Sanibel Island Birds & Baby Alligators & More

It has been a week of “off and on” overcast weather here on the islands. A few showers coming in from the gulf have provided some much-needed rain so our vegetation has greened up and again is in summer growth-mode. Seems we are ahead of the growing season for this time of the year too. My favorite Apple Blossom Cassia tree at Sanibel Moorings botanical gardens is usually spectacular during the first two weeks of June, but when I drove by on my way home from the office this week, as you can see from the above snapshot. The flowers have almost all gone by.

Here are a few news tidbits followed by the week’s report of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity.  

New Sanibel Photos

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Our long-time friends and now 16-year happy island owners, Doris and Hans from Switzerland were recently here vacationing. They often share their photos as they know we enjoy them and share them further here and in our other marketing. The slideshow above includes a few pictures of island wildlife taken by Hans during the last week of May.

Local Fishermen & Divers Will Love This One

As reported in local media this week, the historic Coast Guard vessel USS Mohawk will be making its home approximately 13 miles off the coast of Sanibel. After years of service to the Navy, patrolling the northern Atlantic and guarding America‘s eastern seaboard during World War II, the 77-year old vessel will soon make her final voyage. The former “A” class cutter is slated to become a veterans’ memorial reef, a recreation destination for scuba divers and fishermen.

Donax Street Cell Tower To Be Erected Early Next Year

Island cell phone users were happy to hear that Sanibel City Council was presented Tuesday with the final design for the Verizon cell tower that has been months – if not years – in the making. Council required that Verizon build the 149′ tower to resemble a flag pole, but since flags and their associated rigging can be noisy, Council also asked Verizon to come up with an internal lanyard system. Verizon’s rep told Council that they have never built anything like this (with an internal system). Council approved the design presented. The new tower is expected to be in place during the first quarter of 2013. Telecommunications coverage is needed on Sanibel’s east end and the Verizon structure will have space for two more carriers. (As an east-end homeowner, SanibelSusan is counting the days.)

Planning Ahead to July 4th

  • 9:30 a.m. – 22nd Annual Independence Day Parade – from the corner of Island Inn Road/Tarpon Bay Road to the corner of Periwinkle Way/Casa Ybel Road. This year’s theme is “Sanibel Island is #1″, referring to its recent ranking as a vacation destination.
  • Noon – Optimist Club Road Rally With Theme “Rallying for Island Youth” – beginning at Timbers Restaurant parking lot. Registration is a $35 donation per vehicle. Points are awarded for elapsed time closest to a secret pre-established circuit time and distance, and for correct answers to a series of questions about clues along the rally route. Top rally finishers and the best decorated vehicle win prizes. Registration forms are available online at (For those wondering about this event, SanibelSusan tried it for the first time last year. It was a lot of fun. It helps to have a careful driver, a navigator to read the questions, and an observant crew. Island knowledge is not necessary.)
  • 6 to 9 p.m. – Fireworks Night at The Dunes – with pool party, games for the kids, putting competition, food, & more.

Value of “For Sale” Signs

Occasionally a prospective seller will tell us that they do not want a “for sale” sign in their yard. We had it happen again, just last week, so it was a timely read when this article was posted this week on-line by a statistician with the National Association of Realtors®. It says:

“Recently a member asked us for research on the value of For Sale yard signs. Looking back on our buyer seller surveys, the value of yard signs has only increased over the last 20 years. In 1995, only 37% of respondents used yard signs in their home search. That figure rose steadily in the first decade of the 21st century to over 63% by 2008. And according to the 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, that value has continued to hold up, with yard signs still the third most commonly used information source in the home search process and 55% of buyers still relying on yard signs to help them find the house they ultimately purchase….”

Wetlands 101: A Property-Buyers Guide

Florida Realtors® posted an interesting article this week with info from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It says:

“If a dream property includes wetlands, buyers may have to work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and, in some cases, the local water management district if they want to build or make changes. Wetlands are considered valuable natural resources that need extra protection by the DEP and are subject to special Florida laws. In many cases, federal and local laws could also apply. According to DEP, wetlands:
• Filter nutrients and other pollutants to help keep surface water clean for drinking, swimming and fishing.
• Serve as home, nursery, training grounds and food source for many species, including humans.
• Support commercial fishing, tourism and recreation.
• Intercept water from heavy rains that could flood upland areas.
• Protect property from erosion.
• Collect and filter water, allowing it to recharge drinking water supplies.

““When people think of wetlands, many envision swamps or marshes with standing water. While those are indeed two types of wetlands, there are many other types of wetlands that may not be as easily identified,” says Cherie Graves with DEP. “Many wetlands rarely have standing water.” Besides the obvious signs – like your shoes getting wet when you walk there – it’s a good idea to use an environmental professional who uses plants, soils and hydrology to identify wetlands. A wetland determination can help clients choose the best site on a property to build a home.

