K; 1252 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $549K; 1356 Tahiti Dr 2/2 listed for $674K; 2667 Coconut Dr 3/3 listed for $825K; 909 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 listed for $1,199,999; 5423 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 listed for $1.479M.
3 closed sales: 9459 Begonia Ct 3/4 $545K, 1705 Serenity Ln 3/2.5 $551.75K, 211 Daniel Dr 3/2 $725K.

LOTS
1 new listing: 0 Dinkins Lake Rd $240K.
2 price changes: 667 Birdie View Pt now $349K, 5830 SanCap Rd now $395,555.
2 new sales: 1118 Sand Castle Rd listed for $199K (our listing), 5749 San Cap Rd listed for $399,555.
1 closed sale: 990 Beach Rd $525K.

Captiva
CONDOS
2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5128 1/2 $325K, Gulf Beach Villas #2012 2/2 $622.5K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES
1 new listing: 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 $4.495M.
1 price change: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $2.495M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 15127 Captiva Dr 8/8 multi-family $1.45M.
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.

’til next Friday, this Realtor will be working 24/7.
It’s a great time of the year in the real estate business on the islands! Woohooo!
SanibelSusan

HeronSurf

Real Estate is Selling on Sanibel Island


It’s been another fun and busy week of real estate action for The SanibelSusan Team. The glorious weather must have something to do with it!

IMG_0737copye

Our listings again had good showing action. Several new buyers came in to chat about the purchasing process and to begin their property search. Dave accompanied five different inspections. Dave, Lisa, and I were out several days with different prospective buyers showing property, while Elise has been juggling showing appointments and follow-up on the feedback. But, even more importantly, more offers were negotiated. Another productive week here – what we wait for all year!

The 7-day activity report from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service below illustrates. I don’t remember when the island has had 12 condo sales in a single week (two our listings). We definitely want that business to continue. March usually is a good time for condo sales too. New month-long renters arrive tomorrow in addition to the typical weekly Saturday turn-over guests.

Here are a couple of quick news items, including an update on flood insurance (the subject on the minds of many), followed by that report.

House to Vote on Flood Insurance

realtor logoThe National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) posted on-line the below notice for its members this week.

“The House is scheduled to vote up-or-down on an amended version of H.R. 3370, the Flood Insurance Affordability Act, during the first week of March. The original bill text has been stripped and replaced by substitute language that considerably strengthens the bill. The substitute bill will be considered under an expedited set of “suspended rules” procedures that limits debate and amendments, and requires a 2/3 majority to pass. This is a critical vote on a top NAR member priority. We cannot predict the fall-out if this vote fails.

“The substitute bill to be considered differs significantly from the version that the Senate passed on Jan. 30:

  1. REPEALS (the Senate bill only delayed) the property-sales provision in the Biggert Waters law (sec. 205) that has triggered the most excessive and inaccurate premium increases over the past year.
  2. REFUNDS (the Senate bill would not refund) excessive premiums to those who have already seen an increase but were not warned by FEMA prior to purchasing the property.  (This would apply to ALL purchases of property including purchases of a second home or commercial property).
  3. RESTORES (the Senate bill only delayed) the grandfathering of lower rates when new flood maps are issued by repealing Section 207 of the law before any increases can be implemented.”

Annual Clothesline Sale

clothesline saleThe Sanibel-Captiva Art League’s annual sale is tomorrow (Saturday, March 1) across the street from SanibelSusan Realty and Sanibel Square at The Community House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

More info at www.sancapart.com

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity February 21-28, 2014

Sanibel
CONDOS
5 new listings: Tennisplace #E31 2/1 $325K, Blind Pass #G205 2/2 $439K, Sundial #G101 2/2 $445K, Mariner Pointe #842 2/2 $515K, Sundial #E104 2/2 $869K.
6 price changes: Sundial #H107 1/1 now $299K, Tennisplace #B24 2/1 now $315K, Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 now $349K, Sanibel Moorings #422 2/2 now $465K, Loggerhead Cay #411 now $529K, Seascape #104 3/3 now $2.395M.
12 new sales: Beach Road Villas #104 2/2 listed for $335K (our listing), Beach Road Villas #103 2/2 listed for $359.9K, Nutmeg Village #103 2/2 listed for $612K, Sundial #Q302 2/2 listed for $649K, Kings Crown #210 2/2 listed for $649K, Sundial #L202 2/2 listed for $695K, Surfside 12 #C3 3/2 listed for $749K, Pine Cove #C 2/2 listed for $839K, Pointe Santo #C25 3/2 listed for $895K, Gulfside Place #307 2/2 listed for $1.225M, Gulfside Place #319 3/2 listed for $1.295M (our listing), Sedgemoor #202 3/3.5 listed for $2.22M.
No closed sales.

HOMES
8 new listings: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $637,555; 1827 Buckthorn Ln 3/2 $849K; 2538 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 $850K; 1225 Seagrape Ln 3/3 $879K; 791 Pen Shell Dr 4/3 $1.195M; 5612 Baltusrol Ct 4/3.5 $1.695M; 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/6/2 $1.95M, 1470 Middle Gulf 4/5.5 $2.495M.
10 price changes: 490 Elizabeth Dr 2/2 now $399K; 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $580,555; 2550 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 half-duplex now $698.5K; 1340 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.148.5M; 1203 Isabel Dr 2/3 now $1.195M; 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 now $1.595M; 1232 Isabel Dr 3/3 now $1.8M; 428 Bella Vista Way E 4/4 half-duplex now $1.895M; 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 now $1.999M; 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3 now $2.1M.
2 new sales: 617 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $599.9K, 5049 Joewood Dr 6/7.5 listed for $3.995M.
7 closed sales: 1327 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $390K, 1826 Ardsley Way 4/3 $461K, 4546 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 $485K, 1342 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $550K, 1297 Par View Dr 3/2 $750K, 2507 Blind Pass Ct 3/3 $1.01M, 988 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 $1.035M.
 
LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 247 + 255 Robinwood Cir now $298K.
No new or closed sales.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
3 new listings: Tennis Villas #3217 1/1 $225K, Sunset Beach Villas #2335 3/2 $829K, Lands End Village #1637 2/2 $1.275M.
1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 now $739K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #5132 1/2 $243.5K, Captiva Hide-A-Way #2B 2/2 $800K.

HOMES
4 new listings: 11504 Wightman Ln 4/4 $1.295M, 15879 Captiva Dr 3/3 $2.995M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 $7.995M, 16660 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $17M.
1 price change: 4 Sunset Captiva Ln 3/2 now $2.375M.
1 new sale: 11541 Laika Ln 4/4 listed for $1.65M.
1 closed sale: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 5/4.5 $2.35M.
 
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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

IMG_0803copyeHere’s to another fun-filled weekend with roseate spoonbills & more real estate sales!

SanibelSusan

The Weekend Forecast Says Sunny & Mid-70’s on Sanibel Island


It sure is nice to be back on Sanibel this week where the outside temperature is warmer than the inside temperature at that chilly Orlando hotel I visited last week for the Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Business Meetings. Kidding aside, the islands had a couple of cool (60-degree) days recently as well as some much-needed rain. Starting tomorrow, just in time for the February arrivals, temperatures are expected to be back into the mid-70’s to low 80’s and the forecast for the immediate future is sunny! Now is a great time to vacation on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and to show and sell property.

SanibelSusan Realty got a nice home listing this week at 1960 Roseate Lane in Sanibel Lakes Estates. Our professional photographer will be filming tomorrow but there are some initial photos are below.

Several of our listings had some solid positive feedback from showings this week. There will be lots more showings tomorrow in those investment rental properties during that brief window when some tenants depart, cleaners do their magic, and other renters arrive.

Following a few news items, below is the action reported in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days. It’s getting busy!

City of Sanibel Designated 4th Safest City in Florida

Sanibelcityseal logoThe following was posted early this week on the City’s website:

“The City of Sanibel has been designated the 4th safest city in Florida.  To determine the ten safest places in Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2012 crime statistics were evaluated.  The 202 cities in Florida with populations over 5,000 were each evaluated in the study.  The study evaluated crimes in each community in three categories:

  • Property crimes (theft, burglary, motor thefts)
  • Violent crimes (rape, murder, theft)
  • Chance a resident will be a victim of crime.

