June Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s another sunny Friday on Sanibel, following another week of fantastic weather until the first summer shower gave us a quick dousing this morning. Maybe the rainy season has begun. We don’t like using the “h” word, but that season has begun too (Jun 1 to Nov 30).

Meanwhile, the gulf and bay waters surrounding the islands are a brilliant blue and sparkling green. The color and clarity changes each summer when the rains stir up the sand and vegetation along the waterways, so it always pays to enjoy this view when you can.

With swimming pools already needing extra water and some grassy buffers along the bike paths looking like straw, rain is needed. The typical pattern for this time of the year is a quick daily shower or two. As the saying goes in Florida in the summer, “wait a minute and the weather will change.” Summer sunsets following a shower are the best.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Here at SanibelSusan Realty, we appreciated a nice closing on Monday and several of our listings continue to get good interest and showing activity. The action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news below.

There was no Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday, but I had 15 Realtors® there attending my “Resort & 2nd Home Market” class on Monday. It always is fun to share with colleagues. If we all do a better job, it helps everyone.

Attendees wearing their pop quiz prizes from 2019 Resort & 2nd Home class of the SCIS (Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist) designation. SanibelSusan instructing.

Summer Projects & Other Scoop

Il Cielo at 1244 Periwinkle Way –A sign says “closed for renovations, reopening in the fall”.

Malia Island Fusion Cuisine at 1100 Par View Drive in Beachview Estates, next to Sanibel Golf Club – Tried to celebrate our Monday closing there for lunch but found out that they have new summer hours. Open Mon-Thu from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Open Fri & Sat from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Pointe Santo at 2445 West Gulf Dr – Will finish up their concrete-restoration building-exterior project late summer/early fall. Buildings A, B, D, and E are done with the work accomplished during the “off season” to least affect vacations and rentals. The spalling work in Building C is scheduled this year between Aug 11 and Oct 19.

View from Pointe Santo #C43. Make an offer now & seller agreeable to closing after summer restoration work is done.

Sanibel Delivery opened yesterday according to a recent article in the “Islander”. It’s an interesting concept. Sanibel Delivery will pick up and drop off take-out orders from restaurants, grocery and convenience store items, pet food and supplies, legal documents and run bank errands, pick up flowers, take packages to and from the post office or shipping stores, get ice, drinks, prescriptions. It also will stock a residence before an arrival or pick up items for donations. Sanibel Delivery services just Sanibel, not Captiva or west of Clam Bayou Ln/Pine Tree Dr. Operating Tues through Sun from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. To schedule a delivery, call or text 239-308-5353 or email david@sanibeldelivery.com.

Condo Q&A: Who’s Responsible for Water Damage?

Since a condo owner recently asked me this same question, it was timely to read the below article posted this week on-line at FloridaRealtors®. Maybe this is of interest to you too:

“By Steven J. Adamczyk

“June 3, 2019 – Question: A unit owner in our building suffered water damage in his unit due to a clog in his drain pipes. He is claiming that the association should pay for all of the repairs inside the unit. Coincidentally, this owner does not have insurance and the drains have otherwise been working fine. Is there any merit to the owner’s claim? – T.R, Deerfield Beach

“Answer: Any time there is water damage, the first question is whether the damage is the result of an insurable event. When there is an insurable event, the statute will dictate who is responsible for what damage. Likewise, if there is no insurable event, the declaration of condominium will dictate who is responsible for what damage.

Here, we will assume it was an insurable event. If so, the statute provides that the condominium association is responsible to repair and replace property insured by the condominium association. With this type of damage, it means the association will likely repair and replace drywall, but the statute then provides that the owner is responsible to repair and replace interior portions of the unit such as kitchen cabinets, floor coverings, paints, and personal property such as furniture within the unit.

“It is possible that the above delegation of responsibility can be shifted so that one party is responsible for everything. Under the statute, this can happen if one party is negligent or if they fail to follow a rule.

For example, if the association had been notified that the common element pipes had been malfunctioning for a long time and the association ignored the problem, it is possible the association would be responsible for everything, assuming the damage here was the result of that ignored common element problem. Likewise, if the rules prohibit shoving paper towels down a drain and the clog was due to these paper towels, the owner could be responsible for all damage.

“We often see these aggressive accusations when there is no insurance for the obvious reason that the owner knows the association has insurance. That being said, it is highly unlikely that you are responsible for all of the damage, and you should consult with your attorney and insurance carrier to determine the extent of your responsibilities.

“Editor’s note: Attorneys at Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC, respond to questions about Florida community association law. The firm represents community associations throughout Florida and focuses on condominium and homeowner association law, real estate law, litigation, estate planning and business law.”