“For more information, property owners can contact their local DEP district office. Private environmental consultants also provide similar services. Once a property is determined to contain wetlands, owners may need a special permit to build a single-family home or other structure. For example, if plans include filling for a house pad, septic tank drain field (note: not on Sanibel where we have City sewer), driveway or lawn on wetlands, an owner needs an environmental resource permit from DEP. Removing tree stumps or dredging a ditch to drain the property in wetlands also requires a permit. However, if only a small portion of the property is wetland and an owner builds entirely on an upland portion of the property, he might not need an environmental resource permit at all.

“If potential homebuyers have questions, they can call DEP directly. Graves says staff will look at the property and suggest options. To make the permitting process flow as quickly as possible, property owners can schedule a pre-application meeting with DEP to discuss the project before applying. To find a local DEP office, visit their website.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 1-8:

No new listings.
7 price changes: Captains Walk #A3 1/1 now $163K, Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 now $249K, White Caps #5 1/1 now $525K, Yacht Haven #2 3/2 now $819K, Compass Point #141 3/2 now $899K (our listing), Gulfside Place #117 2/2 now $950K.
3 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #152 2/2 listed for $690K, Seashells #37 2/2 listed for $274K (our listing), Shorewood #2C 3/2 listed for $889K.
6 closed sales: Sundial #F407 1/1 $275K, Sanibel Arms West #J1 2/2 $392.5K, Mariner Pointe #131 3/2 $495K, Sundial #Q402 2/2 $550K, Kings Crown #211 3/2 $575K, Nutmeg Village #108 2/2 $750K.  
2 new listings: 1216 Par View Dr 3/2 $699K; 494 Surf Sound Ct 5/2.5 $899,555.
1 price change: 2294 Wulfert Rd 4/4 now $998K.
5 new sales: 1621 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 half-duplex listed for $389K, 1574 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $549K, 760 Birdie View Pt 4/3.5 listed for $849K (short sale), 1290 Bay Dr 3/2 listed for $1.595M, 1069 Bird Ln 4/3.5 listed for $2.75M.
8 closed sales:  458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $380K; 1433 Jamaica Dr 5/4 duplex $400K; 9003 Mockingbird 5/4 $480K (short sale); 480 Peachtree Rd 3/3 $502.5K; 4210 Old Banyan Way 3/2 $511,250; 1208 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex $600K, 1308 Tahiti Dr 3/3 $650K, 5063 Joewood Dr 4/5.5 $3.05M. 
1 new listings:  925 Whelk Dr $875K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
No new listings.
3 price changes:  Bayside Villas:  #4106 1/2 now $295K, #5124 1/2 now $309K, #4322 3/3 now $507K (short sale).
No new sales.
1 closed sale:  Captiva Shores #5D 2/2 $725K.
No new listings.
2 price changes:  11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $1.999M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 now $3.495M.
1 new sale:  with contingencies:  16849 Captiva Dr listed for $2.195M.
1 closed sale :  16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 $2.025M (short sale).

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.

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.

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

It’s a Happy Day on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

View from one of the open terraces at Lighthouse Point #332 on 10-14-11

It is yet another beautiful Friday on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. David took this photo this afternoon when he went to check the new paint and carpet at our Lighthouse Point condo listing. This is the view from one of the terraces at that condo. It overlooks the community lagoon and bird rookery to the San Carlos Bay beach. In another few hours this terrace will also have magnificent sunset views!

Southwest Florida had a cool front pass by us last night which resulted in reduced humidity and ideal temperatures today – low 70’s this morning and low 80’s now. The same is expected right through the weekend with skies forecasted to be clear to party cloudy – perfect for some of upcoming events mentioned below.

Weekend Happenings

It is going to be a busy one on Sanibel:

  • Saturday, 10/15, is the FISH (Friends in Service Here) 10K Race. This main fundraiser for FISH starts at 7:30 a.m. (and ends) at The Sanibel Community House with more than 450 runners expected.
  • Sunday, 10/16, is the beginning of “Ding” Darling Days, which is a week-long celebration honoring the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It kicks off with “Free Family Fun Day” on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each subsequent day through the week events are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. with the following themes: Monday – “Technology in the Outdoors Day”, Tuesday – “Animal Investigation Day”, Wednesday – “Celebrate Calusa Day”, Thursday – “Refuge Discovery Day”, Friday – “Get Outdoors Day”. More free events are offered on the last day, Saturday, 10/22, which will be “Conservation Art Day”. For a full schedule of events go to where we are getting good publicity as a sponsor.

Future Events Announced

  • Taste of the Islands will be celebrated this year on Sunday, November 13, from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. right across the street from our office at Sanibel Community Park. This is the Taste’s 30th event with 20 local restaurants already signed up. The festivities include featured dishes from these island restaurants with celebrity chef judges, a server relay race island style, as well as an island chef challenge cook-off (with the three ingredients yet to be announced). Rumor has it that music will be provided by Marty Stokes (fellow Realtor) and The Captiva Band. It’s always a fun afternoon. As the annual fundraiser for CROW (The Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife), it benefits a terrific cause. For more info go to
  • Dancing With the Islands’ Stars recently had their kick-off party, so the word is out on the locals who will participate in this now annual event which is The Sanibel Community House major fundraiser. Usually sold out for both dress rehearsal and the main event nights, tickets go on sale December 5. Dress rehearsal is January 27 and the main production is the next night, the 28th. More info is available at

SanibelSusan’s Friday Blogs

This blog continues to get more subscribers. Though it started as a public expansion of the Friday updates we send to our sellers reporting the weekly island real estate activity, it has recently turned into more. The newly added property search tab above that links to our islands Multiple Listing Service through a cooperative Internet Data Exchange agreement has brought good response, so this week, I added a separate tab for each of SanibelSusan’s home and condo listings. These individual postings already are getting “lookers” too. Please click on the “listing” tabs above to check out them out.