“The above criteria were weighted with a greater emphasis on violent crime, followed by property crime and then the likelihood a resident would be a crime victim.  Thus, violent crimes account for 50% of the ranking, property crimes account for 30% of the ranking and a resident’s likelihood of being a crime victim accounts for 20% of the ranking.

“To place the study in perspective, 421,192 crimes were committed in 2012, in the 202 cities analyzed.  In 2012, 114 of these crimes occurred within the Sanibel city limits and none were violent crimes.   To view the full announcement click here.

“Upon reviewing the report, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane stated, “By design, the safety of citizens and visitors is our community’s highest priority. While this recognition is appreciated, we are recommitted to remaining a safe town in which to live, work and recreate.”

“Sanibel Chief of Police Bill Tomlinson added, “We are a safe community because our citizen’s care and we work together in partnership with our residents and businesses.  We encourage our community to report suspicious activity and vehicles, and they do. Crime prevention is the major focus of our Department.”

“”Investments by the Sanibel City Council into best available technology, training and equipment support our safety initiatives.  Furthermore, our Police Officers regularly meet with homeowner’s associations and business owners to be certain that everyone understands that suspicious behaviors should be reported, and reported promptly to the Police Department,” stated Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra.

“In 2013, the Sanibel Police Department responded to 24,790 calls for service. Any Sanibel organization that would like to schedule a presentation by the Sanibel Police Department should contact Chief Tomlinson at (239) 472-3111.”

What’s on REALTORS®’ Minds

realtor logoThe following was posted on “Daily Real Estate News” this week and echoes the concern that I have heard from local colleagues and at the Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Business Meetings:

“Though the market is poised to continue its gains in 2014, a number of issues cited by members of the National Association of REALTORS® have the potential to slow things down, according to a new survey.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to …real estate practitioners. The survey routinely asks for expectations regarding home sales, prices, and market conditions… As 2014 begins, REALTORS® noted a number of concerns that they felt could be a drag on the recovery:

  • regulations pertaining to Qualified Mortgage (QM) loans
  • reductions in FHA loan ceiling limits
  • a further increase in mortgage rates
  • slow job growth
  • uncertainties associated with the cost of flood insurance
  • potential impacts from the Affordable Care Act

“NAR’s outlook for the coming year is overwhelmingly positive, but the organization says that the market “is essentially moving sideways—growing at a more tempered pace than was the case last year. Future prices are generally projected to continue to increase, but at a more subdued pace than was previously the case.””

LCEC News – Rate Decrease in 2014

Lcec logoGreat news reported in the “LCEC News” January newsletter: “While many utilities are increasing electric rates, LCEC (Lee County Electric Co-op) is reducing rates in 2014. We have not raised electric rates for five years and we continue to work hard to keep rates competitive. LCEC will decrease the power cost adjustment (PCA) beginning January 1, 2014. Natural gas prices recently reached a historical low, allowing power suppliers with diverse fuel mixes to take advantage of reduced fuel costs. LCEC shares these savings with customers. The LCEC Board of Trustees approved a decrease in the PCA from $17.96 per 1,000kWh to $16.65 per 1,000 kWh.

“Although the cost of materials, labor and purchased power has risen over the past few years, a calculated business strategy has helped LCEC manage operating costs. Process improvements, proactive maintenance, constant budget oversight, the use of technology and the diligence of employees have all contributed to holding the line on LCEC electric rates.”

Citizens Property Insurance Says Clearinghouse Works

Citizens_logoHere is some interesting news on wind insurance. Wednesday, Florida REALTORS® sourced this article to “The Palm Beach Post” (West Palm Beach, FL).

“A new computer clearinghouse launched Monday to steer insurance customers out of state-run Citizens and into private insurers seems to be functioning properly, officials said, and agents reminded consumers it contains only four private carriers so shop around. Citizens officials said they processed 500 requests for information by noon Monday, though the early going includes tests that are not necessarily transactions affecting real customers.

“The launch comes in a rocky few months for government websites, with the federal healthcare.gov and the state’s unemployment website having more than a few well-publicized problems. The clearinghouse debut was delayed from Jan 2 to Monday so participating insurers could get better prepared technologically, officials said. The number of carriers initially taking part has gone from four to an expected seven back to four.

““The clearinghouse is functioning successfully, and we are pleased with the preliminary results,” said Steve Bitar, Citizens vice president of consumer and agent services. “We are continuing to monitor clearinghouse activity and expect to have more detailed information available at the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday. The initial response has been very positive.”

“The system is designed to shrink Citizens by making would-be customers ineligible for the state-run company’s coverage if a private insurer is offering coverage priced up to 15% more. During the second quarter of the year, renewing Citizens customers will not be able to stay with the company if a private insurer is offering coverage priced the same or less.

“Brightway Insurance agent Bill Goldman of Jupiter noted the clearinghouse does not necessarily represent all the options a consumer may have, so homeowners may want to shop around on their own. “If you’re put through Citizens’ clearinghouse, you’ll get quotes from just a small subset of companies in the state,” Goldman said.

“Those participating initially include Ark Royal, Florida Peninsula, Safe Harbor and United Property & Casualty, Citizens said. Up to 16 more carriers are expected to join the clearinghouse in March through July, including Heritage Property and Casualty of St. Petersburg.

“Under traditional transfer offers, customers can choose to stay with Citizens, but they will not have that choice if the clearinghouse rules them ineligible. That’s one reason it’s important the clearinghouse works accurately. At least 14,000 transfer letters from a private insurer, First Community, contained erroneously high Citizens renewal premiums this month, The Palm Beach Post reported. Citizens has more than 1 million customers including more than 100,000 in Palm Beach County, meaning it remains the biggest insurer locally and statewide.”

Discover ‘Ding’ App Combines Learning, Technology & Fun

Ding Darling Society logoAs a REALTOR® often glued to their Smart phone, I enjoyed reading this recent post by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society:

“A new smart phone app under development for the Refuge promises to raise the interpretive bar on national wildlife refuges by delivering the first-ever GPS and game-based learning experience to visitors. The Discover “Ding” App combines game play, GPS and social media to create a fun experience that encourages users to observe and analyze what they see, and better understand the Refuge’s wildlife conservation mission. “The Discover ‘Ding’ App will offer the public a fun new way to experience the refuge, further enhancing our effort to integrate new technology and social media into our interpretive programming,” said Paul Tritaik, manager of  “Ding” Darling NWR.
 
“A collaboration among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Ding” Darling refuge, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and app developer, Discover Nature Apps (DNA), the Discover “Ding” App is designed to adapt to the public’s expanding reliance on smart devices by creating a positive interactive experience that encourages smart phone users to immerse themselves into their natural surroundings.
 
“The Discover “Ding” App helps to fulfill a key recommendation of the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Conserving the Future strategic vision, which recommends developing “integrated mechanisms for using web-based and other emerging technologies to store and share data, communicate within the System, and inspire and educate visitors and the public.” “We’re excited to be on the leading edge of what we believe will become a vital tool with which to engage refuge visitors,” said John McCabe, president of DDWS. As the refuge’s volunteer friends group, the society has been instrumental over the years in helping to underwrite innovative visitor outreach strategies and has played a leading role in promoting development of the Discover “Ding” App.
 
““Smart phones have become central to the lives of a vast majority of Americans – it’s how they learn, play games, and interact with others,” said Discover Nature Apps’ co-founder Sam Serebin. “It’s only natural that we leverage that remarkable functionality to offer an unparalleled interpretive experience at our national wildlife refuges and other public lands,” said Evan Hirsche, DNA’s other co-Founder.
 
“The Discover “Ding” App will be launched in the late spring of 2014, and will be the first of such for many to follow for national wildlife refuges and national parks throughout the country.”

Update on Flood Insurance Legislation

FLRealtors_newlogoLate yesterday, Florida REALTORS® leadership team got a quick email update from John Sebree, Senior VP of Public Policy, on the progress of flood insurance legislation.  His email said “The US Senate has just passed the Menendez-Isakson bill that would delay rate increases for four years.  The final tally was 67 to 32.  The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives where is it unknown when a vote will take place. Both of our US Senators (in Florida) voted for passage of this bill.”
 
