Brrrr…It’s Cold Outside


Well, this week has been a cold week on Sanibel. We won’t complain though, as we are thinking of everyone elsewhere in the US dealing with far greater cold temps. Stay warm & safe everyone.

Insurers Try New Tactic To Limit Damage Claims

Florida Realtors logoHere is an article posted on FloridaRealtors® website: Some Florida homeowners are discovering their insurance companies are employing an interesting strategy to avoid future claims costs.

Settlement checks sent by at least three companies include language stating that accepting the check releases the companies from further obligations connected to the claim.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys say they have major problems with this strategy: It tries to intimidate policyholders into not seeking payment for additional costs that come up during repairs and is likely unenforceable.

Palmetto Bay-based trial attorney Joe Ligman pointed to a section of Florida insurance law stating an insurer, after paying “actual cash value” for an insured loss minus any applicable deductible, “shall pay any remaining amounts necessary to perform such repairs as work is performed and expenses are incurred.”

But that’s not what notices from two of Florida’s largest insurers say.

On the back side of checks sent to homeowners, Fort Lauderdale-based Universal Property & Casualty includes the statement that an endorsement by the payee “constitutes receipt and release in full settlement for the claim or item mentioned in the draft.” Universal P&C is the state’s largest property insurer, with 612,227 policies statewide and 237,172 in the tri-county region as of Sept. 30, according to state records.

Along with a check sent to at least one of its homeowners, Deerfield Beach-based People’s Trust Insurance sent a letter stating that “your endorsement of the indemnity check constitutes a full accord and satisfaction of a disputed loss.”

And a third company, Sarasota-based Gulfstream Property and Casualty Insurance Co., enclosed with checks to at least two victims of Hurricane Irma a “release of property damage” that “does hereby … release, acquit and forever discharge” the company and its officials “from any and all claims, actions, causes of actions, demands, rights, damages, costs, loss of service, expenses and compensation whatsoever” stemming from the hurricane.

By contrast, state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. acknowledged in December that rising labor and materials costs triggered by Hurricane Irma would likely result in higher repair costs than initially estimated.

“As they go through the claims and repairs process, things will come up that may require us to readdress [and reopen] the claim,” Citizens spokesman Michael Peltier said Wednesday.

Locke Burt, chairman and president of Ormond Beach-based Security First Insurance, said his firm does not send release language with its claims checks “because we agree with the trial lawyer. It wouldn’t stand up in court.” Plus, he said, “We wouldn’t treat people that way.”

The Sun Sentinel contacted Universal P&C, People’s Trust and Gulfstream and asked each why they assert that acceptance of a settlement check releases them from supplemental claims.

The state law requiring insurers to pay any remaining amounts for additional work does not apply to People’s Trust, which operates a unique business model known as “managed repair,” countered Amy Rosen, the company’s chief marketing officer.

The company, with 129,626 policies statewide and 56,511 in the tri-county region, provides a premium discount in exchange for a customer’s agreement to use its affiliated “Rapid Response Team” contractor to make repairs. Rosen said it only sends the letter asserting acceptance of its check releases it from future obligations when a policyholder “wishes to receive a monetary payment in exchange for [the company’s] agreement to waive its right to have [the Rapid Response Team] perform the repairs.”

“If the insured accepts the monetary payment … then a settlement has been reached,” Rosen said. “If the insured does not accept the payment, then [the Rapid Response Team] repairs the property and, if additional covered damage is found, that is also repaired.”

Perry Cone, Gulfstream’s general counsel, declined to respond to questions about why it directs its policyholders to sign the release forms. “Gulfstream absolutely follows Florida law in its claims handling processes,” Cone wrote.

Travis Miller, spokesman for Universal Property & Casualty, said the statement on the checks “does not preclude claims for replacement costs or supplemental damage,” adding it “represents payment for items that have been reported to the insurer, have been reviewed, and are included within the scope of the draft.” He said other statements with the check will specify that the release pertains to a portion of coverage the check is for, such as additional living expenses, and “does not affect other payments such as replacement costs or other portions of the same claim [or any other claim.]”

Trial attorney Ligman, representing a policyholder who has declined to endorse a check from Universal, has filed a petition asking a Miami-Dade County circuit court judge to determine whether endorsement of the company’s check would bar him from making future claims.

“Universal refuses to change their check policy and continues to send the check release endorsement in violation of Florida law in order to trick their insureds to believe that they are releasing all future claims,” the petition states.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 29, 2017 – January 5, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sandy Bend #4 2/2 $779K.

6 price changes: Tennisplace #D21 1/1 now $244.8K, Captains Walk #B2 1/1 now $249K (our listing), Lighthouse Point #220 2/2 now $450K, Pine Cove #102 3/2 now $1.25M, Gulfside Place #123 2/2 now $1.273M, Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 now $1.749M.

