Turtles, Tortoises, Ospreys, Flowering Trees, & “The Sanibel Stoop”

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It’s another happy Friday at SanibelSusan Realty Associates. Just our escapades on a single day again showed us why we love working on this wonderful paradise island. The slide show above includes a variety of photos that Dave, Lisa, and I took on Tuesday (February 7, 2012) while out both showing property and scoping out some listings. Local meteorologists had forecast a rainy day, but these pictures go to show that if there is one thing that changes frequently here, it’s the weather. We had an overcast couple of hours early day, but by 10 a.m. the islands were again sunny and bright.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands have experienced a very mild winter. Our daily temperatures for several weeks have been in the 70s/80s with cooling breezes off the gulf and bay waters.

Shellabration 2012 Begins

For those wanting to partake in the events honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, they are right around the corner.

  • Next Friday, February 17, at 10 a.m. sharp is Sanibel’s effort to set an official Guiness World Record. The goal is to have at least 500 people come to Bowman’s Beach to perform the “Sanibel Stoop” and in the process break the record for the world’s largest treasure hunt. Pre-registration and transportation arrangements begin today at the Sanibel Community House. Pre-registration is necessary to be counted! Official T-shirts will be distributed free to those attending.
  • Also on the 17th, in the evening, the Community House is hosting a “Shellegant” opening gala dinner and dance at the Sanctuary Golf Club.
  • On Monday, February 27, tickets are available for the Shell Couture Fashion Show and Lunch, also at the Sanctuary Golf Club. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus is providing entertainment. (Bet you know who will be singing in that).
  • The fair itself, runs daily from March 1-3 at The Community House. SanibelSusan Realty this year again is a trophy sponsor. For more details on these events, either call the Sanibel Community Association at 472-2155 or go to their website at http://SanibelCommunityHouse.net.

With our office being in close proximity to The Community House, we often get walks-ins during their scheduled events.

More Deals Falling Through

An article posted this week in Florida Realtors® caught my eye. The article was sourced from “Real Estate: A Buy or Bust This Spring Selling Season?” Investor’s Business Daily (February 2, 2012) and Realtor Magazine Daily News. Here in Southwest Florida and even on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, the same problem exists. The article said:

“Appraisals coming in lower than the agreed-upon sales price continue to cause more real estate deals to be cancelled, recent surveys show. In December, a third of real estate professionals reported they had a real estate contract fall through, up from 9% a year earlier. The National Association of Realtors®, along with other housing industry groups, point to low appraisals and rejected mortgage applications from a stringent lending environment as the main forces behind the high number of transaction cancellations in recent months. Too often, foreclosure sales – which tend to be sold at big discounts – are being weighted into valuations of non-foreclosure homes, experts argue.
“The National Association of Home Builders’ chairman Bob Nielsen has called the use of distressed and foreclosure sales in comparables in appraisals “inappropriate” and “needlessly driving down home prices.” Sixty percent of builders say they’re seeing problems from appraisals coming in below their contract sales price. “This is not only unfair and unreasonable, but it perpetuates the cycle of declining home values, drives more homeowners underwater, harms local economic activity and acts as an obstacle to the recovery of the housing market,” Nielsen said in a statement in December about appraisals.
“But the lending environment also needs to change for the housing market to recover and for fewer deals to stop falling through, housing experts say. “If we simply return to the normal credit standards, verifying income and looking at the creditworthiness of an individual to stay in a property long term, we think sales will be 15% to 20% above where they are,” NAR spokesman Walt Molony told Investor’s Business Daily. “There are more people trying to buy homes than are succeeding today.”

Sanibel & Captiva Island Real Estate Activity This Week

Our Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday was held at The Sanctuary Golf Club where Ken Kouril, the Club General Manager, updated us on memberships. It has already been a busy “season” at The Sanctuary, as he reported that they have only five social and five golf memberships left. Once those are gone, memberships will be wait-listed.

Lots of new real estate sales were announced during the meeting. Our listings had good showing activity too, plus we held several open houses which brought in some lookers (probably helped that we had a couple of cloudy afternoons). Lisa and I were out showing property on Tuesday. Now we have an offer in the works. I also am negotiating an offer that came in on one of our listings. All-in-all, this is more positive news than we have had in a long time. “Season is here”, with another good eight weeks of action expected.