John’s email also referred to the latest briefing from NAR (National Association of REALTORS® at http://www.realtor.org/topics/national-flood-insurance-program-nfip/nar-issue-brief-homeowner-flood-insurance-affordability-act. This article is definitely worth the read.

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

Sanibel
CONDOS
5 new listings: Donax Village #9 1/1 $289.9K, Sundial #C301 1/1 $350K, Sundial #H103 2/2 $460K, Compass Point #133 2/2 $1.185M, Sandals #D 4/3 $2.25M.
6 price changes: Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 now $374K, Mariner Pointe #732 2/2 now $384.9K, Sundial #I304 1/1 now $389K, Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $435K, Shell Island Beach Club #7A 2/2 now $668.5K, West Shore #3 3/3 now $1.795M.
3 new sales: Sundial #C308 1/1 listed for $339K, Blind Pass #E102 2/2 listed for $395K, Sunset South #14A 2/2 listed for $729K.
1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 $430K. 
 
HOMES
4 new listings: 1960 Roseate Ln 3/2 $449K (our listing), 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $449K, 1344 Tahiti Dr 2/1 $479.9K, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 $1.595M.
3 price changes: 512 Periwinkle Way 3/3 now $950K, 1001 Kings Crown Dr 3/2.5 now $975K, 4622 Rue Belle Mer 4/2 now $819K.
7 new sales: 972 Fitzhugh St 3/2 listed for $379K, 1809 Bowman’s Beach Rd 3/2 listed for $475K, 1297 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $769.5M, 1013 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 listed for $799K, 2507 Blind Pass Ct 3/3 listed for $1.049M, 988 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.095M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.499M.
8 closed sales: 5111 SanCap Rd 3/2 $249K, 724 Rabbit Rd 2/1 $430K, 4570 Bowen Bayou Rd 2/2 $550K, 2450 Wulfert Rd 3/3 $625K, 562 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $685K, 5742 Pine Tree Dr 4/2 $703K, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 $805K, 340 Cowry Ct 5/3.5 $1.039M.
 
LOTS
1 new listing: 9066 Mockingbird Dr $410K.
3 price changes: 223 Robinwood Cir now $195K, 761 Donax St now $219K, 690 Birdie View Pt now $384K.
3 new sales: 3351 Saint Kilda Rd listed for $349.555K, 990 Beach Rd listed for $549K, 4318 West Gulf Dr listed for $749K.
No closed sales.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $295K, Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 $1.095M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
 
HOMES
2 new listings: 15127 Captiva Dr 8/8 multi-family $1.695M, 16861 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $2.149M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 15017 Binder Dr 3/3.5 listed for $3.899M.
1 closed sale: 1133 Longifolia Ct 3/3 $3.478.5M.
 
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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

May your weekend be wonderful – wherever you are… Happy Friday, from SanibelSusan

Chilly Weather, But Still Lots of Real Estate Happenings in Orlando & Sanibel Island


It’s SanibelSusan reporting from Orlando that it was 46 degrees both here and on Sanibel this morning. Most of us are ready for this cold weather to be gone. It looks like Sanibel finally could get into the low 70’s again by tomorrow, but another cool-front is on its way next Wed. Ugh! 

Yesterday, I finished up on the all-day audition panel for new real estate instructors and have been enjoying networking here with the Florida Realtors 2014 leadership team. Last night, the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® again was recognized for their significant RPAC (REALTOR® Political Action Committee) contributions. This year, we took away four of the five awards presented to a small board, which is a new record for us.

L to R, from The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Assoc of Realtors: Shane Spring 2013 Realtor of the Year, SanibelSusan, Peggy Hummel CEO, Eric Pfeifer 2014 Prez-Elect, & Bill Robinson, MLS Director.

L to R, from The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Assoc of Realtors: Shane Spring 2013 Realtor of the Year, SanibelSusan, Peggy Hummel CEO, Eric Pfeifer 2014 Prez-Elect, & Bill Robinson, MLS Director.

With flood insurance and water quality being such important issues in island real estate sales and property values, our association benefits from every cent that we collect and contribute to political action. Last night after the awards ceremony, several of us met with a national association Washington staff member. He gave us his prognosis on what is happening with the related bills currently on the hill. More pressure is needed on both of these issues. 

At dinner last night, we also ran into one of the seven FREC (Florida Real Estate Commission) members. FREC is the group that administers and enforces state real estate laws. We are hoping to get her to Sanibel this year for an educational event for our members.

Realtor logoSubcommittee meetings are today, followed by committee meetings and forums tomorrow. Then after the 2014 Officers are installed tomorrow night, the Florida REALTORS® Directors meet bright and early Sunday morning. If all goes well, I’ll be back in the office by early afternoon. Lots of progress has already been made here for our industry (and I’ve gotten some referral business too). I am excited that I was asked to be part of the new Professionalism group that meets for the first time this afternoon. Tomorrow is the big day with our Professional Standards skit and the Resort and 2nd Home Property Specialist Forum.  

Here are a couple of other news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days.  

Tarpon Bay Explorers Schedule

tarpon bay explorers logoA few folks recently have told me that they were not aware of the many activities available through Tarpon Bay Explorers. Here is an abbreviated schedule. Confirm the schedule at http://www.tarponbayexplorers.com. Reservations are needed for most events.

Kayak Trail Tour: Daily at 8:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.; 1 or 2:30 p.m.

Sunset Rookery Paddle: Daily 2 hours before sunset.

Standup Paddleboard Tour: Tues, Thur, Sat at 9 a.m.

Breakfast Cruise: Mon, Wed, Fri at 8:30 a.m.

Nature & Sea Life Cruise: Daily at 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Evening Cruise: Daily 2 hours before sunset

Aquarium & Touch Tank: Daily at 11 a.m. & 1:30 & 3 p.m.

Refuge Tram Tour: Daily (except Fri) hourly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rentals & Fishing Charters: Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Feb 15.

 Loan Demand Back On the Upswing

wall street journalOn Wed, “Daily Real Estate News” sourced this article to “The Wall Street Journal”: 

“After reaching a 13-year low at the end of last year, mortgage applications were back on the rise last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. Mortgage applications, which include those for refinancing and home purchases, rose 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Jan 17. Broken out, demand for applications for refinancings increased 10% over the prior week, while applications for home purchases, viewed as a future gauge of home buying, dropped 4%, the MBA reports.

“The MBA’s mortgage application index had posted its lowest level in about 13 years at the end of last year, when the Federal Reserve announced it would be tapering its $85 billion per month bond-buying program in the new year. However, for the last two weeks, mortgage rates have been declining. The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell from 4.66% to 4.57% last week, MBA reports.  That marks the lowest average for 30-year rates since this past November, according to the MBA.” 

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 17-24

Sanibel

CONDOS

10 new listings: Sundial #D207 1/1 $269K, Tennisplace #B24 2/1.5 $325K, Sundial #D304 1/1 $339K, Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $595K, Kings Crown #210 2/2 $695K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 $929K, High Tide #A101 3/2 $1.199M, Pine Cove #302 2/2 $1.2M, Somerset #301 3/2.5 $1.899M, Sedgemoor #106 3/3.5 $2.935M.

5 price changes: Beach Road Villas #103 2/2 now $369K, Seawind #A102 2/2.5 now $397.9K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $547.9K, Pelicans Roost #101 2/2 now $775K, Sanddollar #C101 2/2 now $854K.

3 new sales: Duggers Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 listed for $289.9K, Blind Pass #C203 3/2 listed for $499K, Atrium #206 3/2 listed for $1.295M.

No closed sales. 

HOMES

5 new listings: 972 Fitzhugh St 3/2 $379K, 490 Elizabeth Rd 2/2 $419.5K, 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $895K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.247M, 906 Snowberry Ln 3/3.5 $4.35M.

8 price changes: 1826 Ardsley Way 4/3 now $484.7K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $569K, 617 E Rocks Dr 3/2 now $599.9K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $619K, 1306 Par View Dr 3/3.5 now $799K, 1500 Angel Dr 3/2 now $1.249M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 now $1.499M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.749M.

4 new sales: 1475 Court Pl 2/1 listed for $289K, 2529 Harbour Ln 3/3 listed for $725K, 1444 Causey Ct 4/4 listed for $1.1M, 4994 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.459M.

