Resort & 2nd Home Real Estate

Busy Friday on Sanibel Island

Today, it has been a little overcast with a slight drizzle, so the phones, shopping centers, and roadways have been busy. Always happens on a non-beach day – or maybe it came from the announcement last week that Frommer rated the islands as his favorite 2012 vacation destination for 2012.

Nice to have some rain though, the local weatherman reported last night, that southwest Florida has only had 1/100th of an inch all year. We need more!

Resort and Second Home Real Estate Market

As follow-up to SanibelSusan’s attendance earlier this month at the Florida Realtors® Mid-Year Business Meetings, I read an interesting article posted by a colleague also involved in the resort and second home market. It was written last fall by George R. Harvey, Jr., 2011 Vice Chair of the National Association of Realtors® Resort and Second Home Real Estate Committee and owner of The Harvey Team brokerage in Telluride, CO. It is amazing how many similarities our vacation market businesses have. Titled “I Don’t Have to Sell“, it says:

“Quite often when I go on a listing presentation, the seller tells me at the end of the presentation, “Well, I really don’t have to sell”.  This is after giving them a thorough market analysis, showing them how many properties compete with their property and how many sales have happened in the last 12 to 15 months in their category.  Sometimes I’ll take them out to look at several of the most similar properties to their property in order to give them an idea of what their competition is.  Many times, of course, they say, “My property is better.”  As you might guess, most sellers take that position.  When I give the seller the market analysis, the same exact analysis that every buyer/broker is going to give their buyers and that seller says, “I really don’t have to sell,” the first question that enters my mind is, “So why are you putting your property on the market?”  It takes a terrific amount of effort on the listing broker’s part for showing appointments, marketing materials, and advertising expense to have a successful sale.  And then the seller is going to say, “If I can get my price I might sell my house.”  Let me translate what that means.  If we get a really wealthy person that will pay cash, close quickly, doesn’t do any market research, and is really stupid, and will just pay whatever the asking price is, I’ll sell my house.  What an incredible burden this creates for the listing agent and a setup for disappointment for all parties engaged. 

“One of the biggest problems that we have in the Telluride market as well as other markets in the resort and second home niche is sellers still pricing to the peak of 2006, ’07, and ‘08 markets. 

“Buyers in general are well informed and have done their homework on the internet and always ask for all the market comps.  Sellers often ​say, “Well my property is special or unique or here’s why I bought it”.  All those wonderful things are good points for potential buyers in the future, but every buyer has their own list of dreams and desires and they’re all watching Bloomberg. 

​”Not only does a property in this market have to be priced competitively, but it needs to be one or two best values in its market category to even get on the show list.  It also has to be in great condition, because buyers are now looking for every flaw possible and are making objections for the smallest of items.  The end result for sellers that don’t price to the market is following the market all the way down and always being just behind the selling price range rather than just in front of it where they should be.  If you are a property owner in a resort or second home market and truly want to sell, ask your listing broker to do a very thorough market analysis and what it will take to be the first one or two properties shown in that market niche.  It will greatly improve your odds of making a sale and won’t waste your time and your listing agent’s.”

Selling a Rented Property Can Pose Challenges

SanibelSusan Realty recently listed and successfully quickly sold a home that had a long-time annual tenant. More often than not this scenario comes with some objections from the renter, so I was intrigued to read an article posted this week on Florida Realtors® about the subject:

“Some homeowners turned into reluctant landlords and rented out their homes to earn extra income while the housing market was sluggish. But now some of these homeowners are ready to sell. However, real estate agents often caution clients that are trying to sell a home when a tenant still lives there can be tricky since many renters – who have no financial stake in the matter – aren’t always so eager to help market a home and keep it tidy and neat on their landlord’s behalf.

“Landlords should make a point to clearly communicate their intentions to sell, and not “sneak” the house on the market without telling the tenants first, real estate professionals say. Landlords might want to offer a concession on the rent to tenants in exchange for them keeping the home in clean, good condition while it’s on the market – such as 10% off each month’s rent while it’s on the market. But be sure to communicate expectations for cleanliness, such as keeping the dishes out of the sink and making the bed. Experts also suggest setting established hours for showing the property to make it easier on the tenant.”