Multiple Listing Service Activity February 3-10

3 new listings: Sundial #C110 1/1 $329K, Breakers West #B1 2/2 $399K, Sanddollar #C101 2/2 $899K.
10 price changes: Coquina Beach #1D 2/2 now $379K, Sanibel Arms #2 1/1 now $395K, Blind Pass #B103 3/2 now $499K, Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $499K, Pelicans Roost #104 2/2 now $650K, Pointe Santo #C25 3/2 now $799K, Sanibel Surfside #125 2/2 now $849K, Sundial #A301 2/2 now $875K, Sundial #T306 3/2 now $995K, Beachcomber #A101 2/2 now $1.549M.
6 new sales: Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 listed for $269.9K, Mariner Pointe #1082 2/2 listed for $298.5K, Sundial #B301 1/1 listed for $315K, Kings Crown #104 2/2 listed for $629K, Signal Inn #18 2/2 listed for $889K, Sunward #203 3/2 listed for $1.195M.                           2 closed sales:  Seawind II #5 2/2.5 $539K, Sedgemoor #203 3/3.5 $2.082.5M.
12 new listings: 565 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $448K, 750 Nerita St 3/2 $509K, 236 Hurricane Ln 3/2 $549K, 3868 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $599K, 1366 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $725K, 4518 Bowen Bayou Rd 4/4 $779K, 963 Kings Crown Dr 3/3 $795K, 4996 Joewood Dr 3/3 $799K, 2479 Harbour Ln 3/2 $850K, 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 $989K, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 $1.199M, 4215 West Gulf Dr 4/5.5 $4.999.9M.
17 price changes: 984 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $353K, 761 Nerita St 3/2 now $465K, 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 now $499K, 2560 Coconut Dr 3/3 now $515K, 5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $519.9K, 1245 Anhinga Ln 3/2 now $569K, 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $574K, 1705 Serenity Ln 3/2.5 now $584.5K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $595K, 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex now $599K, 9470 Balsa Ct 3/2 now $749K, 5864 Pine Tree Dr 3/3.5 now $899K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $950K, 2367 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 now $1.098M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.279M, 1470 Middle Gulf Dr 4/5.5 now $2.095M, 568 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 now $2.5M.
5 new sales: 1001 East Gulf Dr 2/2 listed for $399K, 761 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $465K, 237 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $550K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 listed for $729.9K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed for $749K. 
5 closed sales: 5657 SanCap Rd 3/2 $400K, 1345 Junonia St 2/2 $530K, 1242 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 $730.75K, 4405 West Gulf Dr 2/1.5 $1.65M, 5045 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 $1.8M.
1 new listing: 861 Birdie View Pt $374.9K.
1 price change: 1657 Sabal Sands Rd now $279,999.
1 new sale: 604 Boulder Dr listed for $270K.
2 closed sales:  4407 West Gulf Dr $1.65M, 3935 West Gulf Dr $2.15M.
3 new listings: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 $635K, Bayside Villas #5338 3/3 $635K, Bayside Villas #5343 3/3 $699K.
3 price changes: Bayside Villas #5308 3/3 now $599K, Seabreeze #1251 3/3 now $1.649M, Beach Homes #2 3/2 now $1.749M.
1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2323 1/1 listed for $475K.
No closed sales.
2 new listings: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4.5 $2.375M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $3.995M.
No price changes or new sales.
1 closed sale: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4.5 $1.96M (foreclosure).
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.

If you are on the island this weekend, be sure to stop in,

I’ll be in the office both days,


What’s Cookin’ With Sanibel & Captiva Island Real Estate…

Here’s hoping everyone has had a good holiday so far. Thankfully, it has been a busier week, than last, for us at SanibelSusan Realty Associates. We always know that “high season” has arrived when we see traffic control officers at, not only the 4-way stop coming on the island, but also at the Jerry’s intersection and at the end of Tarpon Bay Road. Unfortunately, they make for a long commute for those traveling on-off island, but undoubtedly are good protection for those visiting bikers and drivers unfamiliar with the surroundings.

With a cooler weather (down into the 60’s) both yesterday and today, the restaurants and shops too are busier, though our Realtor® colleagues report very few visitors during their Christmas week open houses. We also held listings open two afternoons and likewise had few inquiries. Once again this year, this holiday week has been more a family time for island fun. 

High Season Indicators

Reports are that Sundial Beach and Golf Resort was booked at only 60% over the Christmas holiday, with other rental organizations indicating similar occupancy. Even fewer arrivals are expected for the New Year when the Christmas visitors check-out tomorrow. After that, we expect our standard lull until about mid-January, when the snow really begins to fall up north and things will pick up here again. Good solid bookings already are indicated for both February and March.