1 new sale: By-The-Sea #9 3/2 listed at $1.749M.

2 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #F2 1/1 $470K, Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 $745K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 $537K; 887 Casa Ybel Rd 5/3 duplex $575K; 1513 Sand Castle Rd 2/2.5 $689,000; 3010 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $799K; 529 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $799,997; 9028 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 $889K; 4960 Joewood Dr 3/3 $1.049M; 940 Spoonbill Ct 3/2.5 $1.195M.

6 price changes: 9292 Kincaid Ct 3/2 now $489K, 4542 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 now $548K, 1327 Tahiti Dr 2/2 now $630K, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 now $1.225M, 1995 My Tern Ct 4/2 now $1.389M; 2029 Periwinkle Way 4/3 now $1.899M.

12 new sales: 1613 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $499K, 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 listed at $545K, 2521 Key Lime Pl 3/2 listed at $599K, 241 Violet Dr 3/2.5 listed at $750K, 335 East Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $1.095M, 1307 Par View Dr 3/3 listed at $1.1M, 1277 Par View Dr 4/3.5 listed at $1.15M, 1106 Buttonwood Ln 3/2 listed at $1.2M, 1313 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 listed at $1.35M, 1052 Whisperwood Ln 3/3 listed at $1.499M, 3945 West Gulf Dr 3/3 listed at $3.195M, 4115 West Gulf Dr 4/5 listed at $5.485M.

4 closed sales: 725 Nerita St 2/1 $385K, 5292 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $540K, 3273 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $820K, 4155 West Gulf Dr 4/3 $4M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 667 Birdie View Pt listed at $345K.

No closed sales.

 Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3216 1/1 $330K.

1 price change: Marina Villas #610 2/2 now $725K.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2514 2/2 listed at $609K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 20 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 $989K, 16801 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 $2.695M.

2 price changes: 1114 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 now $2.899M, 15133 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $3.2M.

1 new sale: 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 listed at $5.6M.

2 closed sales: 11461 Old Lodge Ln 2/2 $995K, 11500 Gore Ln 3/2 $1.15M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Have A Great Weekend!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year From Sanibel


We have enjoyed another week of nice weather here on Sanibel. Today and into the New Year we are expecting a “cool front” with morning lows in the 50’s (later next week to be in the 40’s) & the afternoons warming to the mid 60’s, low 70’s. Lots of people this week, walking, biking, & filling up the roads. Here at the office we know when it is 3:30, as the cars are stopped on the road out front.

polar bear plungeNew Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge

On Monday, January 1, the Sanibel-Captiva Chapter of the National Polar Bear Club will hold its 18th annual meeting at “the crack of noon” at Tarpon Bay Beach (the south/gulf end of Tarpon Bay Road). The meeting will begin with the singing of the traditional Polar Bear anthem by the Cubbies (first-timers), Juveniles (one-time previous dippers) and seasoned Adult bears (those who took the plunge in previous years). Following the anthem, the Polar Bears will enter the “icy” gulf waters. Everyone is welcome. Chairs and coolers are optional.

Sanibel Library Earns Award

sanibel libraryThis year marks the fourth time the Sanibel public library has been recognized as one of the best libraries in the country by Library Journal. The rating is based on the number of people walking through the library’s doors, number of program attendees and the number of books checked out. The rating is also based on electronic material.

“Ding” Darling Announces 2018 Film Series

ding darlingThe sixth annual “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series kicks off its bi-weekly showings this winter with a schedule of seven films that explore natural facets from pollinators and coral to wild Florida and the war on coal. It runs Jan. 10 through April 4.“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge hosts the free film showings in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center with sponsorship from Sanibel-Captiva Beach Resorts. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis.

Below are the season’s scheduled films. All films begin at 1 p.m. except the Jan. 24 film, which airs at 10a.m. A short discussion will follow each film to allow visitors to gain more from their documentary-viewing experience by listening to other people’s points of view and analyzing what they just watched. For full descriptions of the films, please visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org

Jan. 10 – Wings of Life

Jan. 24 – Tapped

Feb. 7 – From the Ashes

Feb. 21 – Chasing Coral

March 7 – The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida

Mach 21 – Mission Blue

April 4 – STRAWS

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 22-29, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sundial West #F308 1/1 $439K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #1221 3/2.5 listed at $1.095M, White Sands #32 2/2.5 listed at $1.095M, Bandy Beach #A101 3/2 listed at $1.299M (our Buyer).

1 closed sale: Captains Walk #A8 2/2 $347K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 5299 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2.5 $539K, 5411 Osprey Ct 3/2 $1.295M.

2 price changes: 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $699K, 4460 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 now $898K.