Captiva Testing Iguana Removal Program

This article came from today’s “Island Sun”: “A pilot program funded by the Captiva Community Panel (CCP) is addressing the iguana problem currently plaguing the island. “The (iguana) issue came up at one of our panel meetings, and it’s been a topic of conversation for a while,” said Dave Jensen, CCP board member. “People have been seeing iguanas on their properties, and they can do some damage.”

“According to Jensen, he called the City of Sanibel to investigate how the neighboring community addresses their invasive species issue. They city’s department of natural resources put him in touch with Alfredo Fermin of AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services, a professional trapper based in Cape Coral.

“Iguanas are very aggressive… they have a nasty bite and their tails can hurt you, too,” said Fermin, who has more than 10 years of experience trapping wildlife. “They can tear up your garden, they burrow near seawalls which causes a lot of damage, and their poop is dangerous because they carry diseases….”

“Iguanas can grow up to six feet long, have no natural predators. One female may lay between 40 and 70 eggs at a time, and the species is a direct threat to burrowing owls.”

“One month ago, the CCP agreed to hire AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services to come to Captiva, trap and remove nuisance iguanas. The pilot program requests that island residents give permission to Fermin to access their property and remove the iguanas.

“On his first visit to Captiva on May 7, Fermin visited 20 properties and removed 21 iguanas. Since then, he has returned to more than 50 properties and eliminated 56 iguanas.

“If you don’t know what you are doing, it can be nearly impossible to catch them,” said Fermin, who uses a noose bar to snare the iguanas. “It’s still too early to give an estimate on the number of iguanas there are on Captiva, but I’ll be out there every Tuesday until the funds run out.”

“Jensen added that if AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Services determines that there is an overpopulation of iguanas on Captiva, the CCP will request that Lee County assist with the funding of the removal program.

“To give permission for AAA Wildlife Trapping & Removal Service to access your island property, call Dave Jensen at 470-5389. For iguana-specific questions, contact Alfredo Fermin via email at AAAWildlife1@yahoo.com or by calling 440-7783.”

Families & Friends of The Sanibel School

The Sanibel School (Elementary & Middle) (A Florida School of Excellence & nationally rated Blue Ribbon school) currently is accepting students and approving off-island attendance waivers.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 31 – June 7, 2019



2 new listings: Tarpon Beach #305 2/2 $1.1M, Kings Crown #302 2/2 $1.6M.

9 price changes: Sundial #H210 1/1 now $379K; Blind Pass #E202 2/2 now $450K; Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 now $597K; Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 now $674K; Surfside 12 #A3 3/2 now $749,999; Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 now $759.9K; Shell Island Beach Club #7C 2/2 now $799K; Oceans Reach #3A1 2/2 now $899.5K, Island Beach Club #340E 2/2 now $1.231M.

4 new sales: Spanish Cay #B4 2/2 listed at $399K, Sundial #G405 1/1 listed at $419,555; Sundial #C310 1/1 listed at $459,750; Sundial #J204 2/2 listed at $793K.

5 closed sales: Sanibel Siesta #109 2/2 $510K, Cottage Colony West #112 1/1 $585K, Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 $650K, Loggerhead Cay #582 2/2 $680K, White Sands #25 2/2 $957K.


2 new listings: 5307 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2.5 $685K, 2739 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 $1.375M.

6 price changes: 430 Old Trail Rd 3/2.5 now $639K, 1550 Centre St 3/2 now $645K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $949K, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.6399M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.299M, 4709 Rue belle Mer 3/2 now $3.125M.

5 new sales: 9052 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 listed at $650K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed at $799.9K, 845 Birdie View Pt 3/3 listed at $1.169M, 2303 Troon Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.189M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 listed at $1.747M.

2 closed sales: 5869 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $589K (our buyer), 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 $800K.


Nothing to report.



No new listings, price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Captiva Cove #C 5/4 $3.475M.


1 new listing: 956 South Seas Plantation Rd 6/6 $5.5M.

1 price change: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $998,899.

2 new sales: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 listed at $995K, 16825 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 listed at $2.695M.

No closed sales.


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.

Until next Friday, make it a great one! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Early May Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SanibelSusan reporting that for early May, there is a surprising amount of real estate activity on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. This week, The SanibelSusan Team had a nice closing on Tuesday, fielded a few inquiries, had a handful of showings, fulfilled several action items on upcoming closings – including attending two home inspections, and even got to work on a couple of offers.

After a couple of news items below is the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

How about all those closings? It is amazing that there were not only 13 Sanibel home closings, but also 13 new sales over the last few days. Similarly with Sanibel condos, there were seven closings and six new sales. Today there are just 97 Sanibel condos for sale. Near-beach homes remain the favored product, but it is the first time since before Hurricane Charlie in 2004, that I remember condo inventory being under 100.

I bet it’s going to be a busy summer too!