We also always know that “high season” is upon us when we get a flurry of calls to list property. As much as we prefer getting new listings in the fall, many prospective sellers wait until December and January to contact us, when “season” is essentially here. We had three such calls yesterday and once again had to advise the owners that to position their properties to sell in today’s market, they need to be priced at considerably less than their expectations. Those conversations are definitely not the fun part of our job.

Status of Offers

Sanibel Lighthouse

I worked negotiating a couple of offers over the Christmas holiday. No good news to report on those yet. Just to illustrate the frustrations in today’s market, one is a situation where a prospective buyer offered 25% less than the asking price on one of our best-priced listings. The other is where I wrote a clean offer on another company’s listing at only 8% less that the asking price. That property has been on the market for several years and the sellers refuse to respond. We are persistent, however, so I anticipate that “season” will be a good one for the “reasonable” buyers and sellers.

Year-End Sanibel Update on Inventory and Sales

These probably are not the final numbers as there are a few island closings occurring this afternoon, but the summary below shows that Sanibel inventory is back up as we go into “season”.

  • 265 condos are for sale, 9 are under contract, & 142 have sold/closed this year, which is more than the 120 sales in 2010. Average sale price is $591,672 which is 3% less than last year & 32% less than the heyday of 2006.
  • 231 homes are for sale, 28 are under contract, & 177 have sold/closed this year, which is more than the 124 sales in 2010. Average sale price is $819,080 which is 6% more than last year & 28% less than the heyday of 2006.
  • 112 lots are for sale, 2 are under contract, & 18 have sold/closed this year. Average sale price is $378,381, which is higher than last year, but 21 lots sold in 2010, so the number of lot sales is down & the average sale price is 56% less than the heyday.

Filing for Florida Homestead & Property Tax Exemptions

The official filing period for the 2012 homestead exemption and property tax exemptions opens Sunday and ends on March 1. Applications filed after March 1 are considered late. If you believe you qualify as a Florida resident and reside in your home as a permanent resident as of January 1, you should apply right away, according to the Lee County Property Appraiser. Visit the property appraiser website – leepa.org for contact information, exemption qualifications and filing information. The office is at 2480 Thompson St., Fort Myers, corner of Fowler Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 23-30

1 new listing: Sundial #A405 2/2 $799K.
6 price changes: Sundial #G107 1/1 now $249.9K, Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 now $255K, Coquina Beach #5A 2/2 now $304K, Sundial #D205 1/1 now $389K, Sunset South $9A 2/2 now $519K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $575K.
1 new sale: Colonnades #C43 1/1 listed for $169K.
2 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #1312 2/2 $340K, Tarpon Beach #110 2/2 $590K.
6 new listings: 3822 Coquina Dr 3/2 $449K, 1394 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex $499K, 525 Lake Murex Cir 3/2.5 $499K, 733 Durion Ct 3/2 $577K, 5864 Pine Tree Dr 3/3.5 $995K, 1842 Woodring Rd 3/3.5 $1.998M.
2 price changes: 1433 Jamaica Dr 5/4 duplex now $455K, 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 now $780K.
6 new sales: 1585 Serenity Ln 3/2 listed for $419K, 1123 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $539.9K, 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 listed for $1.395M, 6004 White Heron Ln 4/4/2 listed for $1.895M, 909 Snowberry Ln 3/3 listed for $2.15M, 1191 Bird Ln 4/3 listed for $2.195M (short sale).
1 closed sale: 1454 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $280K.
3 new listings: 564 Hideaway Ct $249,555; 707 Emeril Ct $345K; 5821 Pine Tree Dr $550K.
1 price change: 2562 Coconut Dr now $349K.
No new or closed sales.
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. 

Until next Friday, Happy New Year & best wishes for a healthy 2012 from SanibelSusan

Summer-Like Weather After Thanksgiving on Sanibel Island

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Here is hoping that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Today it is just SanibelSusan at the office, enjoying the traffic from the Sanibel Masters Art Fair across the street and playing catch-up. This is the time of the year when we most often find that folks are more involved with their holiday plans than they are with their real estate purchases, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive an offer on one of our listings yesterday. Negotiations are ongoing. We actually had a few other good inquiries this week too. The pictures above are from my travels out showing bay-front homes earlier in the week.