3 new sales: 1394 Middle Gulf Dr half-duplex listed at $524.9K, 1943 Sanibel Bayou Rd 3/3 listed at $649.9K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3/2 listed at $1.495M.

6 closed sales: 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex $430K, 1187 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $635K, 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 $605K, 1195 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1M, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 $1.25M, 750 Periwinkle Way 5/4 $1.49M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 4538 Bowen Bayou Rd $258K, 1817 Long Point Ln $399,555.

2 price changes: 5116 Sea Bell Rd now $169.5K, 5126 Sea Bell Rd now $169.5K.

No new or closed sales.

 Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #4B 3/2.5 listed at $1.495M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

4 new listings: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 $1.085M, 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 $2.795M, 1124 Longifolia Ct 4/5 $4.3M, 15867 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 $4.895M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 duplex listed at $1.749M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

happy new year

Happy New Year!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team

Merry Christmas from Sanibel


It’s been a beautiful weather week, some fog in the early mornings, but with sunny skies every day. The Christmas Eve & Christmas Day forecasts look just as nice & sunny.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoAs a reminder, there was no Realtor® Caravan this week, but the every-Thursday-morning schedule begins again on Dec 28 with a West Caravan.

ding darling goose logoFree Refuge Programs and Tours Begin In January 

This year, JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge adds a new Horseshoe Crab program to its calendar of daily free tours and activities. The seasonal calendar of free programs and tours begins on Tuesday, January 2 and runs through April 8. Daily programs begin at 8:30 a.m. and include programs such as Nature Photography, Beach Walk, Birds of Prey, and Indigo Trail Walk. They have something for visitors of all ages and the programs/tours last anywhere from a half hour to two hours. For a full calendar of programs/tours and descriptions, visit http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org

henderson-franklinRent Tax Reduced Beginning January 1, 2018

Here is an article written by Henderson Franklin, Attorneys at Law:

The Florida Legislature recently delivered a small win for the business community with Florida House Bill 7109. Effective January 1, 2018, Florida Statute 212.031(1)(c) is amended by lowering the sales tax levied against commercial tenants from 6% to 5.8%. A more significant decrease would have been better, but commercial tenants will take what they can get, we suspect. The tax – known as the Business Rent Tax or “the BRT” – affects commercial tenants including retail, office space, and industrial tenants.

What is the BRT?

The Florida Legislature enacted the BRT in 1969, declaring that the business of renting, leasing, letting or granting a license for the use of commercial real property is a “taxable privilege.” In part because Florida has no personal income tax, the state government relies on sales taxes, including the BRT, as a significant source of revenue. Many local governments also impose a local option sales tax on top of the state BRT.

Florida is the only state to levy a statewide tax against commercial tenants, and thereby creates a competitive disadvantage for Florida businesses that lease rather than own their commercial space.

House Bill 7109

Florida’s BRT is unique from a national perspective in two respects: not only is it the only standard, statewide sales tax on commercial real estate rents, but unlike other corporate taxes, it is not pegged to profitability. As a result, the BRT significantly raises occupancy costs on all commercial tenants, regardless of their financial condition. New and/or struggling businesses in Florida may have the greatest difficulty with the burden this tax creates, and these businesses are likely to benefit the most from the tax relief in House Bill 7109.

Takeaway

Many voices within Florida’s business community have pushed for years for steep cuts to the BRT and, beginning in 2018, start to see their lobbying efforts bear fruit. Considering the significant impact the tax has on occupancy costs, the BRT should continue to be the subject of considerable debate in Tallahassee. As with all tax matters, please consult with your tax professional.

homesteadYou Can Inherit A Home, But You Can’t Inherit Taxes

Here is a helpful article posted at FloridaRealtors®. This one on Dec 18, 2017 is credited to Marty Kiar, Broward County property appraiser.

“The family home often passes from generation to generation as parents pass on, but Broward County’s property appraiser says he often gets a similar question the following year: Why did my property taxes go up so much?

“This happens when the decedent’s Homestead Exemption is removed the year following their passing and the Save Our Homes value is reset,” says Broward’s Marty Kiar. While alive, the parents had a cap on the amount their property taxes could go up each year thanks to Florida’s homestead exemption.

However, that protection ends and the house’s taxable value resets when it gets a new owner, even if that new owner inherited the house from his or her parents. In some cases, that higher taxable value can be dramatic.

Kiar notes only a few exceptions: A surviving spouse can inherit a house as well as the existing tax savings via Save Our Homes, as can a “legal dependent who was permanently residing on the property at the time of the decedent’s death.”