Sanibel on “Today Show”

NBC Today LogoThe talk of the islands this week was the segment slated to be on The Today Show yesterday. Sanibel was declared the best family-friendly spot in the U.S. and the top tourist town on NBC’s Today Show. My blog mentioned the results of “FamilyFun” magazine’s survey that put Sanibel No. 1 back in March. Then the results appeared in the April issue of the magazine. The FamilyFun list went to the next level when it was aired yesterday morning on “Today” in a segment hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. If you are wondering about the complete list of the top ten, they are:

  • Sanibel
  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington
  • Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington
  • Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, NE
  • Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, IN
  • Gatlinburg, TN
  • Savannah, GA
  • St. Augustine, FL
  • Mackinac Island State Park, Mackinac Island, MI
  • St. Louis, MO, Zoo.

Maybe that publicity will ensure a busy summer. If you missed it, here is the video:


Workshop on Island Traffic

Sanibelcityseal logoWith all these accolades come more people, so it was good to read in the “Santiva Chronicle” that Sanibel City Council will hold a workshop at 9 a.m. Monday, June 1, at City Hall to address the island’s traffic, considered by most to be the major issue facing Sanibel.

“Mayor Kevin Ruane presented a brief outline he has prepared to take on traffic problems at the regular monthly meeting of the City Council, Tuesday, May 5, at City Hall and it will be used as a basis at the workshop. “Traffic management is an issue,” Ruane said. “It is important enough to revisit this subject once again.” Ruane included in Tuesday’s meeting agenda 50 documents involving various aspects of traffic dating back to 1988. It amounted to 2,671 pages. “There is some good data here, and there is some that is outdated,” Ruane said. “We have just put this list together and I or no one else has had time to read all 2,000 pages. But this data provides a good starting point. “We will go over expectations,” Ruane said. “We won’t promote false expectations about what we can and cannot do.” “This is a good starting point,” Vice-Mayor Mick Denham said. “The process you have defined is a great idea.” “I appreciate your remarks over expectations,” Councilman Chauncey Goss said. “There is no silver bullet on this island when it comes to traffic and nobody should be led to believe there is.”

“I support this session (workshop) if it doesn’t turn into a gripe session,” Councilman Jim Jennings said. “I understand some of that is necessary.”

“The June 1 workshop will be held just ahead of the monthly council meeting on June 2. The council cannot vote on anything at the workshop. “We can’t vote, but we can frame in what I hope is a free-flowing type of workshop,” Ruane said. Following the workshop, the council also will hold a joint workshop with the Planning Commission on June 9.”

Upcoming Events

Sanibel school ribbonMay 16 – Sanibel School Fund Blue Ribbon Classic at the Sanctuary Golf Club begins at 11:30 a.m. with 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. Proceeds pay for a language arts instructor, software, technology and sound equipment and musical instruments, and upgrades in classrooms that give students an advantage at the nationally acclaimed school. The Sanibel School serves approximately 375 students in kindergarten through 8th grade on Sanibel and Captiva. It has been awarded a Blue Ribbon through the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon School program, which recognizes educational institutions where students achieve overall academic excellence or for success in closing academic gaps. The school has earned an “A” rating from the Department of Education for the past dozen years.

ride of silence logoMay 20 – Ride of Silence is a worldwide event that takes place each year at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of May to honor bicyclists who have been in accidents & to raise awareness on sharing the road. Hosted by Matzaluna Italian Restaurant, riders are encouraged to arrive for a short educational program at 6:15 p.m. The ride begins at 7 p.m., crosses over the first two bridges of the causeway, around the turn-around under the main span, returning to Matzaluna.

As Luxury Market Soars, A Moment for Concern

realtor logoThis article was posted in late April on Realtor®Mag Blogs under “Speaking of Real Estate””

“Exceptional growth has been the storyline of the luxury real estate market the past few years. No other price segment has rebounded from the housing crash with as much gusto as that of million-dollar-plus homes, which are selling at twice the historical average. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, home sales above $1 million in 2014 grew nearly 9% over 2013 — more than double any other price point. And the conservative expectation is that luxury sales will at least repeat that performance this year. Nearly every major city — if not all of them — shattered its record for most expensive residential sale in the last year, and each one has a listing today that, if purchased at asking price, would break it again.

“There’s no doubt the industry has a lot to celebrate because of the roaring success on the top end of sales. But underneath that fanfare appears to be a little bit of nervousness that only a few will openly — or even hesitantly — admit. Is the upward trajectory of high-end sales and prices rising too fast?

“At the Asian Real Estate Association of America’s Global & Luxury Summit in Chicago this week, the theme was clearly that real estate professionals should jump on the opportunities presented by the soaring luxury market. The conference was mostly tips for how to enter the high end of your local market and serve wealthy buyers’ needs, as well as the outlook for luxury sales going forward. It was on this latter point that a few glimmers of concern shown through at various sessions.