A little scuttlebutt here last weekend was the official posting in one of the local newspapers that Sundial Resort is for sale. No news on the price or conditions of the sale, so we will keep our ear to the ground on that one.

The week’s Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity follows a couple of news items below.

Sanibel Weather

remains delightful. It was 68 degrees when I headed to the office this morning, with a high in the upper 70’s expected both today and right through the weekend. Monday a little rain is forecast, bringing in a cool front. I still get tickled to say that a Florida cool front is when it drops into the low 70’s during the day. That is what the weather is expected to be by mid-week, just in time for 27th year of the Sanibel Luminary next Fri night (12/2). Luminary strollers like wearing scarves and Santa hats, with their shorts and flip flops, so the weather should be perfect for that. Captiva Luminary is next Sat night (12/3). Here’s a link to the Captiva Holiday Village events calendar. The holiday events have already begun!

Weekend Happenings

If you are out and about on the islands this weekend be sure to catch the Sanibel Masters Art Festival on the grounds of the Community House both today and tomorrow (Sat) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus is singing two mini-concerts from their holiday repertoire at the festival late-morning tomorrow. Plus Katie Gardenia, renown island baker, artist, and former owner of The Bubble Room, will be there autographing her new combo cookbook and coffee table book called “A Bubble Moment”. She will be selling her fabric sculpture and fabric art pieces too. www.KatieGardenia.com

Tomorrow night (Sat), there is a Livingston Taylor Concert at BIG Arts. When I stopped into the BIG ARTS office right behind my office, I heard there still are tickets. Livingston often hangs out at The Bean when he is in town, though I have not spotted him there yet this year. If you are a fan and are here, his concerts always get raves.

Sanibel City Council & Chamber of Commerce Host Resort Redevelopment Workshop

On Tues Nov 29 at 8 a.m., the Chamber in conjunction with the City will host a workshop at the Sanibel Community House to discuss resort redevelopment. The workshop is being held to help explain recent changes to the Land Development Code. As background, shortly after the incorporation of Sanibel in 1974, the Sanibel Plan created a resort housing district. This district included most of the resorts that then existed on the island. In 2010, City Council determined that there was a need to allow for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of these now aging resort housing district buildings. Most of these resort district properties are short-term rentals. Council considered their preservation to be in the interests of residents and businesses. Over a 12-month period, the Sanibel Planning Commission reviewed the Land Development Code in order to identify any necessary changes to enable progress toward these updating objectives. Specific recommendations for changes were developed, discussed in public meetings, and accepted by City Council in June.

HealthPark Medical Center

It is pretty common in the real estate business for those new to the area to ask us about the closest medical facility. In that HealthPark Medical Center, just off-island, recently turned “20”, it seems like a good time to provide an update of what is available close to Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Beginning in the mid-1980’s as a 120-bed satellite hospital for Lee Memorial Health System’s downtown Fort Myers campus, HealthPark evolved initially as a 220-bed medical center with a grand 4-story glass atrium and a location on a 400-acre planned HealthPark Florida campus that would offer services to the south Lee County community. It took four years to design, three to build. To ensure the new hospital’s success and to ease challenges at Lee Memorial downtown, pediatric, obstetrics, and cardiac care services were moved to this new facility. When the Medical Center opened in 1991, with it came a new era of medical care in Southwest Florida, often described as “ten years ahead of its time.” I have always been amazed with the bright cheerful atrium. Some say their initial impression is hotel, not hospital. How many hospitals have a grand piano being played in their lobby? fresh popcorn for visitors? and single-sized rooms equipped for overnight guests?

In 1994 the campus expanded to include The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and an expansion in 2005 added medical surgery and critical care beds, upping the facility’s beds to 368. In 2013, the Center will continue to grow with a 6-story 148-bed children’s hospital which will also free up more adult cardiac beds. Like Children’s Hospital, the HealthPark campus continues to grow. Today, it is 85% built out and home to the Cypress Cove retirement and assisted living community, HealthPark Care Center, Lee Memorial Health Services Outpatient Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Florida, and other health-related facilities. A 3-story 78-bed private psychiatric hospital is under construction and shops and restaurants are staring to open in a new retail center too. Commuting time from SanibelSusan Realty to the hospital varies depending on the time of day and time of the year – but is under 30 minutes.