In all other cases, the new owner – even if he or she grew up in that house – must file for a new Homestead Exemption when they become the legal owner. Once filed, they also then have protection from yearly increases through Save Our Homes, though going forward it’s based on the first year they applied for the Homestead Exemption.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 15-22, 2017 

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Spanish Cay #4 2/2 $374K, Sundial West #G105 1/1 $425K, Blind Pass #B211 2/2 $469K, Sunset South #1A 2/2 $775K, Loggerhead Cay #134 2/2 $995K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 $1.149M, Atrium #201 3/3 $1.495M.

3 price changes: Sundial West #G204 2/2 now $649,999; Island Beach Club #220E 2/2 now $979K; Pointe Santo #E23 2/2 now $995K.

2 new sales: Sundial West #G105 1/1 listed at $425K, Sundial West #J207 2/2 listed at $695K.

6 closed sales: Seashells #44 2/2 $320K, Captians Walk #B5 2/1 $340K, Sundial West #C306 1/1 $404.5K, Blind Pass #B207 2/2.5 $469K, Sanibel Arms West #G8 2/2 $475K, Bougainvillea #A3 4/4 $3.55M.

HOMES

12 new listings: 1613 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $499K, 1027 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $575K, 693 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $579K, 2521 Key Lime Pl 3/2 $599K, 1357 Jamaica Dr 2/3 duplex $650K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $784.5K, 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 $875K, 1106 Buttonwood Ln 3/2 $1.2M, 4166 Dingman Dr 4/4 $2.9M, 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 $1.395M, 1035 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 $1.7495M, 1191 Bird Ln 5/4.5 $7.9M.

5 price changes: 667 Spartina Ct 3/2 now $619,555; 5299 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/3 now $648K; 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 now $990K; 5403 Shearwater Dr 4/3 now $1.195M; 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 now $1.349M.

9 new sales: 915 Palm St 3/2 listed at $475K, 3273 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed at $825K, 3358 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 listed at $979K, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 listed at $1.224M, 899 Almas Ct 3/2 listed at $1.249M, 2441 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.295M, 2190 Starfish Ln 3/3 listed at $1.395M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 listed at $1.675M, 267 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed at $1.795M.

1 closed sale: 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 $737.5K.

LOTS

1 new listings: 2987 Wulfert Rd $450K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1311 Par View Dr listed at $274K.

1 closed sale: 461 Lake Murex Cir $325K. 

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #302 4/3 now $2.895M.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3210 1/1 listed at $300K, Lands End Village #1657 2/2 listed at $1.095M

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1660 3/3 $1.5375M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 duplex $1.749M, 16814 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $8.2M.

2 price changes: 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 now $2.795M, 16447 Captiva Dr 6/5/2 now $3.599M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Santa on Beach

Wishing You & Your Family A Happy Holiday Weekend!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team

 

Pre-Holiday Happenings on Sanibel


It’s been a week of wonderful, though chilly, island weather. We’ve had the heat on in the office for a few days and been wearing sweaters, while those here on vacation continue to pedal and jog by in their shorts and tee-shirts. Forecasts say that it will be back up into the 60’s by tomorrow, with temperatures expected to creep up into the high 70’s again by early next week.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoIt was standing room only yesterday at the Association of Realtors® December Membership Meeting followed by east-end Caravan. A big crowd always comes when we have a speaker from the City of Sanibel. This year, it was Senior Planner, Roy Gibson. His short power-point covered three documents and followed with questions/answers.

  1. The Sanibel Report – An early history of the island, the Sanibel Plan is a scientific document published in 1976. It’s probably best known as an environmental assessment of Sanibel, a natural systems study, if you will. It is no longer in publication, but it provided the scientific foundation of the areas that today are known as the island ecological zones.
  2. The Sanibel Plan – Developed in 1975 (after City incorporation in late 1974), this is a living document accessible at the City website, www.mySanibel.com. It contains the vision statement for the island, describing how Sanibel is 1st a Sanctuary, 2nd a Community, and 3rd an Attraction. It provides the zoning maps and provides the regulatory framework for the City including its goals, objectives, and policies.
  3. The Sanibel Code – This is the document most often used by the Planning Department and island Realtors®. It’s the operations guide for the City. (We all got a chuckle out of Roy’s pop quiz to guess the weight of the printed document (which is 10.1 lbs). The lucky answerer got their own copy of the Code.) I have a hard-copy in my office too, but it’s much easier to read it on-line. The Sanibel Code contains the City Charter which describes how the City is governed and the Land Development Code. It’s that development code that comes into play in real estate transactions. There is a link to the Code on www.mySanibel.com.

No Realtor® Caravan next Thursday, but the every-Thursday-morning schedule begins again on Dec 28 with a West Caravan.