3 closed sales: 1645 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex 3/2.5 $395K, 398 Old Trail Rd 3/3 $320K, 575 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3 $1.25M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 898 Rabbit Rd 299K, 218 Violet Dr $390K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1837 Buckthorn Ln listed for $349K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Beach Villas #2618 2/2 $685K, Captiva Bay Villas #B 3/3.5 $1.875M, Beach Homes #18 4/3 $2.675M.

No price changes, new or closed sales. 

HOMES

2 new listings: 16813 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $1.995M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 $10.75M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 17041 Captiva Dr 2/2 listed for $1.695M.

3 closed sales: 15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 $1.55M, 15899 Captiva Dr 4/3 $2.71M, 16838 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 $4.5M.

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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

flip flopsHere’s hoping it warms up sooner rather than later, my flip flop wearing feet are chilly! Happy weekend, SanibelSusan

October Scoop from Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s another happy Friday on Sanibel. SANSLogoIsland traffic picked up considerably both yesterday and today with folks arriving for the long Columbus Day holiday weekend. Hopefully some of them will be interested in real estate. SanibelSusan Realty will be open and ready!

Fabulous island-style fall weather is expected too, with no rain in the forecast until the middle of next week. With a drop in humidity and evening temperatures to drop into the 60’s, we look forward to some of the best island weather! October is really here!

Redfish Pass

Redfish Pass

With all of the ugly media reports this week, we want more positive news. So, here’s some for the team – we had another condo listing go under contract this week, had a nice SanibelSusan closing today and another one scheduled for Tuesday where we helped both the buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Woohoo! Many thanks to all!

Lands End

Lands End

Here are a few news items, followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

Sanibel Skate Park

Autumn-Skate-Park-Hours-Sanibel-Recreation-Center_mediumDid you know that Sanibel even has a skate park? It is at the Sanibel Recreation Center and is open Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Skateboards and roller blades are welcome, users must provide their own equipment, and helmets are mandatory. All participants also must have a valid Rec Center membership and have a skate park release form completed by an adult. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. More info is on http://www.mysanibel.com.

Florida Regulators Developing Guidelines to Bring Flood Insurers to the State

TampaBayTimesThis article was posted by a St. Pete Realtor® who read it in the “Tamp Bay Times” this week. I sure hope this happens. It could offer some insurance relief.

“Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said Wednesday that his office is in the process of developing a “set of simple guidelines” for insurance companies to request approval to write primary flood insurance in Florida as an alternative to the Federal Floods Insurance Program. “The guidelines will not only provide a framework for the approval of rates and forms for flood coverage, but will also address financial requirements that must be met for insurers to write this new coverage,’’ McCarty said in a statement.

“The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation was barraged with questions Wednesday after McCarty’s deputy, Rebecca Matthews, told the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday that OIR was working with companies to help them write primary flood coverage in the state to give them an alternative to paying the massive price increases expected as a result of federal reforms.

“The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 attempted to phase in a series of rate increases in the National Flood Insurance Program as a way to close the program’s $24 billion deficit. But estimated 268,000 Floridians with older homes in high risk flood zones will lose their subsidized rates when they sell their homes, hitting buyers with triple digit increases in their flood insurance premiums in many cases.

Gov. Rick Scott and Florida’s congressional delegation have appealed to Congressional leaders to pass a delay in the rate hikes but, with Washington at a standstill, nothing has happened. Meanwhile, real estate experts say the rate shock on buyers could freeze Florida’s slowly-thawing real estate market. They are urging state leaders to come up with an alternative for the nearly 2 million homeowners who now have NFIP policies.

“A handful of companies are currently writing primary flood coverage in Florida, but they are generally specialty companies and write flood coverage only for high value homes, said OIR spokeswoman Amy Bogner. Insurers can either write the flood policy as a stand-alone flood policy or as an endorsement onto a homeowners policy, she said.

“Some of the companies current writing flood insurance include: Chubb (Federal Insurance Company); AIG (Chartis Property Casualty Company); Wright National Flood Insurance Company; Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange; Firemans Fund Insurance Company; ASI (American Strategic Insurance Corporation); Markel American Insurance Company.

“Scott was asked on Wednesday whether he would support policies to make it easier for insurers to provide alternative insurance in Florida but the governor refused to answer and instead blamed President Barack Obama. “The president signed the bill. He could have an impact by stopping it,” Scott told reporters. “He needs to put a pause on that bill.””

Florida Announces Support For Mississippi’s Lawsuit Against FEMA

Photo Credit Meredyth Hope HallIn a press release late Thursday from the Governor’s office (eog.myflorida.com):

“Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that they will be filing an amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, in Mississippi’s lawsuit against the federal government’s unfair National Flood Insurance Program’s rate hike. Governor Rick Scott said, “President Obama is failing to save Florida families from huge flood insurance rate hikes and that is why we are going to support Mississippi in their lawsuit against FEMA. This unfair rate hike could devastate Florida’s real estate market and homeowners.

““I want to thank Senators Rubio and Nelson for working across party lines on this issue, especially during such a time of partisanship in Washington. Ultimately, the buck stops with the President and that’s why we continue to ask him to get his agency- FEMA- to undo this unfair insurance rate hike on Florida families.”

“Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Due to Congress’ failure to better protect consumers, Floridians are now facing increased flood insurance rates that could force them from their homes and hurt the economy. While we are in frequent communication with OIR to determine whether we can legally take additional action, we support Mississippi’s lawsuit.”

“Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said, “The National Flood Insurance Program was created to help families who live in flood prone areas, but the recent changes are going to cause more harm than good. I am appreciative of Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson and all of Florida’s Congressional members who are working toward making the appropriate legislative changes, and I am appreciative of states like Mississippi that are helping Washington realize immediate action needs to be taken to fix the problem.””

Freddie Mac‘s Plan to Stall Impact of Shutdown

FreddieMacLogo_3An on-line REALTOR®Mag article in “Daily Real Estate News” on Tuesday, says: “With the government shutdown now in its second week, Freddie Mac has issued intermediate guidelines to lending institutions for approving home loans and modifications to keep the housing market from grinding to a halt.

“Federal employees and contractors are not receiving paychecks during the government shutdown, but Freddie Mac is allowing lenders to approve mortgages for those borrowers — even in the absence of steady income — assuming they meet other loan requirements and plan to return to work once the government reopens.

“”Today’s bulletin is intended to give lenders the certainty to continue approving and delivering new mortgages that meet Freddie Mac guidelines to eligible borrowers, such as federal employees and contractors, during the temporary shutdown,” says Dave Lowman, Freddie Mac executive vice president of single-family business. “We are also reminding servicers of our forbearance options to assist qualified home owners with Freddie Mac mortgages to minimize the shutdown’s impact on our nation’s families and communities.”

“Freddie Mac has mortgage relief and forbearance policies available to public- and private-sector employees who are affected by the government’s shutdown. One of the biggest hurdles for lenders is being unable to verify borrowers’ income directly from the IRS during the government freeze. But both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said they would adjust policies as needed so that loans and modifications could continue to be approved.”

Survey: Gov’t Shutdown Deflating Housing Optimism

fannie-mae-logoAnother “Daily Real Estate News” article also on Tuesday offered the following glum news: “Though Americans have expressed optimism about the housing recovery over the last few months, their feel-good attitudes took a turn for the worse in the run-up to the government shutdown, Fannie Mae reports in its latest National Housing Survey.

“”Our September National Housing Survey results show that the improvements in consumer housing attitudes witnessed in recent months softened ahead of the government shutdown,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist. “Americans’ awareness of policy uncertainty leading up to the October 1st shutdown, and the pending debt-ceiling debate, appears to have grown as indicated by an apparent cautionary holding pattern in overall consumer housing and personal finance sentiment.”

“The percentage of Americans who say they believe home prices will increase over the next 12 months fell from 55% in August to 52% in September. And 63% say they believe mortgage rates will keep rising, an all-time high for the survey and an uptick from 60% in August.

“Still, 72% say it’s a good time to buy a house, and 38% say it’s a good time to sell, according to the survey.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity from October 4-11

Sanibel

Sanibel River from Spanish Cay

Sanibel River from Spanish Cay

CONDOS
5 new listings: Colonnades #13 1/1 $169K (short sale), Loggerhead Cay #362 22/2 $512K, Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $548K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 $780K, Island Beach Club #220D 2/2 $849K.
2 price changes: Shorewood #2B 3/3 now $1.449M, Plantation Village #B321 3/3 now $2.499M.
2 new sales: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 listed for $264K (our listing), Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 listed for $899K.
3 closed sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $170K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $424K, Sanibel Arms #D1 2/2 $445K.