Sanibel & Captiva Island Multiple Listing Service Activity November 18-25:



6 new listings: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 $179K, Sanibel Arms #G2 1/1 $460K, Loggerhead Cay #434 2/2 $625K, Tarpon Beach #104 2/2 $679K, Pelicans Roost #101 2/2 $809K, Signal Inn #18 2/2 $949K.

6 price changes: Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 now $269.9K, Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $392.5K, Lighthouse Point #230 2/2 now $495K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $589K, Kings Crown #211 3/2 now $699K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 now $730K.

2 new sales: Sundial #C208 1/1 listed for $298K, Gulfside Place #104 3/2 listed for $1.195M.

No closed sales.


5 new listings: 967 Beach Rd 2/2 half-duplex $575K, 1854 Farm Trail 3/2 $625K, 450 Sea Walk Ct 3/3 $649.9K, 5885 PIne Tree Dr 3/2 $699K, 6211 Starling Way 4/4.5 $2.495M.

6 price changes: 490 Old Trail Rd 3/2 now $449K, 1123 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $539.9K, 3861 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $749K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 now $960K, 720 Periwinkle Way 3/35 now $1.497.5M, 1290 Isabel Dr 6/4 now $2.49M (short sale).

3 new sales: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 listed for $269K, 436 Glory Cir 3/3 listed for $549.9K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $774.9K.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 1594 Century Ct $139.9K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 3001 Poinciana Cir $139K.



1 new listing: Marina Villas #807 2/2 $630K.

2 price changes: Tennis Villas #3224 1/1 now $260K, Marina Villas #603 2/2 now $540K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5330 3/3 $550K.


1 new listing: 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 $1.389M.

3 price changes: 11490 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $875K, 11521 Wightman Ln 4/3 now $1.495M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.95M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 $1.15M.


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.

Hope you all are enjoying those turkey sandwiches…until next week…SanibelSusan

Sanibel Sunsets

Sorry for the delay in posting the blog this week. I was at Florida Realtors® Headquarters in Orlando on Thursday and Friday attending Mediation Training and the drive home yesterday afternoon took a little longer than expected. For those wondering how long it takes to get from Sanibel Island to the theme parks in Orlando, if you drive the back roads, it is an easy three hours. Also is very scenic drive, if you like farms, lots of cattle and orange groves. It is always an especially nice ride on a fall evening with beautiful cloud formations and terrific sunsets.

The sunset over farm country last night was spectacular. In checking Facebook last night it looks like sunset was pretty special here too. This picture is one of my favorite island sunset photos, taken coming over the causeway. These nightly events are so terrific here on the islands that folks gather on the beaches to watch them. It is no wonder that local song-master Danny Morgan wrote a special song to honor them, “Sanibel Sunsets”.

Another of my Danny Morgan favorites is “Running on the Beach”, which is one of his older songs with a very catchy tune. He played it on-request for us at the 2nd Annual Shell Museum Fundraiser Celebrity Waiter Dinner at Trader’s on Monday night. Danny plays at a variety of island establishments throughout the week. Next time you hear Danny, be sure to request “Running on the Beach”, it will get your toes tapping and put a smile on your face. Danny will probably know that SanibelSusan had something to do with the request too.

Seems I did not miss too much real estate action while I was away for those few days. Here are a couple of real estate tidbits, followed by the listing and sales activity posted for Sanibel and Captiva Islands since last Friday (September 30).

Incentives Attract Buyers, But Do They Close Deals?

An article posted this week by Information, Inc. discusses a recent Fox Business News report which echoes our sentiments.

“Real estate professionals say incentives to sweeten a real estate deal are certainly good ways to generate buzz about a property, but the asking price is the real key to getting a home sold. Incentives to get home buyers’ attention have gotten lavish. Recent examples include a new BMW, season tickets to football games, a boat for waterfront properties, $3,000 gift cards at interior design studios and even the homeowners’ pet.

““We’re in a price war and a beauty contest,” Tony Vehon, broker and owner of Weichert Realtors Lake Realty in Gold Canyon, Ariz., told Fox Business News. “Every home has to be priced right and look perfect.  After that, a special incentive might drive traffic, especially if you offer something that grabs attention – something a little beyond the norm.”

“Martha Thorn, a real estate pro with The Thorn Collection at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Tampa, Fla., says that one of her sellers with a home priced less than $200,000 tried to lure homebuyers by offering season tickets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ football games. “The buyers were thrilled with the tickets, but that certainly wasn’t the reason they bought the house,” Thorn said. “The most important thing is always the price.”