New Eats

  • Dante’s Coal-Fired Pizza – recently opened at The Sanibel Inn. With locations in Fort Myers and Coral, Dante’s is not new to SW Florida. They will have on-line ordering soon at www.DantesCoalFiredPizza.com
  • Lighthouse Café – will again be serving dinner starting today through April.
  • Farmers Market – begins on Captiva next Tues, Dec 19 and will be every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 3, at the entrance to South Seas Resort.

Conflict Over Vacation Rental Rights Brewing

Florida Realtors logoInteresting to see an article from Fort Myers Beach posted on line at FloridaRealtors®. This one on Dec 12, 2018 is credited to Laura Ruane, Journal Media Group. Sanibel already has a monthly-minimum on rental homes in residential communities.

“Homeowners have a right to live in peace, free of a steady stream of noisy interlopers, says Doris Grant, Fort Myers Beach resident.

“Government should respect owners’ rights and keep excessive laws off private property, says Joe Tekulve, an Ohio resident with a beach vacation home.

“It’s a battle of rights as some people ponder whether short-term vacation rentals should be more closely regulated, in particular by local governments.

“Two Lee County municipalities took up the matter recently. And, state lawmakers are expected to once again weigh in on short-term rental regulations in the upcoming session.

“Vacation rentals of fewer than 30 days are big business and growing: The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation estimates the number of state-licensed, short-term rental units grew from 117,000 in 2012 to 131,000 in 2016. That growth may be vastly understated in this era of online platforms helping hospitality rookies rent out their spare bedrooms or entire homes.

“But as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and others began marketing vacation rentals in less-commercial areas, complaints poured in from year-round residents. They say their neighborhoods are suffering from a revolving door of short-term renters – guests who sometimes thoughtlessly disturb the peace and character of a place.

“Multiple issues – Bad behavior by renters isn’t the only issue. Area hoteliers and property managers say the competitive field no longer is level when owners of homes and condos can rent out the dwellings for a day or two or more – and yet can ignore health and safety measures, tax remittance and other rules without penalty.

“In 2011, the Florida Legislature adopted measures prohibiting municipalities from regulating vacation rentals – unless they already had such laws in place. Florida was still working its way out of the Great Recession, so sympathy was high for property owners trying to earn a few bucks – and perhaps even avert foreclosure.

“At the same time, though, private equity firms were buying homes in foreclosure for pennies on the dollar, and turning some of them into vacation rentals. In some areas, rentals became dominant and operated like hotels, although often poorly managed.

“In 2014, the Legislature passed a bill “giving cities back the authority to regulate vacation rentals. But they could not regulate the duration of these rentals,” said Casey Cook, senior lobbyist with Florida League of Cities. Cook’s organization favors “home rule,” meaning municipalities decide what level of regulation is right for their residents.

“Last spring, a push championed by Sen. Greg Steube in the Legislature collapsed. That bill would have pre-empted local regulation of vacation rentals – other than existing laws grandfathered-in. However, the topic is far from dead: Two Senate Community Affairs Committee workshops in October took testimony on how to best regulate short-term rentals, and who should do it.

“When contacted in early November, a staffer in Steube’s Tallahassee office wouldn’t rule out the possibility another vacation rental bill could surface next year. Florida’s Senate will convene Jan. 9.

“Numerous Florida cities – including Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Hollywood – have tried to address the issues surrounding short-term rentals regulation. Locally, a rentals ordinance failed to pass muster with Cape Coral City Council. The town of Fort Myers Beach is still weighing its options.

In October, Cape Coral City Council rejected a short-term rentals ordinance that would have required property registrations, a city business license, inspections and the naming of a local contact for emergency purposes. The vote came following a second public hearing at which realty companies, local landlords and Airbnb hosts spoke against the measure.

“Cape Coral’s land-use regulations already prohibit renting to guests for periods of fewer than seven days, but they are not enforced. Host Compliance Software, which monitors short-term rental host agencies, estimated the city has more than 3,100 vacation rentals. This would include an unknown number that rent by the night, contrary to city law. Analysis by the city, which compared that group of rentals with the number of state-registered Cape short-term rentals, showed more than 2,000 are not registered with the state, as required. “We have a compliance issue with thousands of illegally operating short-term rentals in Cape Coral,” said Michael Ilczyszyn, assistant city manager.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 8-15, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

8 new listings: Blind Pass #D101 2/2 $439K, White Caps South #5 1/1 $569K, Blind Pass #B209 3/2.5 $584.5K, Sundial West #J207 2/2 $695K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 $749K, Sanibel Inn #3535 2/2 $765K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 $850K, By-The-Sea #9 3/2 $1.749M.

2 price changes: Blind Pass #A205 2/2 now $418.9K, Snug Harbor #211 2/2 now $769K.