We typically go into high season (the winter months) with 30-35 listings, or about 10 to 12 each of condos, homes, and lots. However, with homes moving well this year, we are down to just two home listings, so we are particularly looking for home listings. If you are an island property owner thinking of selling, please contact SanibelSusan Realty at 888-603-0603 or 239-472-HOME (4663), Ext. 1 or email to

How to Prevent Mold Using a Humidistat

We recently had a condo listing where the air conditioning system broke down and the seller did not want to put any more money into the property. The buyers who decided to purchase it “as is” then asked, after their inspection period, but before the closing, if the seller would permit them to install a portable dehumidifier as a means of mold control. The seller gladly complied. While going through this exercise, Dave found the following article posted on the internet by Florida Power and Light. It has good info particularly if you own property in Florida and only live here in the winter or are away for long periods. This was excerpted from a column on September 1, 2011, by Craig Muccio, called “Ask the Energy Expert”.
Mold can begin to take root inside your home when the relative humidity (RH) exceeds about 68%. A humidistat, which directly controls indoor relative humidity, is one way to prevent mold. Dehumidifiers and some central air conditioners have a built-in humidistat that tells the system to dehumidify the air to a desired point. Set the controls of your humidistats and dehumidifiers to 58% RH to maintain acceptable humidity, since some humidistat sensors are inaccurate by as many as 10 percentage points.
If you don’t have a humidistat, another way to control mold while you are away is by programming the A/C to run at 72 degrees for two hours before sunrise and at 88 degrees the rest of the day.

If you do not have a programmable thermostat, set the A/C at 77 degrees for condos or apartments and 80 degrees for single-family homes and townhouses. (Remember to have the fan switch set to auto.)

If you live in Florida seasonally or leave for extended periods of time, the most economical way to prevent mold in a vacant home is by using stand-alone dehumidifiers instead of A/C. Use one for every 1,000 square feet. The expert also recommends repairing any leaks around doors, windows and in your A/C ductwork, which will help minimize the amount of moisture getting into your home.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity October 7-14

4 new listings: Tennisplace #C33 2/1.5 $260K, Loggerhead Cay #462 2/2 $499K, Sundial $T207 2/2 $949K, Sunward #203 3/2 $1.195M.
6 price changes: Ibis at The Sanctuary #A102 2/2 now $420K; Tarpon Beach #110 2/2 now $639K; Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 now $644.5K; Sand Pointe #211 2/2 now $649K; Cyprina Beach #9 3/2.5 now $649,946; Island Beach Club #P1E 2/2 now $699.5K.
1 new sale: Loggerhead Cay #333 2/2 listed for $419K.
3 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #1012 2/2 $230K (our listing), Spanish Cay #B1 2/2 $289K, Sundial #O302 2/2 $450K.
9 new listings: 683 Emeril Ct 2/2 $449K, 458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $459K, 3940 Coquina Dr 3/2 $475K, 6467 Pine Ave 3/3 $549K, 1345 Junonia St 2/2 $565K, 244 Daniel Dr 3/3 $799K, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 $1.695M, 615 Lighthouse Way 3/4.5 $2.495M, 4449 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 $3.9M.
9 price changes: 978 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex now $359.5K, 799 Casa Ybel Rd 4/3 duplex now $399K, 935 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 now $599K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 now $749K, 5750 Pine Tree Dr 2/2 now $879K, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4 now $1.325M, 1314 Isabel Dr 4/3.5 now $2.295M, 829 Tulip Ln 5/4.5 now $2.495M, 1191 Bird Ln 4/3 now $2.95M (short sale).
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 1751 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 $1.25M.
2 new listings: 5618 Baltusrol Ct $299K, 2423 Blue Crab Ct $399K.
1 price change: 4077 Coquina Dr now $250K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 971 Main St $100K (foreclosure).
3 new listings: Bayside Villas #4208 1/2 $325K, Bayside Villas #5236 1/2 $329K, Tennis Villas #2324 2/2 $575K.
1 price change: Beach Villas #2618 2/2 now $659K.
1 new sale: Beach Villas #5330 3/3 listed for $629.5K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing:  15891 Captiva Dr 7/5 $3.399M.
2 price changes: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $2.59M, 15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $3.15M.
2 new sales: 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 listed for $1.19M, 11550 Laika Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.495M.
1 closed sale: 11537 Laika Ln 4/3 $1.275M.
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.