“During a presentation by top luxury producers around the county, the panel was asked by an audience member where they thought the luxury market was going in the future. Craig Hogan, director of Coldwell Banker Previews International in Chicago, answered this way: “We want to see the luxury market go up, but we don’t want to see it go up so fast that then it drops. We hope it keeps doing what it’s doing without a bunch of spikes.”

“On the same panel, Robert Canberg, a salesperson with Nest Seekers International in the Hamptons on Long Island, said his tony area’s average sales price last quarter was around $2 million, up more than 30% year-over-year. Another panelist, Ivan Sher, partner-broker with the Shapiro & Sher Group in Las Vegas, said the number of home sales above $1 million in the city was 19 in January of this year alone, up from 8 in January 2012.

These are, of course, market conditions in only two areas, but against a sea of headlines proclaiming an unprecedented heating-up of luxury sales around the country –  San FranciscoAtlantaNashvilleBostonMiami — it’s clear that the spikes are already beginning to happen. What no one knows is if or when the drop will come. That’s incredibly difficult to predict.

“However, another potentially alarming bit of information: During the opening general session at the AREAA summit, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that the rising value of the dollar could make foreign buyers pull back on real estate purchases in the U.S. Foreign buyers have been responsible for a large percentage of high-end sales in these years of the fast-and-furious recovery of the luxury market. If they go away, are there enough buyers here who can sustain the price growth?

“Even realtor.com® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke showed a slide pinpointing the correlation between the U.S. dollar and home-buying demand from international buyers. Beginning in November of last year, the dollar took a sharp turn upward in value, and at the same time, the number of non-U.S. visitors to realtor.com® drastically declined. Pair that with Yun’s statement at the conference that “there is still some uncertainty and risk consideration about where the U.S. is currently. It’s not necessarily the best of times,” he said, noting that GDP growth in the U.S. is expected to “fizzle” this year, though he attributed that to “one-time factors” without elaborating.

“That, of course, isn’t enough to say that doom and gloom is on the horizon for the luxury market or the market as a whole, but it’s something to take note of.

“Economists started to say last year that the potential for another housing bubble was present, but no one would go so far as to say it was actually happening. No one can say that now, either, but it’s worth noting that eerie signs — whether it speaks to a bubble or not — are popping up. And they’re starting to be acknowledged by some in the real estate community.”

Roseate Spoonbill Lovers

If you enjoy photographing these colorful birds, you may be interested to know that there have been many sightings at the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge this week. If you want to see them, reports say that you need to get there early, as they are usually gone by 10 a.m.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 1-8 



4 new listings: Sundial #H109 1/1 $339K, Sundial #H302 2/2 $599K, Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 $639K, Sundial #T302 2/2 $739K.

1 price change: Sanibel Arms #E7 1/1 now $349K.

6 new sales: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 listed for $239.9K, Seashells #27 2/2 listed for $323K, Seawind #A106 2/2.5 listed for $479K, Cottage Colony West #102 1/1 listed for $649.9K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4 2/2.5 listed for $699K, Sand Pointe #214 2/2 listed for $729K.

7 closed sales: Coquina Beach #4B 2/2 $409K, Sanibel Siesta #308 2/2 $475K, Sandpiper Beach #202 2/2 $611K, Lighthouse Point #127 3/2 $680K, White Pelican #123 2/2 $725K, High Tide #A101 3/2 $1.1M, Somerset #B101 3/2.5 $2.025M (our Seller).

Beach Path



2 new listings: 1806 Ibis Ln 3/2 $470K, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 $1.995M.

3 price changes: 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $599.4K, 4241 Old Banyan Way 3/2 now $739K, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 now $1.975M.

13 new sales: 600 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $535K; 3724 Agate Ct 2/2 listed for $549K, 1586 Century Ct 3/2.5 listed for $629K; 1325 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $710K; 5406 Osprey Ct 3/2 listed for $729K, 1528 Angel Dr 3/2 listed for $749K; 1041 Blue Heron Dr 3/2.5 listed for $839K; 3351 Barra Cir 3/2.5 listed for $869,999; 4620 Rue Bayou 3/3 listed for $899K; 5076 Joewood Dr 3/2 listed for $949K; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 listed for $398.5K, 4809 Tradewinds Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.69M; 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 listed for $4.495M.

13 closed sales: 1845 Ardsley Way 3/2 $525K, 542 Chert Ct 3/2 $551.25K, 4279 Gulf Pines Dr 4/3 $630K, 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $665K, 547 Chert Ct 3/2.5 $690K, 2210 Camino Del Mar 3/2 $695K, 1173 Kittiwake Cir 4/2 $699.9K, 248 Daniel Dr 3/2 $719K, 2582 Wulfert Rd 3/3.5 $750K, 6101 Castaways Ln 4/2 $790K, 2617 Coconut Dr 3/2.5 $1.29M, 1842 Woodring Rd 3/3.5 $1.84M, 1779 Venus Dr 4/5.5 $3.819M.