“Linda O’Koniewski, broker-owner of RE/MAX Heritage in Melrose, Mass., agrees: Price still is key. “An offer to pay condo fees for a year or so will definitely create some buzz, and at least get a buyer to take a second look at a property,” O’Koniewski said. But sellers must realize that “no amount of marketing will make a dent if the price is not right. If you are not competitive on the price, you cannot sell your house.”


New Captiva Building Height Restrictions

New visitors to the island often ask us why there are so many more “big” buildings on Captiva. The easy answer to that question is that Sanibel is incorporated as a City with its own Land Development Code, while Captiva is part of Lee County which basically has a less restrictive building code. Now, some changes are in the works for Captiva. Among the items to be discussed at The Captiva Community Panel meeting next week is an amendment to the Captiva portion of the Lee Plan. This new language, specifically written to cover Captiva as a barrier island may take effect as early as November once it has been approved in ordinance form by county commissioners. It provides that the height of buildings not exceed the least restrictive of the following two options

  • 35′ above the average grade of the lot or 42′ above mean sea level measured to the peak of the roof, whichever is lower, or
  • 28′ above the lowest horizontal member at or below the lawful base flood elevation.

Fishing the Islands 

There is an eye-catching photo in the “Island Sun” this week, of fishing captain Matt Mitchell holding a HUGE redfish. According to Matt, the early cold front last week fired up the fish in the bay, along the beaches, and in the passes. Although the annual bait migration had already begun, this kicked into high gear. With water temperatures starting to cool, fishing should only get better and better throughout the month.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity September 30 – October 7



3 new listings: Sanibel Arms #H4 2/2 $490K, Island Beach Club #220B 2/2 $539K, Sundial #T306 3/2 $1.081M. 

5 price changes: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 now $238K (short sale), Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $395K, Sandalfoot #3D1 2/2 now $469K, Sundial #J201 1/1 now $495K, Sundial #G104 2/2 now $495K.

1 new sale: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 listed for $350K.

3 closed sales: Village of Sanibel #R-1 3/2.5 $279K, Gulfside Place #106 2/2 $795K, Gulfside Place #128 3/2.5 $1.5M.


3 new listings: 3180 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $599K, 1532 Angel Dr 3/3 $1.195M, 1220 Morningside Place 4/4 2 duplexes $1.595M.

9 price changes: 2621 SanCap Rd 3/2 now $284.9K, 1046 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $395K, 1929 Sanibel Bayous Rd 4/3 now $449K, 4291 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2.5 now $549K, 1001 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 now $679K, 2555 Coconut Dr 3/2 now $685K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $740K, 4405 West Gulf Dr 2/1.5 now 1.95M (short sale), 4717 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 now $2.275M. 

2 new sales: 1212 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 listed for $379K, 617 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $545K.

8 closed sales:  3808 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $426K; 4632 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $486.2K; 1247 Par View Dr 3/2 $680K; 1717 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 $588,827; 5422 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 half-duplex $780K; 970 Victoria Way 3/3 $950K; 5235 Indian Ct 4/3.5 $1.09M; 2596 Wulfert Rd 5/4.5 $2.225M. 


No new listings.

3 price changes: Periwinkle Way now $185K, 0 Coconut Dr now $349K, 4407 West Gulf Dr now $1.85M (short sale).

No new or closed sales.



1 new listing: Beach Homes #13 3/3 $2.475M.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 now $315K, Captiva Shores #6B 2/2 now $799.5K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1640 3/3 $1.75M.


2 new listings: 15 Seascape Ct 3/2 $749K, 16205 Captiva Dr 4/4 $2,194,500 (foreclosure).

1 price change: 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 now $1.19M.

No new or closed sales.


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.

Until next Friday, here’s wishing you beautiful sunsets,


Best Weather Comes Right After Summer

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What a quick week. How can it already be Friday? Below are a few news items followed by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands MLS activity for the past week. Lisa will be in the office tomorrow updating our inventory lists. Be sure and let us know anytime you would like an update. They continue to be “best sellers”.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

There was no Realtor Caravan meeting this week, but next Thursday is our monthly Membership Meeting with breakfast and speaker (talking about our canals and waterways). I will be monitoring our Orientation Session for new Realtors® on Tuesday morning (yes, there really are new agents still joining this profession) and was just advised of our annual Professionals Standards training in November. Our Realtor® organization requires that each Association have trained representatives to handle arbitration and ethics complaints. I have been part of that group for years and may eventually qualify as an official Mediator.