HOMES
3 new listings: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 $489K, 1342 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $599K, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 $1.499M.
5 price changes: 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.175M, 2520 Harbour Ln 3/2.5 now $1.275M, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.389M, 829 Tulip Ln 5/4.5 now $2.295M, 3869 West Gulf Dr 6/7/2 now $9.495M.
1 new sale: 2279 Troon Ct 3/4 listed for $1.395M.
3 closed sales: 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $670K, 1735 Jewel Box Dr 4/3 $1.175M, 6014 White Heron Ln 3/3.5 $1.25M.

Pool 6

Island Woods pool

LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 1898 Woodring Rd now $2.495M.
No new sales.
4 closed sales: 1847 Farm Trl $207.5K (our listing), 3358 Saint Kilda Rd $284K, 2323 Starfish Ln $300K, 3761 Coquina Dr $317.5K.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1631 2/2 $1.085M.

HOMES
No new listings.
1 price change: 15301 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $2.249M.
1 new sale: 16838 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 listed for $4.995M
No closed sales.

LOTS
Nothing to report.

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

Happy October, wherever you are! SanibelSusan

Counting Down to July 4th on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


A fond memory from the 2003 Sanibel parade

A fond memory from the 2003 Sanibel parade

There was probably what is best referred to as a modest amount of visitor traffic on the islands this week – really pretty quiet – until today, that is, when the holiday visitors began arriving. Many businesses are starting to break out their red-white-&-blue with expectations that more vacationers will fill accommodations over the 4th holiday. Most of those coming for a week will arrive tomorrow.

Weather-wise, it has been typical summer all week with bright sunny days in the high 80’s/low 90’s followed by afternoon thunderstorms – though some days those don’t make it onto the island. More of the same is expected next week.

Real Estate News

Our newest listing at 9477 Peaceful Drive

Our newest listing at 9477 Peaceful Drive

As the report of the activity posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Services below shows, there were just a couple of new listings on Sanibel this week and several more closings. (We received a new home listing, just this afternoon, which is why this blog is being posted a little late today. That new business comes first!)

Many of the sales contracts written during high season are scheduled to close today and early next week, so by next week’s blog, I should be able to report solid data on where our market stands at the half-year mark. It will be good news! 

Holiday Happenings on Sanibel Island

Teammates Dave & Elise getting holiday ready in 2011

Teammates Dave & Elise getting holiday ready in 2011

Here is a list of the Independence Day events, all on Thursday, July 4th:

23rd Annual Independence Day Parade starts at 9:30 a.m. at Island Inn Road and Tarpon Bay Road and runs along Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. The theme is “American Hometown Pride” with nine categories to be judged. Parade t-shirts for sale along the route.

Post-parade refreshments and water at Jerry’s Foods across from where the parade ends with free hot dogs, soda, and snow cones. Also water slides, dunk tank, face painting, and bounce house, all to benefit the Boy Scouts of America.

34th Annual Road Rally organized by the San-Cap Optimist Club begins at noon at Timbers Restaurant/Sanibel Grill parking lot and ends there for an “afterglow” party. Teams puzzle out clues which follow a prescribed driving course around the island. Prizes will be awarded for best decorated vehicle, correct time, mileage, and the most correct answers to a quiz about things seen along the route. Proceeds go to fund college scholarships.

Fireworks Party 2013 at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club from 4 to 9 p.m., with food and beverage tickets for sale. Offerings include pig roast, grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken, plus putting contest and children’s games.

Fireworks will go off at dusk, as usual at the end of Bailey Road over San Carlos Bay.

Local Realtors® Get Legal Update

FLRealtors_newlogoMargy Grant, Vice President and General Counsel for Florida Realtors®, was on the island this morning giving our Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® members a legal update on a variety of subjects. It is always a treat for us to have members of Florida Realtors® staff here, when we can learn from their experiences at both the state and national level, plus get answers to our own specialized questions. Margy’s presentation covered such relevant topics as Realtors® IDX (Internet Data Exchange), the National Flood Insurance Program, short sales, upcoming contract form changes, advertising, and the various policies needed when working with social media. Florida Realtors® Legal Hot Line – which is one of her responsibilities – is a terrific resource for our members whenever we have questions about a specific issue. These lines are manned by attorneys. More than 50,000 questions are fielded each year. I look forward to seeing Margy and her team again in August during our annual committee meetings, convention and trade show.

Exciting News from BIG ARTS

BIG Arts logoThis week, fellow BIG ARTS members received a mailing from their President which discussed the Board of Directors recent meeting about the organization’s future direction. The letter said that for several years, the Board has seen the need to expand their educational offerings to meet the demands of their more than 1250-member families, to support the over 40,000 attendees who enjoy their music, dance, theater, film, lecture programs, youth camp, and special events, and the 7500+participants in their workshops and enrichment programs. It was hoped that their existing facilities which are on City property could be improved to meet their expansion requirements, but it seems that due to construction constraints, this is not the case.

The letter further went on to say “simultaneously with our own study, the City of Sanibel began to evaluate how to better integrate various arts and education activities into a “civic core” that would include 25 acres of City-owned land on Dunlop Road east of the library where the public works department is currently located. BIG ARTS Board of Directors met recently to consider the new direction. Mayor Kevin Ruane joined the meeting and described the City’s vision and plan. After discussion and deliberation our Board voted unanimously to work with the City on a new home in the civic core.”

A letter attachment prepared by the Barrier Island Group for the Arts and Toppe Consultants, Inc. (architects, planners, theater consultants) describes their “Needs Assessment” and was submitted to the City to document BIG ART’s vision and needs. “BIG ARTS is excited about the possibilities for their members and patrons and for the community as a whole.” Over the summer, they will be working with the City on a master plan for the new center.

City Manager, Judie Zimomra, posted some Facebook photos this week taken during the first of those meetings. How exciting is that?

As a long-time singer with the BIG ARTS Community Chorus which has grown to so many members that we no longer fit on the stage in Schein Performance Hall, I am excited too! Stay tuned.

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2013

Open HouseThe State of the Nation’s Housing report was posted on line this week. This report has been produced annually since 1988 by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Here’s some info from its “fact sheet” – or read the full report at http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/research/state_nations_housing

“Now in its 25th year, it (this report) continues to serve as an essential resource for both public policy makers and private decision makers in the housing industry. This year’s report provides a current assessment of the state of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demand; the state of mortgage finance; and ongoing housing affordability challenges.

“Findings

LONG-AWAITED HOUSING RECOVERY TOOK HOLD IN 2012

Rising Home Prices and Rents are Clearest Sign of Recovery

  • After across-the-board declines in 2011, all major house price indexes registered significant increases in 2012.
  • By March 2013, the median house price in the United States was up 11.6% year over year.
  • As of April 2013, home prices were up year over year in all but two states and in 94 of the 100 metropolitan areas tracked by CoreLogic.
  • Between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the fourth quarter of 2012, the number of underwater homeowners fell 1.7 million, to 10.4 million.
  • April 2013 marked the 34th consecutive month of growth in rents as measured by the consumer price index and the 15th consecutive month of year-over-year increases of 2.5% or more….”

Doc Ford’s Scoop

Doc Fords CaptivaNow that high season is over, the local worker bees, like me, in need of a “quick lunch” are back to patronizing the local eateries. When at Doc’s Ford’s Sanibel location this week, I got a little scoop on their new restaurant under construction out on Captiva. Staff members are excited about how well the work is progressing on that all-new restaurant just outside the entrance to South Seas Resort at 5400 Plantation Road (former location of Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbeque, Chadwick’s Restaurant before that). Called Doc Ford’s Captiva Rum Bar & Grille, it sounds like it will probably be opening soon, most likely in August. New servers are being trained now and it sounds like it will have the same popular menu as Doc’s other locations.