No new listings.

2 price changes: 5126 Sea Bell Rd now $220K, 5116 Sea Bell Rd now $226K.

1 new sale: 9277 Belding Dr listed for $179.9K.

2 closed sales: 2562 Coconut Dr $308K, 6419 Pine Ave $626K.



No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #5324 3/3 $568.5K, Beach Homes #19 3/3 $2.695M.


No new listings.

1 price change: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $1.455M.

1 new sale: 11513 Wightman Ln 5/5 listed for $1.795M.

No 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

mothers-day-clipart-1Best wishes for a happy weekend – especially all the Moms!

Sanibel Achieves Another #1

I don’t know about you, but it sure is hard to believe that it is already another Friday. Time sure flies here on sunny Sanibel. We are just finishing up another week of wonderful 80-degree weather, with more of the same expected next week. That Gulf Stream sure is contributing to us having a near-perfect winter so far. Above is a photo that I snapped earlier in the week of Gramma Dot’s Restaurant at the Sanibel Marina. Love the colors!

 Below is one taken this afternoon when I returned to the office and found someone else parked in my usual parking spot. Wonder what their feathered friend is up to? Maybe just as well that I found another spot.

And here is yet another photo, taken overlooking Pine Island Sound & San Carlos Bay on February 1st at sunset. It was about 80 degrees at the time. The weather sure doesn’t get much better than this!

Sanibel sunset "sailors' delight", 2/1/2012

Sanibel School #1 in State

A Fort Myers “News-Press” article this week announced that “The Sanibel School is the best place to get an elementary/middle school education in the state according to Florida’s first-ever school rankings released Monday. The state Department of Education posted its best-to-worst ranking of Florida’s 3,078 public schools, and the Sanibel Island school was the only Lee and Collier County institution to get a top-10 ranking. Sanibel was the top-ranked combination school for elementary and middle school students. The state ranked the schools based on the number of school grade points they received for the 2010-11 school year as part of the state’s school grading formula. For elementary, middle and combination schools, points are earned based solely on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, with points given for the percentages of students scoring at grade level or better on the FCAT or making learning gains…The state is touting the new rankings as an easy-to-read list that lets parents, taxpayers and others know how well their school or district is performing. Last week, the state released a similar ranking for school districts: Lee placed 22nd of the 67 school districts; Collier 33rd….The Sanibel School, which has been an A school for 11 consecutive years, has a 16% free and reduced price lunch rate and a 10% minority rate. Sanibel, which has 375 students, earned high ranking thanks in large part to its sterling FCAT scores and its work with its lowest 25% of learners in reading and math…At the high school level, Fort Myers High was Southwest Florida’s top school….”

Sanibel Brazilian Pepper, Final Zone Pick-Up Scheduled

The following announcement is posted on http://www.mySanibel.com As background, Zone 6 is the last area of the island to be completed in the City’s Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program. Through the program, island property owners are first given an opportunity to remove their pepper voluntarily.

“In coordination with the City of Sanibel’s island-wide Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program and the City’s waste hauler, Veolia, a free curbside pickup for Brazilian pepper debris is scheduled for February 16 and 17 for all properties in Zone 6. Zone 6 includes all properties between Rabbit Road and Jamaica Drive from the gulf to the bay and was designated by City Council as a voluntary removal zone in July 2010. All property owners within Zone 6 wishing to take advantage of this service should plan to have their pepper debris curbside the evening of February 15th prior to pick-up. Unbundled debris (i.e. no bags, string, etc.) should be cut to a reasonable size (less than 6 feet) and placed in organized piles at the curb. Debris should not be located directly under overhead utility lines. Remember, this service is for Brazilian pepper debris only. If other vegetative debris is mixed with pepper, waste management crews will not pick up the pile. This will not change your regularly scheduled pick-up of vegetative waste. This will be the FINAL free Brazilian pepper curbside pickup for Zone 6. Shortly thereafter, Natural Resources will be seeking City Council’s authorization to designate Brazilian pepper removal in Zone 6 as mandatory and will begin Code Enforcement action on all properties with Brazilian pepper remaining. We encourage all Zone 6 residents to act now to take immediate advantage of this cost saving incentive. To learn more about the City’s Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program or to obtain a list of licensed Brazilian pepper removal contractors, please click here or contact Holly Downing in the Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.”

NAR’s Confidence Index Shows Upswing

Here is a positive article that was posted on Florida Realtors® this week. “The National Association of Realtors® conducts a monthly study on Realtors outlooks about the housing market, and the Realtors Confidence Index for single-family home sales in December increased to 31.6 from November’s 30.4. However, it increased 7.1 points in one year – since December 2010 – when it was 24.5. Overall, the Index has shown a slowly improving market outlook.