Island Weather

After seeing what has been happening around the nation this week, I am almost embarrassed to report how wonderful the weather has been here on the islands. We have had mostly sunny bright days with occasional showers, just enough to keep the temperatures down and the sunsets magnificent. The views driving over the causeway on the Labor Day weekend were postcard picture- perfect, though the beaches and waterways were not very busy. September truly is a wonderful time to be here. Traffic is light and it is a fun-time for the locals to enjoy the islands.

Planning Ahead

If you are thinking about what will be happening on the islands between now and the end of the year and when you should plan your next visits, keep these dates in mind. These are a few of my favorites:

Oct 16-22 – “Ding” Darling Days (we again are sponsors this year)

Oct 23 – 26th Annual Bailey Fest (with a few tunes by the Sanibel Community Chorus – tra-la)

Nov 4 – Sanibel Cracker Fest 2011 by START (Solutions to Avoid Red Tide)

Nov 6 – Sanibel Farmers Market reopens (Sunday mornings on City Hall grounds)

Nov 13 – CROW’s 30th Annual Taste of the Islands (across the street from our office)

Nov 26 – Livingston Taylor at BIG ARTS

Dec 2 – Sanibel Luminary

Dec 4 – Gulf Coast Symphony at BIG ARTS

Dec 8 – BIG ARTS Holiday Concert (with your favorite Realtor® again in the alto section)

Dec 17 – Clyde Butcher Photographer “Adventures in the Swamp) at BIG ARTS

Flooding Affects All of Us

A call to action by our National Association of Realtors® President yesterday was a strong reminder that this year flood insurance has become more important on the national level, as the Eastern seaboard faces the aftermaths of incredible storms. While wind and erosion were issues, the lasting legacy and real expense is related to flooding. Every state has flooding at some time or another, but Congress has yet to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires on September 30. If there is no program, buyers cannot get insurance. They cannot get a mortgage. They cannot close.

Personally, I think it is ridiculous that every year this program goes through the same gyrations and often expires before the program is eventually extended. It is about time for the program to be changed to “natural disaster” insurance, Realtors® have been lobbying for that for years. In the meantime if you are inclined, please write to your congressmen. It might help. We do not want settlements delayed because buyers cannot get insurance.

High-End Still Selling Best

I just did a quick MLS search to confirm recent comments that it is the “high-end” that remains the top commodity on the islands. Here are the results:

Median Asking Price Today – on Sanibel $599,000 – on Captiva $1,295,000

Median Sale Price – 1/1 to 9/9/2010 – on Sanibel $1,608,000 – on Captiva $1,335,000

Median Sale Price – 1/1 to 9/9/2011 – on Sanibel $2,450,000 – on Captiva $2,936,250

What does all of this really mean? There still is a lot of island property for sale – over 500 listings on Sanibel and nearly 150 on Captiva. This year has had more sales over $2M than in many years, but like the lower-end, the well-priced properties are selling to astute cash buyers. We still have a long way to go with most properties selling at 2000 to 2003 prices.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity September 2 to 9

3 new listings: Mariner Pointe #1082 2/2 $349.9K, Seashells #6 2/2 $359K, Sand Pointe #211 2/2 $669K.
2 price changes: Colonnades #47 1/1 now $155K (our listing), Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 now $639K.
4 new sales: Colonnades #10 1/1 listed for $175K, Sundial #C201 1/1 listed for $269K (short sale), Spanish Cay #B1 2/2 listed for $299K, Gulfside Place #128 3/2.5 listed for $1.895M.
2 closed sales: Seashells #35 2/2 $200K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #2B 3/3.5 $599K.

2 new listings: 9454 Cotten Ct 3/3 $619K, 1516 Angel Dr 3/2.5 $1.095M (foreclosure).
3 price changes: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex now $320K, 4210 Old Banyan Way 3/2 now $599K, 1817 Buckthorn Ln 4/3.5 now $1.16M.
3 new sales: 3808 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $425K, 4248 Old Banyan Way 3/2 listed for $479K, 533 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $499K.
2 closed listings: 1615 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $360K, 720 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $900K.
No new listings.
1 price change: Periwinkle Way now $310K.
No new or closed sales.

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5228 1/2 $299K.
1 price change: Seabreeze #1251 3/3 now $1.695M.
No new or closed sales. 

Nothing to report.

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.