6 new sales: Colonnades #C3 1/1 listed at $225K, Sanibel Arms #F2 1/1 listed at $499.9K, Loggerhead Cay #153 2/2 listed at $919.9K, Shorewood #2B 3/3 listed at $1.568M. Captains Walk #B5 2/1 listed at $349K, Captains Walk #A8 2/2 listed at $349K.

2 closed sales: Sunset South #1C 2/2 $665K, Shell Island Beach Club #7B 2/2 $785K (our Buyer).

IMG_2463

Boardwalk to beach at Shell Island Beach Club

HOMES

11 new listings: 1357 Jamaica Dr 2/3 $650K, 2005 Mitzi Ln 2/2 $543.5K, 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 $545K, 3043 Poinciana Cir 4/2 $575K, 1425 Causey Ct 4/3 $779K, 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $829K, 335 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $1.095M, 2464 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 $1.3M, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 $1.499M, 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $2.995M, 1077 Bird Ln 4/5/2 $5.995M.

7 price changes: 1004 Spanish Laurel Ln 2/2 now $598K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $629K, 5430 Osprey Ct 3/3 now $799K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 now $799.9K, 1391 Jamaica Dr 4/3 now $1.349M, 6412 Pine Ave 3/2.5 now $1.245M, 794 Conch Ct 3/2.5 now $1.995M.

4 new sales: 5292 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 listed at $569K, 1317 Par View Dr 3/3 listed at $629K, 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 listed at $649K, 1149 Paper Fig Ct 4/3 listed at $2.245M.

2 closed sales: 981 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $480K, 714 Durion Ct 3/2 $585K.

LOTS

3 new listings: 555 Piedmont Rd $219,555; 5627 Baltusrol Ct $410K; 602 Boulder Dr $459K.

No price changes or new sales.

3 closed sales: 2501 Wulfert Rd $175K, 1299 Par View Dr $227K, 1415 Sanderling Cir $879.5K.

 Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

2 new listings: 11541 Wightman Ln 3/3 $2.175M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 multi-family $7.9M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 15295 Captiva Dr $899K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

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.

Have a great weekend!

Elise for The SanibelSusan Team

November Sanibel-Captiva Scoop


It’s Susan reporting another beautiful Friday on the island – sunny 80 degrees. Our fall weather was short lived, but we don’t mind a bit. We had nice visits from several returning clients this week and the roadways/bike paths are indicating “they’re back!”.

More and more new events are being posted, so if you want to check the “Island Events” tab on our website (www.SanibelSusan.com), I updated it this week to include many of the upcoming fun things to do.

This week was the 2nd rehearsal of the BIG ARTS Community Chorus with the group already tuning up for the Thanksgiving Celebration (Nov 19), Sanibel Luminary (Dec 1), and our Holiday Concert (Dec 14).

At the Sanibel & Captiva Island Association of Realtors®

Yesterday was the start of the again-weekly Thursday 8:30 a.m. Realtor® Caravan meetings. During this fall/winter/spring schedule, the Caravans are limited to 15 properties and, because of the traffic, rotate property locations, with east-end properties one week, and west-end, the next. West end is from Rabbit Road to the tip of Captiva. East-end is Rabbit Road to the lighthouse.

Surprisingly, yesterday’s meeting was lightly attended, but those on-hand were receptive to our last Association benefit of the year, “Fall Into Christmas”, planned for next Wed (Nov 8) after-hours, when we kick-off the holiday season and collect unwrapped toys, gift cards, and donations for “Friends Who Care”.

Caloosahatchee and Everglades Update Post Hurricane Irma

SCCF logothe Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and the Everglades Foundation on Tuesday, Nov 14 at 7 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House for The Caloosahatchee and Everglades: In the Eye of the Storm. This program and community conversation will focus on water quality issues and restoration following Hurricane Irma.

Progress is being made on Everglades restoration projects critical to opening up the southern end of the Everglades to move water south. The passage of the bill to establish the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir will work in tandem with these projects to add water storage capacity south of Lake Okeechobee to feed needed water to the Everglades and Florida Bay currently dumped to the estuaries. The dark, excess freshwater resulting from Hurricane Irma illustrates how badly alternative outlets and additional storage are needed. On November 14, SCCF and the Everglades Foundation will highlight issues ranging from water conditions to restoration progress and how you can participate in the coming state legislative process and a Federal Action Day in Washington, DC. in May 2018.

While the EAA Reservoir does not solve all of the problems, it’s a major step forward and initial planning for the project has begun. There will be time for audience questions and you can find out how you can help. Community support and action will be vital in advancing the projects and funding needed — as Hurricane Irma’s statewide impacts will also require funding from the state. Committee work for the next Florida legislative session has already begun and the session will open on January 9 (two months earlier than normal).

The program is free and open to the public. No reservations required. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov 14 at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. Refreshments will be available. Program starts at 7 p.m. Call SCCF at 472-2329 with questions.