Improve a Cell Phone’s Weak Signal

The_New_York_Times_logo“Daily Real Estate News” on-line posted an article yesterday about dropped calls or weak connections which are common cell phone complaints. A recent article in The New York Times highlighted some ways signal strength may be improved. Those living on Sanibel’s east end – like me – are familiar with the areas where phone signals are not good. I have successfully used one of the remedies (a 3G MicroCell) suggested in this article, so hopefully by repeating that info here, it will help someone else too.

“If you don’t receive a good signal indoors, check with your cell phone carrier. All major carriers sell a device or technology that allows access to the standard cellular network via a home’s broadband connection (such as AT&T’s 3G MicroCell or Verizon’s Network Extender). You just plug the device into your router and it can potentially help to improve your connection quality as much as five bars.

“T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling, which allows users to make calls over a Wi-Fi network when cell reception is poor. But an iPhone would not work with this system; you need a Wi-Fi Calling-capable phone to use it, such as an Android or BlackBerry. 

“Signal boosters may also help. Boosters can amplify signal strength, but the hardware is bulky. The benefit with this option is that boosters don’t require you to have a certain carrier in order to add them. 

Phone carriers are debuting HD Voice, boasting that it can reduce background noise and improve voice calls so it’s like talking to someone on a landline. But the technology is in its infancy. It’s currently only delivered on certain phones, and will only work over LTE networks with some carriers.”

Source: “Remedies for Better Cellphone Signal and Quality,” The New York Times (June 26, 2013)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 21 to July 5

Sanibel
CONDOS
2 new listings: Spanish Cay #D4 2/2 $325K, Coquina Beach #4F 2/2 $439.9K.
2 price changes: Sandpiper Beach #103 2/2 now $589K, Kings Crown #313 2/2 now $590K.
4 new sales: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 listed for $175K, Mariner Pointe #1083 2/2 listed for $399K, Signal Inn #12 1/1 listed for $419K, Sundial #E308 2/2 listed for $835K.
11 closed sales: Sanibel Arms West #M3 2/2 $385.5K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 $375K, Sanibel Arms West #H2 2/2 $435K, Lighthouse Point #230 2/2 $465K, Sundial #L202 2/2 $489K, Nutmeg Village #202 2/2 $585K, Coquina Beach #2E 2/2 $585K, Nutmeg Village #105 2/2 $610K, Pointe Santo #C26 2/2 $625K, Surfside 12 #B4 3/2 $830K, Atrium #101 3/3 $970K.

HOMES
3 new listings: 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 $499K (our listing), 1014 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $585K, 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct 3/3 $1.094M.
2 price changes: 1249 Par View Dr 4/4.5 now $1.395M, 1950 Woodring Rd 4/3.5 now $2.475M.
3 new sales: 1021 Sand Cast Rd 2/2 listed for $409K (short sale), 1667 Sabal Sands Rd 3/3 listed for $450K, 1251 Anhinga Ln 3/3 listed for $1.995M.
11 closed sales: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 $350K, 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 $480.5K, 1744 Bunting Ln 3/2 $560K, 1045 Blue Heron Dr 3/3 $575K, 526 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 $620K, 1405 Jamaica Dr 3/2.5 $620K, 1255 Isabel Dr 3/3 $869K, 940 Victoria Way 3/3 $900K, 919 Almas Ct 3/2.5 $935K, 479 Lagoon Dr 3/3 $1.025M, 2429 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.275M.

LOTS
Nothing to report.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Lands End Village #1625 2/2 listed for $1.225M.
No closed sales.

HOMES
Nothing to report.

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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’ll be putting up our holiday “stars” on Monday so SanibelSusan Realty is ready for the 4th! Until next Friday, best wishes for a safe & happy holiday!

Gorgeous Summer Weather & Real Estate Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


White herons like Pointe Santo too!

White herons like Pointe Santo too!

It is another happy Friday here on Sanibel Island.

Below are some general island news items, followed by the activity posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

 

Vacation fun at Pointe Santo

Vacation fun at Pointe Santo

SanibelSusan finalized three transactions this week: a Pointe Santo condo listed for sale, a Sanibel Moorings condo sale, and two closings, an East Rocks and a Sanibel Bayous home.

Otherwise, the islands were pretty quiet – just some afternoon thunder showers – which make for beautiful sunsets. It is definitely summer-mode here now!

The beach today at Sanibel Moorings

The beach today at Sanibel Moorings

Sanibel Authorizes Work Toward a Civic Core Master Plan

Sanibel Planning Commission, with City Council direction, is reviewing sections of the Land Development Code with the goal of developing a Civic Core which would ease public safety, traffic, and parking concerns at community facilities like the Sanibel Library, City Hall, BIG Arts, the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, and the Center-4-Life, and for various events like the Farmers Market. Their input is expected for the next City Council Meeting on July 16. That is also the meeting when the annual Sanibel millage rate is expected to be set.

Three Sundial Restaurants Open to the Public

sundial-logoThis week, islanders got an invite to Sanibel Summerfest celebrating the opening of the three new restaurants and lounges at Sundial Beach Resort and Spa.

Danny MorganNow open to the public, they include “Waterview” which is the more formal dining room with panoramic view of the gulf, the casual “Turtles Cafe and Patio” also on the main level overlooking the pool to the beach, and “Sea Breeze” cafe downstairs near Turtles Tiki Bar where island Troubadour Danny Morgan plays Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Summer Happenings at Sanibel Historical Museum & Village

Museum LogoThe spring/summer issue of “The Old Village Voice” arrived this week. It reports that Sanibel’s Historical Museum and Village had over 7,000 visitors through April. Over 450 were children. A major upgrade at the village this past year is the addition of Shore Haven, their founder Elinore Dormer’s home, and its caretaker’s cottage. Over the upcoming year, these recent acquisitions will be restored and the village paths modified and native vegetation added to accommodate them.

Sanibel historic_buildings_villageIf you like visiting the Museum in the off-season, they are now operating on their summer schedule of Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (They will close August 4 and reopen November 6 on full hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

If you are looking for a special gift, the Gift Shop in Bailey’s Old General Store at the Village has some unique offerings. Or if you are looking to volunteer, check out the Museum website. Become a docent!

Sanibel Public Library Summer Happenings

sanibel_library exteriorI love it when I am working with prospective buyers new to the island and they visit the Sanibel Library for the first time. Suffice it to say, it always receives glowing reviews, as it did again last week from some folks who now have visited it several times while here for their condo-hunting expedition.

The Sanibel Public Library spring/summer newsletter “Palm Reader” just came out too. The Library is gearing up for its 2013 Summer Reading Program. Children will be “Reading for Others” just like last year, when they earned 857 books for the Children’s Hospital at Lee Memorial Health System. This year, they want to break the 1,000 book mark.

Downloading eBooks and audiobooks to tablets, phones, and iPods just got easier with an upgrade at the Sanibel Public Library’s eShelf service. Visit the Library’s Technology Lab or contact the Library technology staff to schedule an appointment.

Here’s a link to the library’s website. This is another organization/facility also operating with the help of many volunteers, nearly 5,000 hours this year!

Summer Arts Camp at BIG ARTS

BIG Arts logoFrom kindergarten-age right through high school, there is something for every one this year at BIG ARTS. Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through July 26, activities are designed for children to get creative and keep engaged during school break.

BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp 2013 flyer

Activities include acrylic painting, dance, puppetry, improvisational acting, music appreciation, folk art, and general arts and crafts. Middle and high schoolers have the option to attend as a student or participate in an apprenticeship program.

Sanibel Captiva Island Association of Realtors®

realtor logoThough there was no Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday, we had a presentation on Wednesday by three of our affiliate insurance brokers.

Flood insurance continues to hold the attention of all of us as the requirements of the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 are enacted. As the 2013 Chairman of our local Realtors Professional Development Committee, I facilitated the meeting. Though I have mentioned flood insurance in other recent blogs, it is worth repeating. This is serious stuff! I encourage all owners who have questions to contact their insurance carriers for advice particular to their property.

The Wednesday presenters were: David Arter with Private Client Insurance Services, Chris Heidrick with Heidrick & Co. Insurance, and Dawn Zettler with Insurance and Risk Management Services, Inc. Here is some summary info from Chris’s handout about what structures are impacted:

“Which Pre-FIRM Special Flood Hazard Area (A & V Zone) Structures Are Impacted?
(Pre-FIRM means when the community began using the Federal Flood Insurance Rate Maps. On Sanibel the Pre-FIRM date applies to a property constructed before April 16, 1979. Unincorporated Lee County joined the National Flood Insurance Program in September 1984.)