“The index for townhouses was 18.5 in December down slightly from November’s 18.7. A year earlier, however, it was 12.6. The index for condos also decreased to 14.3 from November’s 15.3, but one year earlier it was only 10.3.

“The index also measured Realtors’ outlooks by region. Overall, the West had the highest outlook at 35.0, but the South – which includes Florida – came in second at 33.3. One year earlier, the South’s index stood at 25.1.

“Overall, 55% of Realtors surveyed expect prices to rise over the next year, an increase from 50% only one month earlier; and 7% of Realtors expect prices to rise 5% or more compared to November’s 6%. On the flip side, 38% of Realtors expect prices to fall, but that’s less than the 43% who said the same thing one month earlier.

“In an analysis, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said 2012 kicks off with “a significant amount of good news. … Existing home sales in December were up from a year ago. Pending sales – that is, contract signings – were 5% ahead of a year ago. Housing inventory – the number of homes available for sale – has declined (both for existing and newly built homes). Housing affordability continues at record high levels.” Yun says that one major problem still hangs over the housing market, however: Many middle-class buyers have been shut out of the market because they cannot obtain a mortgage. “Loan qualifications have become so strict since 2009 that only borrowers with super-high credit scores and spotless credit history are able to obtain mortgages,” Yun says. According to one-third of the Realtors surveyed, access to credit was the most important factor limiting clients’ ability to buy a home.”

The Minimum Credit Score

In keeping with the above article, a local lender recently sent an e-mail to Realtors clarifying what their bank requires for a credit score for a home loan. It said: “The minimum credit score we require is a 640 for most of our programs where the loan amounts are under $417,000. Each applicant has 3 scores:  Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. We take the middle credit score of each borrower. Then borrower’s lower middle score is the score an underwriter uses to both underwrite and price a loan.”

Baby Boomers Geared Up To Move

Interesting statistics were posted in the below article that I read this morning on Florida Realtors®. I hope this means “Sanibel, here they come”.

 “Where will baby boomers go to retire? A new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Consumer Federation of the Southeast finds one in three could move out of their home state in search of low taxes, low housing costs, pleasant climates and quality health care. They also want diverse recreational activities, supportive senior services, arts and cultural opportunities, nearby beaches and access to education.

“The baby boom generation has 78 million members, and the first wave – those born in 1946 – reach the full age for Social Security retirement benefits this year. According to the survey, a full third of baby boomers are open to moving across state lines to find the assets they are looking for, including a mid-size town that welcomes a diverse population. “According to this survey, substantial numbers (of baby boomers) are interested in relocating in retirement,” says Walter Dartland, president of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. “The decisions they make about where they will retire will have a huge impact not only on their families’ finances but on the communities to which they move.”

“Attracting even a small percentage of boomers can significantly impact a community. If just 0.3% move to a single area, it adds an estimated 1 billion per year in new economic income through jobs and new business. “This important survey, one of the most extensive of its kind in a decade, underscores the tremendous contribution that Americans aged 50 and older can offer to communities wherever they choose to live,” says Jeff Johnson, AARP Florida’s interim state director. “AARP Florida believes this research will help inform the efforts of many communities to better equip themselves to address issues important to a 50-plus population.””

Sanibel Real Estate Activity This Week

Our SanibelSusan listings had reasonable showing activity this week. We had a nice condo listing go under contract last weekend too. That makes five sales so far in 2012 for SanibelSusan. Not bad for five weeks into the year.

In the general condo market, Sanibel is not gaining much ground. There are 260 units for sale. This week, there were 5 new listings posted, 5 price reductions, 5 new sales, and 3 closed sales. At the current sale rate, that equates to nearly two years of inventory.

Sanibel homes continue to move a little better. With 7 new listings, 14 price reductions, 5 new sales, and 5 closed sales this week, inventory is dwindling a tad. About 15 months of inventory remain.

It was good to see some Sanibel lot activity this week too. There were 2 new sales and a price reduction this week. 103 lots remain on the market which is from two to five years work of inventory depending on how you look at it. That’s a tough market to predict.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 27 – February 3