Our recent island sale included first having the seller advise the tenant that the property was going to be sold. Then, I met with the renter to go through the property to find out any kinks, non-working items, and to inquire about their favorite points about the property. I also asked about them purchasing it. Then I worked out a cooperative agreement for when the property could be photographed for posting on the internet to ensure that prospective buyers and their Realtors® would “see” the inside before making showing appointments. The seller agreed to a small rent reduction during the period that the property would be on the market, while I offered to only make showing requests only for pre-qualified buyers and with 24 hours notice. It worked out well.

With seasonal rental property, particularly those with tenants here for only their short week-long annual vacation, the process is not always so smooth. Many rental organizations only permit showings during tenant-turnovers which sometimes can get tricky since that also may be the day that the prospective buyer is leaving town. Other organizations do not want showings when a unit is being cleaned. In “season” that can be that short window on a Saturday between a late morning check-out and a mid-afternoon check-in. Makes an island Realtor®’s job interesting.

With our listings, we always try to determine if a buyer is serious before even considering bothering a tenant. We query the requesting Realtor® with such questions as: Could they instead look on the next turn-over day? Have they seen the interior photos and streaming video? Have they been to the complex? Walked the grounds? Do they realize that it has (special or limiting features)? Do they need rental income? Then once we have determined that the request is valid, we do our darndest to get them in.

It may involve coordinating with a rental office if they require that they make all tenant contacts – or sweet-talking a tenant – and sometimes offering an incentive like a free meal so that they are compensated for their inconvenience. It too often is a delicate conversation to convince an otherwise uncooperative renter that they are helping you by allowing a viewing during their Sanibel vacation.

After 20 years of it, The SanibelSusan Team usually gets the AOK. Elise, our Listing Coordinator, is a pro at it. She is honest, gives the tenant the option of being there but suggests that they are not, asks showing agents to always leave their business card so the tenant knows the showing is over, and profusely thanks renters for their consideration. We know that happy tenants can bring us business!

Real Estate Activity This Week

Not much was announced yesterday at our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Realtor Caravan Meeting, mostly more price reductions. Not so surprising with all the activity reported the week before. One of the island rental managers told me today that their bookings for February and March are now up 40% where they were last year at this time. It sounds like we will have a busy couple of months coming up. The SanibelSusan Team is ready.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 20-27

4 new listings: Blind Pass #A105 2/2 $420K, Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 $547K, Pelican’s Roost 2/2 $699.8K, Compass Point #181 2/2 $1.187M.
3 price changes: Captains Walk #F7 2/1.5 now $228K, Sanibel Moorings #142 1/1 now $419K, Nutmeg Village #211 2/2 now $539K.
3 new sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary #301 2/2 listed for $399.9K, Nutmeg Village #310 2/2 listed for $549.9K, Wedgewood #102 3/3.5 listed for $2.295M.
2 closed sales: Spanish Cay #D6 2/2 $315K, Sanibel Arms West #I8 2/2 $427K.
4 new listings: 9106 Mockingbird Ln 2/2 $499K, 775 Limpet Dr 4/3 $1.849M, 505 Kinzie Island Ct 5/4.5 $2.295M, 5063 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $3.395M.
3 price changes: 2130 Sunset Cir 3/2 now $539K, 237 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $550K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $599K.
3 new sales: 555 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed for $415K, 3940 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed for $475K, 731 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $529K.
4 closed sales: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 $235K, 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $442.5K, 947 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $665K, 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.25M.
No new listings.
1 price change:  4077 Coquina Dr now $209K.
1 new sale: 4407 West Gulf Dr listed for $1.85M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
2 price changes: Captiva Shores #6B 2/2 now $739.9K, Beach Homes #32 3/2.5 now $1.795M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2224 2/2 $550K.
1 new listing: 11551 Paige 5/6.5 $4.998M.
1 price change: 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.749M.
1 new sale: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $2.275M.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 11517 Wightman Ln $719K.
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 weekend wishes from SanibelSusan

SanibelSusan’s Mid-Week Update About Sanibel & Captiva Island Real Estate at the 3/4-Year Mark

Now that most of the year is behind us and high season is just around the corner, it’s a good time to sit back and take a look at real estate market trends on Sanibel and her sister island, Captiva. Interestingly, they are not the same.

Sanibel Island Is Where Homes & Lots Are Moving

On Sanibel, home sales started to rebound last year, particularly when prices dropped, making entry-level homes more affordable to families looking to move here for our highly-rated & continually-awarded blue-ribbon school.  Lower-priced homes have continued to move well this year. Best sellers, as always, are those near the beach and with swimming pools. Today, the number of sales of gulf-front homes is already double the number sold in 2009, another good indicator that Sanibel homes are moving again.