Primary Residence (Owner-Occupied 80% of the year – 292 nights):
Policy purchased prior to 7/6/12: will increase ~20% this year. Some subsidy will remain.
Policy purchased 7/6/12-9/30/12: full flood rate applies at next renewal on or after 10/1/13. Grandfathering will be eliminated at next renewal. Elevation certificate will be required or tentative/provisional rates will be applied.
Policy purchased 10/1/13 or later: full flood rate applies immediately, ineligible for grandfathering.

Non-Primary Residence
Policy purchased prior to 7/6/12: will increase 25% per year until full flood rate is reached, effective 1/1/13.
Policy purchased 7/6/12-9/30/12: full flood rate applies at next renewal on or after 10/1/13. Grandfathering will be eliminated at next renewal. Elevation certificate will be required or tentative/provisional rates will be applied.
Policy purchased 10/1/13 or later: full flood rate applies immediately, ineligible for grandfathering.

Condo Associations
Policy purchased prior to 7/6/12: regular rate increases. Subsidy will remain.
Policy purchased 7/6/12-9/30/12: full flood rate applies at next renewal on or after 10/1/13. Grandfathering will be eliminated at next renewal. Elevation certificate will be required or tentative/provisional rates will be applied.
Policy purchased 10/1/13 or later: full flood rate applies immediately, ineligible for grandfathering.

Non-Residential (Commercial Structures)
Policy purchased prior to 7/6/12: increase 25% per year until full flood rate is reached.
Policy purchased 7/6/12-9/30/12: full flood rate applies at next renewal on or after 10/1/13. Grandfathering will be eliminated at next renewal. Elevation certificate will be required or tentative/provisional rates will be applied.
Policy purchased 10/1/13 or later: full flood rate applies immediately, ineligible for grandfathering.

Notes: Full flood rate is the rate based on the Elevation Difference (lowest floor elevation – base flood elevation) in the current flood zone, as defined by a Flood Elevation Certificate. Policies with tentative/provisional rates are not eligible to receive claim payments and cannot be renewed.”

Summer Storm Prep

rainIsland Water’s summer newsletter, “IWA Pipeline” offers a good reminder: “Turn off your house (water) valves when you leave the islands for storms or extended periods of time. Water pipe breaks and leaks are wasteful and can be expensive. Water leaks inside an unoccupied home can be disastrous. Failed dishwasher, washing machine, and ice maker hoses can all lead to a very bad day inside an unoccupied home. There is a very good side to storm season – more RAIN – and hence lower consumption and increased water conservation!”

Ways a Property May Turn Off Buyers

BankRate.com logoBankrate.com recently featured a list of the top ways buyers back away from a property listed for sale. Its list includes these items, among others:

“Dirt – The No. 1 biggest mistake is not getting a property in the best possible condition…including steam-cleaning tile/grout and carpets and replacing carpets if necessary.

“Odors – …have curtains and upholstery cleaned, particularly if someone in the property is a smoker, and take steps to eliminate any pet odors.”

“Old fixtures – …outdated ceiling fans and light fixtures should be replaced prior to listing… New cabinet hardware and doorknobs are relatively inexpensive, but can make a huge difference.

“Wallpaper – When buyers see wallpaper, they think of another thing to add to their to-do list….

“Popcorn acoustic ceilings – These ceilings were popular in the 1960s/1970s but now can date a property….

“Too many personal decorative items – Clutter makes it difficult for buyers to see past the …belongings and start envisioning themselves there.”

Equity Membership Cost Increasing at The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary golfSheryl Tatum, Director of Membership and Marketing at Sanibel’s Sanctuary Golf Club, always does a good job at keeping Realtors® up-to-date on changes at the facility. Her June issue of their newsletter, the “Sanctuary Sound”, says:

“This is a reminder to you regarding the upcoming changes to the Equity Membership at The Sanctuary Golf Club. The Board of Governors of the Club approved an increase in the price of its Equity Membership to $110,000, effective July 1, 2013. The ability to pay for your membership in two installments if you are under the age of 60 years old is also being limited to younger than 55 years old effective July 1. If you join now as an Introductory Member and pay the $10,000 membership fee, you can retain the $100,000 price and save $10,000 when you convert to the Equity membership. If you are under the age of 60 years old, you can also lock in the two-installment option with your second payment due at 60 years old. Just send the Application for Membership and the $10,000 membership fee before July 1, 2013. The Application for Membership will be processed this summer. The annual dues will begin on October 1, 2013, as well as the membership. (If you are on island during the summer months, feel free to use the Club facilities and the nine reciprocal golf clubs.)

Note: There are a limited number of Equity and Social Memberships. Contact Sheryl Tatum at 239.322.5182 or statum@sanctuarygc.net to JOIN TODAY!”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 7-14

Sanibel
CONDOS
3 new listings: Pointe Santo #B23 2/2 $649.9K (our listing), Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 $899K, Shorewood #3 3/3 $1.849M.
No price changes.
2 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #241 1/1 listed for $309.9K (our buyer), Sedgemoor #101 3/3.5 listed for $2.349M.
4 closed sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary #A202 2/2 $357.5K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A102 2/2 $381K, Sanibel Arms West #I1 2/2 $409K, Sand Pointe #137 2/2 $735K.

HOMES
4 new listings: 1327 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $424.9K, 366 Lake Murex Blvd 4/3 $749K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 $1.1M, 1220 Morningside Place 5/5 multi-family $1.28M.
3 price changes: 1809 Bowmans Beach Rd 3/2 now $475K, 1625 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $489K, 4570 Bowen Bayou Rd 2/2 now $599K.
5 new sales: 9319 Kincaid Ct 3/2 listed for $525K, 1744 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $599K, 696 Durion Ct 3/2.5 listed for $635K, 657 Birdie View Pt 3/3 listed for $849K, 734 Pyrula Ave 3/2.5 listed for $875K.
8 closed sales: 1401 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex $356.5K, 625 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $400K (our buyer), 5650 SanCap Rd 2/2 $480K, 1206 Par View Dr 3/2 $625K, 4518 Bowen Bayou Rd 4/4 $640K (our buyer), 1163 Seagrape Ln 4/4 $749.9K, 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 $750K, 804 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1M.

LOTS
1 new listing: 864 Birdie View Pt $349.5K.
1 price change: 1503 San Carlos Bay Dr now $1.195M.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 2418 Blue Crab Ct $115K, 9277/9283 Belding Dr $147.8K.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2328 2/2 listed for $599K.
1 closed sale: Marina Villas #903 2/2 $525K.

HOMES
No new listings.
2 price changes: 15160 Captiva Dr 6/6.5 now $1,999,999; 15166 Wiles Dr 3/2.5 now $2.995M.
2 new sales: 1102 Tallow Tree Ct 5/4 half-duplex listed for $3.3M, 17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 listed for $3.698M.
1 closed sale: 11517 Wightman Ln 4/3 $1.625M.

LOTS
1 new listing: 15164 Wiles Dr $795K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.

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

Happy Summer from SanibelSusan & The Sanibel Susan Team!

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Are Lushing Up Again Thanks To Andrea!


It has been a rainy few days on Sanibel with off-and-on showers as Tropical Storm Andrea passed by Southwest Florida. Not very good beach days if you were lucky enough to be on the islands this week; but the parched lawns are greening up quickly – almost growing as one watches them! The rain finally abated today, but we are still waiting for blue skies again. Should happen by Sunday Her is one of SanibelSusan’s favorite island beach photos (by our pal, Jim Anderson of JMA Photography) to remind us of what it will look like!

Beach1(Large)

Yesterday, only three new listings were on our Realtor® Caravan which is now on the biweekly summer schedule. Dave and Lisa checked those out for us and then held open houses trying to attract some of the island visitors looking for things to do on a soggy day. Elise’s report below covers the activity posted in the Sanibel Captiva Multiple Listing Service this week. Usually there is a downtrend in the number of sales this time of the year, but I’ve been working on an offer all week and Elise’s report shows I’m not the only one. All good progress in a recovering market. We hope it continues!