5 new listings: White Caps South #2 1/1 $474.9K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $499K, Tarpon Beach #308 2/2 $635K, Sundial #A408 2/2 $749K, Bougainvillea #4 3/3 $1.295M (house on condo grounds).
5 price changes: Blind Pass #E102 2/2 now $419.9K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $489K, Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 now $519K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $569K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $629K.
5 new sales: Seashells #20 2/2 listed for $349K (our listing), Donax Village #18 2/2 listed for $369K, Sanibel Moorings #321 2/2 listed for $415K, Loggerhead Cay #481 2/2 listed for $425K, Gulfside Place #116 3/3 listed for $1.895M.
3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 $392.5K, Clam Shell #C 2/2 $685K, Gulfside Place #318 2/2 $892.5K.
7 new listings: 1120 Junonia St 3/2 $629K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 $729.9K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.272M, 1102 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 $1.429M, 2429 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.495M, 1290 Bay Dr 3/2 $1.595M, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 $1.795M.
14 price changes: 984 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $353K, 458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $419K, 6467 Pine Ave 3/3 now $495K, 5740 SanCap Rd 2/2 now $499K, 731 Nerita St 3/2 now $519K, 9440 Begonia Ct 3/2 now $530K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $595K, 1750 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 now $599K (short sale), 1233 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 now $679.9K, 542 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 now $749K (our listing), 9470 Balsa Ct 3/2 now $794K, 4041 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $949K, 228 Violet Dr 4/2/2 now $1.395M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.994.9M.
5 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed for $295K (short sale), 1427 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed for $339K, 994 Whelk Dr 2/2 listed for $589K, 1290 Par View Dr 4/2 listed for $649K, 244 Daniel Dr 3/3 listed for $799K.
6 closed sales: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex $275K, 1800 Ardsley Way 3/2 $534.5K, 244 Christofer Ct 3/3 $575K, 450 Sea Walk Ct 4/3 $600K, 1538 Royal Poinciana Cir 3/3 $600K (short sale), 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.25M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 2988/2993 Wulfert Rd now $949K.
2 new sales: 847 Casa Ybel Rd listed for $164,555, 513 Sea Walk Ct listed for $325K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5210 1/2 $299K.
1 price change: Marina Villas #603 2/2 now $525K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1651 2/2 $881.5K.
1 new listing: 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $3.995M.
2 price changes: 14980 Binder Dr 3/3 now $1.465M, 1 Sunset Captiva 2/2.5 now $1.595M.
1 new sale: 941 South Seas Plantation Rd 3/3.5 listed for $4.995M.
2 closed sales: 11531 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $1.3M, 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4.5 (foreclosure) $1.96M.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 11535 Murmond Ln now $649K, 15295 Captiva Dr now $649K.
No 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.


Sending good Super Bowl wishes your way, SanibelSusan

Winding up a Holiday Week on Sanibel Island

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It was a great July 4th on Sanibel Island from the parade right through to the fireworks. Unfortunately, since then we have had rain almost every day, though today we have lucked out so far and the space shuttle was able to take off.

Sanibel School Earns “A” for 13th Straight Year

It was announced last week that for the 3rd straight year, the Lee County School District achieved an “A” grade for its district-wide achievement by earning 537 points. An “A” grade is awarded for 525 points. Also for the 13th consecutive year, The Sanibel School earned an “A” grade, garnering 692 points. The Sanibel kindergarten through 8th-grade facility reported 97% of its students met the high standard in reading, 95% in math, 93% in writing and 86% in science. According to Sanibel School Principal Barbara Von Harten, The Sanibel School also has received notification that they have been ranked the top K-8 educational facility in the entire state of Florida. Pine Island Elementary is the only other school in the local district to earn an “A” grade since the school grade reports began in the 1988-89 academic year. To see a complete listing of the school grades visit www.leeschools.net.

Shelling & Fishing

Locals and visitors alike have commented that the fishing and shelling over the past holiday weekend were both excellent. It is always fun to see the newspaper reports with photos of the “finds”. The good ones this week included: several rather large prized junonia shells, a couple of foot-sized whelks, snook up to 42″, and even a 150‑lb tarpon.

32nd Annual July 4th Road Rally

If you are thinking of making your plans now for the 4th of July holiday next year, consider the Road Rally after the parade. This was my first year and though the prizewinners haven’t been announced yet, it was a lot of fun. Sponsored as a fundraiser by our local Optimists Club, it begins at The Timbers Restaurant parking lot at noon, with staggered start times. It is not a race, but rather a game of timing, mileage, and wit. Once provided with detailed driving directions around the island, and instructions that include “no backing up”, entrants are given question and answer sheets with more than 100 questions to answer. It is much like a scavenger hunt but without picking up items (well maybe a few). Most of the questions can be answered by carefully following the driving directions and being “very” observant. One would think that a carload of island Realtors® would have a good advantage, but we found at The Timbers Afterglow Party that several of the visiting vacationers beat us on some of the questions. How the Optimists could come up with so many difficult questions after 31 years is a surprise too. Some of the entries have been participating since the beginning. Maybe we will do better next year.

Captiva Beach Re-Nourishment Project

I heard from one of my Captiva pals that plans are underway for another beach re-nourishment project on Captiva in 2013/2014. That is always a pricey undertaking, but also great news for Sanibel as we always manage to get the sand eventually. Sometimes, it is just best to be an east-west oriented island.