Sanibel condo sales, on the other hand, just recently started to improve. Already 15 more have sold and closed than in all of last year.  Another 12 units are under contract awaiting closing. Condo inventory, however, remains high, so it will be some time before that market stabilizes again. There still are plenty of excellent offerings if you are looking for a well-priced Sanibel condo.

Sanibel lot sales are up significantly this year too. With 19 lots sold & closed during the first nine months of this year and another under contract, that number of sales already exceeds sales during each of the last four years, when 11, 13, 17, and 18 lots were sold, respectively, during 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006. With Sanibel’s Land Development Code restricting the number of residential properties on the island, the end is in sight if you want a lot for a single-family home. The island looks like there is plenty of undeveloped land and there is. The majority will remain undeveloped too. Sanibellians love their conservation land. Before there can be much more new construction, there will be tear-downs.

Here is a summary of the Sanibel sales statistics, followed by a more detailed view of the sold properties by geographical location:

 Sanibel Condos Homes Lots
 # MedianPrice $  Avg DOM  # MedianPrice $  Avg DOM  # MedianPrice $  Avg DOM
For sale 236 577,000 420 248 882,000 387 112 395,000 746
Sales pending 12 549,000 340 19 599,900 415 1 299,000 22
Sold to 10/20/10 102 530,000 392 105 580,000 314 19 245,000 436
Sold in 2009 87 575,000 338 144 586,250 278 11 275,000 414


Sanibel Sales to 10/20/10 Condos Homes Lots
# Median Price $ # Median Price $ # Median Price $
Gulf-Front 75 585,000 4 2,200,000 1 1,295,000
Bay-Front 5 475,000 3 1,108,125 0 N/A
Bayou 0 N/A 2 1,005,000 1 560,000
Canal 2 450,000 18 910,000 0 N/A
Near Beach 17 325,000 52 557,500 15 237,500
Inland 3 590,000 26 485,000 2 177,500
TOTAL 102 530,000 105 580,000 19 245,000
This representation is based on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the author nor the Association guarantees or is any way responsible for its accuracy.

Captiva Island Is Just Starting to Catch Up

On Captiva, the market is different, perhaps related to the higher home prices and the more vacation-related owners. Remember, though Sanibel and Captiva are sister islands, their size, governing bodies, and demographics are not the same. Captiva’s year-’round resident population is measured in only hundreds, with most properties there used as second homes or investment rentals.

You will notice from the statistics below that fewer Captiva condos, homes, and lots have sold in 2010 than last year. Condos could catch up by year-end, but it’s unlikely that home sales will. Most of the condo sales were within South Seas Resort, some at very low prices. On Captiva, the condo market has rebounded before homes.

 Captiva Condos Homes Lots
 # Median Price $  Avg DOM  # Median Price $  Avg DOM  # Median Price $  Avg DOM
For sale 66 677,500 529 76 2,530,000 526 13 1,900,000 716
Sales pending 2 547,000 780 3 1,999,000 353 0 N/A N/A
Sold to 10/20/10 18 625,000 270 6 2,143,750 463 2 2,850,000 284
Sold in 2009 22 645,000 361 16 1,822,500 321 3 2,500,000 630


Captiva Sales to 10/20/10 Condos Homes Lots
# Median Price $ # Median Price $ # Median Price $
Gulf-Front 7 780,000 1 2,500,000 2 2,850,000
Bay-Front 5 572,500 2 2,318,750 0 N/A
Canal 2 437,500 0 N/A 0 N/A
Near Beach 4 607,500 3 1,430,000 0 N/A
TOTAL 18 625,000 6 2,143.750 2 2,850,000
This representation is based on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the author nor the Association guarantees or is any way responsible for its accuracy.

 The Sister Island Situation

Like Sanibel, Captiva continues to offer excellent value for the consumer who has been waiting for prices to hit bottom. Consider them there. Colleagues and I expect that this winter will be a good one for sales on both islands. Smart consumers already have recognized that the next step for our market is to swing up. This fall, returning snowbirds have been looking and buying. It’s not just REALTOR®-speak when I say, “the best time to buy on the islands is now”. October/November is always when we have new inventory and this year sellers are listening to pricing recommendations. There are some terrific properties for sale now that my fortune cookie says will sell this winter.

Friday, I’ll be posting the week’s real estate action for both islands.