More on Flood Insurance

News Press logoEven though I’ve mentioned this subject several times lately, here is more info on a topic that has been in the forefront recently with Realtors® working in waterfront areas. With the June 1 onset of Hurricane Season, the following article was in the Fort Myers “News Press” on Saturday.

“Starting in 2014, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 will phase out grandfathering practices for changes to Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Currently, some policyholders can keep their old flood insurance rates if changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps impact them negatively. According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency fact sheet, this practice will be phased out gradually.

“Some Southwest Florida property owners are going to see drastic increases in their flood insurance rates. A law passed by Congress in 2012 is working to phase out many of the nation’s subsidized flood insurance policies – which in Southwest Florida tend to be older houses in flood-prone coastal areas like Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach. The law’s goal, in part, is to make the National Flood Insurance Program financially stable and to have subsidized properties reflect their true flood risk.

“However, this law is especially troublesome for Southwest Florida residents who bought subsidized flood insurance policies after the law went into effect July 6. These policyholders will incur the full rate increase at once on October 1 when policies need to be renewed – despite many having purchased these policies before the Federal Emergency Management Agency began to understand the law’s impact. As of December 31, Lee County had 30,631 flood insurance policies affected by the 2012 legislation. Collier County had 17,224, according to a FEMA spreadsheet….

“According to a fact sheet from FEMA, the law known as Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 will affect subsidized properties first. Subsidized policies are on properties built before Flood Insurance Rate Maps were put in place, and different communities adopted these maps at different times. Sanibel, for example, adopted the maps in 1979 while Fort Myers Beach adopted them in 1984 when part of unincorporated Lee County.

“About 20% of flood policies nationwide receive subsidies. The immediate impact of the law is on vacation homes in areas defined by FEMA as having at least a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. These properties began seeing 25% annual increases on renewals following January 1. Likewise, properties with repeated or severe flooding and businesses located in flood zones will see 25% increases on renewals following October 1. These increases will continue until rates are high enough to cover the property’s risk.

“Primary residences won’t be hit as hard. These policyholders will continue to receive subsidized rates unless or until: the property is sold, the policy lapses, the property suffers severe or repeated flood loss, or a new policy is purchased. These policyholders may still see rate increases….”

5 Mistakes Foreign Buyers Make

FLRealtors_newlogo“Florida Realtor®” June magazine had a good article about the mistakes foreign buyers often make when investing in U.S. real estate. Though most of our sellers are U.S. citizens, it has some good advice for those who are not. Here’s a synopsis:

“Mistake #1 – I don’t need to worry about estate taxes, I’m in good health – …The U.S. imposes an estate tax at a rate of up to 40% on the portion of a foreign individual’s gross estate (assets controlled by taxpayer) situated in the U.S. that exceeds $60K….” It is best to consult a tax attorney/certified public accountant.

“Mistake #2 – Believing that use of a foreign corporation will offer protection from U.S. estate tax – This may be true if it’s done correctly. In general, purchasing U.S. real property through a foreign corporation can shield a foreigner from the U.S. estate tax. The shares of a foreign corporation are considered non-U.S. situs property, which means the shares of the foreign corporation are considered as being situated outside the United States. As such, they are not subject to U.S. estate tax upon the foreigner’s death. However, for such corporate ownership to be respected for tax purposes, it is important that the foreign owner of the foreign corporation enter into a lease agreement with the foreign corporation any time that foreign owner uses the underlying real estate for personal purposes. Adequate rent for such personal use should be paid to the foreign corporation, which may have U.S. income tax consequences as well as require the filing of both a federal and a Florida corporate income tax return. Otherwise, the Internal Revenue Service could assert that the foreign corporation lacks substance and that the underlying U.S. real property is owned directly by the foreigner, thereby subjecting that U.S. property to estate taxation.”

“Mistake #3 – Deciding to use the same structure used by a friend – Buying U.S. real estate through a foreign corporation can potentially insulate a foreigner from U.S. estate tax if the sale is structured properly. However, this structure will result in significantly higher income tax when the foreigner sells the property. A foreign corporation’s capital gains from the sale of real estate is subject to combined U.S. federal and Florida corporate income tax rates totaling up to 38%. There is also the potential of an additional 30% U.S. branch profits tax, which is an extra income tax that the U.S. imposes on a foreign corporation’s earnings. On the other hand, capital gains earned by an individual or pass through entity, such as a limited liability company, are subject to capital gains tax of up to 20% in 2013. Accordingly, if a foreigner intends to invest in U.S. real estate and sell it for profit, a foreign corporation is clearly not a good ownership vehicle.”

“Mistake #4 – Transferring one’s U.S. real estate to someone else – A foreigner’s gift, sale or other transfer of U.S. real estate is generally subject to U.S. income tax under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). The federal government collects this income tax (or at least a portion of it) by requiring the recipient (e.g. the buyer) of the U.S. real estate to withhold 10% of its gross proceeds or fair market value…Further, in 2013 the federal government imposed a gift tax on the transfer of U.S. real estate to the extent that the gift exceeds $14K (or $143K if the gift is made to a spouse)…Finally, Florida imposes a documentary stamp tax on the sale of real estate in Florida and certain other transfers to the extent that the real estate is mortgaged….”

“Mistake #5 – Thinking “I am fine as long as I don’t stay in the U.S. for more than six months in a year” – Many foreigners believe that they can be physically present in the U.S. up to six months each year without becoming a U.S. tax resident for income tax purposes. However, this is technically incorrect. A foreigner is deemed to be a U.S. resident for income tax purposes if the average number of days spent in the U.S. over a 3-year period equals or exceeds 183 per year. Under this “substantial presence” test, a foreigner will generally become a tax resident if he or she is physically present in the U.S. for more than 120 days per year….”

Again, early planning whether buying or selling, including consulting a U.S. tax professional who specializes in international taxation is best!

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

Sanibel
CONDOS
3 new listings: Duggers Tropical Cottages #2 1/1 $249K, Cottage Colony West #103 1/1 $538.9K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #2-A 3/2.5 $609K.
4 price changes: Sundial #G401 2/2 now $459K, Tarpon Beach #206 2/2 $667K, Sayana #103 2/2 now $769K, Seascape #104 3/3 now $2.495M.
5 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #M3 2/2 listed for $395K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 listed for $395.9K, Sanibel Arms #A1 2/2 listed for $420K, Sanibel Arms West #H2 2/2 listed for $469K, Pointe Santo #A22 2/2 listed for $759K.
8 closed sales: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 $195K, Lake Palms #7 2/2.5 $229K, Sundial #F307 1/1 $274K, Loggerhead Cay #432 2/2 $415K, Sundial #J107 2/2 $445K, Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $510K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $550K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #5-2 3/3 $535K.

HOMES
2 new listings: 1549 Wilton Ln 3/3 $499K, 236 Hurricane Ln 3/3 $555K.
5 price changes: 1021 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $409K (short sale), 1667 Sabal Sands Rd 3/3 now $450K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 now $499K, 5423 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 now $1.595M, 4717 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 now $2.45M (short sale).
4 new sales: 2560 Coconut Dr listed for $495K, 9319 Kincaid Ct 3/2 listed for $525K, 1316 Eagle Run Dr 4/3 listed for $899K, 1550 Angel Dr 3/2.5 listed for $995K.
5 closed sales: 531 Birdsong Place 2/2 $300K, 9484 Peaceful Dr 3/3.5 $565K, 1511 Angel Dr 2/2 $590K, 4207 Gulf Pines Dr 4/4.5 $870K, 4949 Joewood Dr 5/5 $2.3M.

LOTS
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 1503 San Carlos Bay Dr listed for $1.295M.
No closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Marina Villas #710 2/2 $559K.
3 price changes: Tennis Villas #3110 1/1 now $225K, Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 now $255K, Lands End Village #1665 2/2 now $1.225M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Beach Villas #2534 3/3 $738K.

HOMES
1 new listing: 14980 Binder Dr 3/3 $1.465M.
1 price change: 15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $2.175M.
No new or closed sales.

LOTS
Nothing to report.

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

Happy Weekend, Bring on the Sun!

Gulf of Mexico beach in front of Loggerhead Cay condominiums on Sanibel Island, pix by Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

Gulf of Mexico beach in front of Loggerhead Cay condominiums on Sanibel Island, pix by Jim Anderson, JMA Photography