Weekend Events

esperanza-castingTomorrow, Nov 4

  • Esperanza Woodring Memorial Cast Net Rodeo, annual Bait Box tradition beginning at 8:30 a.m., 1410 Periwinkle Way
  • Island Seniors Annual Trash & Treasures Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Center 4 Life building (corner of Palm Ridge Rd and Library Way).
  • Songwriter Saturday at ‘Tween Waters Resort & Spa pool from 1 to 5 p.m. (featuring Nashville singer-songwriters). Make a reservation at 239-472-5161.

Sunday, Nov 5

2nd Sanibel Blues and Jazz Fest, at Bailey’s backyard (behind the store). Performances from noon to 7 p.m. Tickets available at Bailey’s General Store, at the festival, and on-line at sanibelbluesandjazzfest.org.2017_SanibelBluesJazzFest

Tax Reform Hits Homeowners

realtor logoOne of my favorite economists, Lawrence Yun, posted a good article in the November/December 2017 Realtor® magazine. Though following this topic is like following a moving train, his advice applies regardless of the political outcome.

“Renters will come out ahead, albeit temporarily, if the “Big 6” tax reform framework is passed in its current form. They stand to get about $500 in tax cuts each year. The plan was released at the end of September by the Trump administration and Republican leadership in Congress.

“Because there is no free lunch, who then will foot the bill? Homeowners. Particularly families with children. While it’s unlikely lawmakers intended to hurt them, that will be the result.

“Tax reform is a laudable goal. Lower tax rates are what people want. And Americans are fed up with the many hours it takes to comply with today’s complex code.

“But a reform at the expense of homeowners is misdirected. Homeowners already pay 80 to 90% of all federal income tax in any given year.

“The plan to double the standard deduction (from about $12,000 to $24,000 for a family) means far fewer homeowners will use the mortgage interest deduction. Some homeowners may come out ahead while others will lose out. But larger families will be faced with a particularly difficult challenge, because the personal exemption and the exemptions for dependents which are both $4,050 per individual, would go away.

“For renters, who don’t take the mortgage deduction, the higher standard deduction will likely make most of them better off. Historical data has shown that renters do not accumulate wealth over the long haul. The latest Federal Reserve data show the typical wealth of a renting household has fallen from $5,900 to $5,100 since 2010, while homeowning households have seen their wealth jump from $192,800 to $231,400.

“Congress needs to thoroughly review the tax code with an eye toward simplifying it and reducing the tax burden on Americans, particularly middle-income households who today pay a disproportionate share of our nation’s taxes. Reduced payments in a simplified system could even boost long-term GDP growth. But Congress must never forget, sustainable and successful homeownership should be encouraged.” 

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 27- November 3, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Coquina Beach #5B 2/2 $399K, Kimball Lodge #303 1/2 $620K, Nutmeg Village #1092/2 $689K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 $709K, Poinciana #3C 3/2 $1.75M, White Pelican #133 3/3 $2.195M.

4 price changes: Lake Palms #6 2/2.5 now $349K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 now $469.5K, Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $485K, Sanibel Moorings #1221 3/2.5 now $1.095M.

3 new sales: Seashells #11 2/2 listed at $350K, Sundial West #C306 1/1 listed at $435K, Sanibel Moorings #612 2/2 listed at $565K.

4 closed sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary #B302 2/2 $460K, Tarpon Beach #103 2/2 $725K, Sundial East #O405 2/2 $1.01325M, Sanddollar #A303 3/2 $1.275M.

HOMES

8 new listings: 984 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 $585K; 667 Spartina Ct 3/2 $629,555; 2030 Sunrise Cir

3/3 $649K; 1307 Par View Dr 3/3 $1.1M; 701 Anchor Dr 3/3.5 $1.295M; 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct

3/2 $1.295M; 5757 Baltusrol Ct 3/3 $1.497M; 1561 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/4 $2.75M.

4 price changes: 9225 Belding Dr 3/2 now $490K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $639K, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.274M, 900 Snowberry Ln 4/3 now $3.295M.

2 new sales: 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex listed at $499K, 1743 Jewel Box Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.2M.

5 closed sales: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex 3/3 $470K, 5305 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $559K, 655 Anchor Dr 3/3 $605K, 485 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $970K, 984 Oyster Ct 3/3.5 $1.625M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2515 Wulfert Rd $259K.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales. 

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5202 1/2 $375K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES

3 new listings: 15154 Wiles Dr 4/3 $1.495M, 15631 Captiva Dr 5/4 $3.995M, 15138 Wiles Dr

6/5.5 $7.599M.

1 price change: 14865 Mango Ct 2/2 now $929K.