Not Enough Done on Housing

Florida REALTORS® reposted an article yesterday from the “Washington Post” where “President Obama made a rare admission of a policy misstep, acknowledging that his administration failed to provide enough support to struggling homeowners and recognize the scope of the nation’s housing crisis. Despite predictions by Obama’s advisers that the housing market would rebound by now, real estate prices are falling once again. And the administration’s efforts to push banks to modify the mortgages of families who missed their monthly payments have been widely criticized as lacking. Obama first raised the issue Wednesday when a questioner during a town hall event asked what mistakes the president had made in handling the economy. “The continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasn’t bottomed out as quickly as we expected,” Obama responded. Later, he added, that his administration’s efforts to help struggling homeowners were “not enough. And so we’re going back to the drawing board,” he said.

“The housing issue threatens to loom over Obama’s re-election campaign, with foreclosures piling up and real estate markets in turmoil in pivotal swing states such as Florida and Nevada, which voted for him in 2008. Obama has not often discussed the housing crisis with much of his time in Washington and on the campaign trail focused on job creation and deficit reduction. But the issue repeatedly came up Wednesday as Obama conducted his first ever town hall meeting via Twitter. One person asked in a tweet: “How will admin work to help underwater homeowners who aren’t behind in payments but are trapped in homes they can’t sell?” Later, another questioner – whose Twitter handle was @Shnaps – asked a follow-up question about whether the market could heal itself. Obama responded that “given the size of the housing market, no federal program is going to be able to solve the housing problem.” He later added: “Some folks just bought more home than they could afford and probably they’re going to be better off renting.”

“Much of the criticism of the administration’s housing policy has focused on the Treasury Department’s foreclosure prevention initiative called the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. The program was funded by the financial bailout and carved out tens of billions of dollars to pay banks to modify the mortgages of distressed homeowners, or at least lower their monthly payments. The administration has said that HAMP helped more than a million families in this way. But critics say that the aid was not long lasting, and that the initiative’s design was too complicated for the industry to implement effectively.

“During Wednesday’s town hall, Obama said his administration would press banks to modify loans more quickly and, where possible, reduce the principal owed by homeowners. The questions submitted to the president were wide ranging, though Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who moderated the event, noted that 6 percent of the tweets focused on housing. Other hot topics included jobs, the economy and education.

“The president spent much of the time responding to questions verbally, leaving it to his staff and officials from Twitter to parse his words down to 140-character tweets, the maximum allowed on the micro-blogging Web site. Obama sent a live tweet only once, patting himself on the back for being the first president in history to do so.

“While the event was billed as a “discussion,” the format provided a platform for Obama to repeat his positions on the economy with little follow-up from the moderator and Twitter users. Obama got a laugh, though, when he took a question from House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who is known as @speakerboehner on Twitter. Boehner asked, “Where are the jobs?” Obama joked: “This is a slightly skewed question.” He then acknowledged that job growth has been slow. But he also accused Republicans of standing in the way of infrastructure and public works programs that would have created work for Americans. “Eventually, I’m sure the speaker will see the light,” Obama quipped.”

Island Real Estate Scoop This Week

Attendance was down yesterday at our biweekly Realtor® Caravan Meeting and just a handful of new listings were on tour. Even with the holiday vacationers and rain hampering outside activities, not many properties were shown and little real estate action was reported. Here are the MLS changes since last Friday.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity July 2-8

1 new listing:  Signal Inn #18 2/2 $949K.
1 price change:  Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3 3/3 now $719K.
1 new sale:  Sundial #R203 2/2 listed for $499K.
5 closed sales:  Sanibel Moorings #241 1/1 $260K, Sanibel Siesta #403 2/2 $340K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $375K, Compass Point #243 2/2 $460K, Atrium #306 3/2 $1.1M.
4 new listings:  491 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $339K; 1439 Albatross Rd 3/2 $439,555; 1470 Middle Gulf Dr 4/5.5 $2.395M; 4431 Waters Edge Ln 4/4 $2.85M.
2 price changes:  3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $499,994; 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.1M.
2 new sale:  1035 South Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 listed for $799K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 listed for $1.039M (short sale).
1 closed sale:  9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $350K.
1 new listing:  761 Donax St $189K.
1 price change:  2562 Coconut Dr now $399K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale:  5618 Baltusrol Ct $180K.
1 new listing:  Tennis Villas #3219 1/1 $245K.
4 price changes:  Tennis Villas #3229 1/1 now $240K, Bayside Villas #3406 3/3 now $638K, Beach Villas #2618 2/2 now $685K, Beach Villas #2628 2/2 now $699K.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price changes:  15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $2.95M.
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.