No new sales or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Here is a cute sign from the Sanibel Café.SanibelCafeSign

Almost Halloween on Sanibel


OctoberToday is another sunny day on the islands where we are excited to report cooler temperatures and low humidity. It’s always a nice change to have windows open and to wear long-sleeves again. Those local changes also indicate changes up north too, with cooler norther temps resulting in more inquiries and a boost in business here. Temperatures today were expected to reach the low 80’s before another cool front arrives tomorrow after a few showers. Then, temperatures are expected to go into the 50’s at night, with days in the 70’s.

SanCapAssnLogoSanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Following the Association’s annual meeting yesterday, several new sales were announced during Realtor® Caravan. More new listings also are on the market.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

Upcoming Events

With holidays fast approaching, here are a few more upcoming events.

13th Annual Island Paws Howl-O-Ween Fundraiser – Tonite Oct 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. on the Over Easy Café patio to raise money for Gulf Coast Humane Society.

FINAL_FISH_10K_20179th Annual 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H. – Tomorrow morning Oct 28 – Race begins at The Community House at 7:30 a.m. Periwinkle Way will be closed to one lane during the race.

Island Nights Fall Festival – Tomorrow Oct 28 from 3 to 9:30 p.m. at Casa Ybel Resort with local vendors, life music, food, rum and craft beer samples, dessert station, face painting, henna tattoos, bounce house, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, goodie bags, & a movie.

Trunk or Treat – Tuesday Oct 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Sanibel Community Church.

Fall Family Festival – Tuesday Oct 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Community House. A bag of candy gains admission where costumed families will win prizes, enjoy carnival games, a hay ride, and get hot dog and burger dinners.

24th Annual Esperanza Woodring Memorial Cast Net Rodeo – Saturday Nov 4 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at The Bait Box. Free family event with free lessons, youth competition, refreshments, music, and raffle.

Sanibel Sea schoolThanksgiving Beach Walk – Thursday Nov 23 from 8:45 to 10 a.m. with Doc Bruce, Sanibel Sea School, 414 Lagoon Dr. Walk the beach with him, learn about the eco-system, and explore creatures found along the way. Free & kid-friendly.

Sanibel Update on Hurricane Irma Vegetative Debris Collection

Veg-Debris-1As of Wed, mySanibel.com reports that the “first sweep” of the island is 93.35% complete with 78.08 miles out of the 83.64 miles of roads completed. 28 streets (or a portion) out of 256 public and private roads remained to be done with two streets remaining due to sagging Comcast lines. City crews are using small vehicles to collect the debris on the roads blocked by Comcast lines.

Stump removal and a final “mop-up” collection of hurricane-generated debris will be next with hours of operation changing on Monday Nov 6.

Property owners are reminded that vegetative debris generated as part of routine maintenance is to be disposed consistent with pre-hurricane collection methods. Bagged or containerized residual debris will be collected by the regular hauler on regularly scheduled horticulture collection days.

Vegetation Trimming on Periwinkle Way

Sanibelcityseal logoNotice from City of Sanibel – “From Monday Oct 30 through Friday Nov 10 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the vegetation along Periwinkle Way will be trimmed from Lighthouse Beach Park to Tarpon Bay Rd. Intermittent lane closes are expected. Drivers and pedestrians, please proceed slowly and cautiously through areas when workers are present.” 

Are Your Neighbors Trees Growing On Your Property?

henderson-franklinAnyone who knows where I live, recognizes that I like my yard neat and trimmed. Thankfully, my landscaper does a good job of keeping it that way. One of my neighbors, on-the-other-hand, prefers the jungle look. Sometimes a few of their trees, a big one in particular, grow out over my property.

Some years, during my annual fall “big trim”, I have paid dearly to have some of “their” branches cut back. This year, however, Hurricane Irma did a nice job of taking care of that task for me. Even so, the below article by Donald Thompson, posted on-line Oct 18, 2017 on the Legal Scoop Blog of Henderson Law was of interest. Maybe it applies to your situation too.

“Your neighbors are proud of their beautiful, large fruit trees, which are now growing substantially over your property. The trees have grown so large that a number of branches extend over your house, tool shed, and other improvements, which you believe results in a dangerous condition, not to mention rotten fruit dropping on your patio. What are your options: force the neighbor to remove the tree extending over your land, sue for damages, or something else? You may be surprised.

“In Florida, a possessor of land is not liable to others outside his land for nuisance caused by vegetation growing from his land over adjoining properties. Scott v McCarty, 41 So. 3d 989 (Fla.4th DCA 2010). Therefore, your neighbor has no duty to remove or even trim the tree branches that encroach onto your property.

“However, as the adjoining property owner, you have the privilege to trim back, at your expense, the offending (encroaching) tree, roots, branches, and other vegetation. Gallo v Heller, 512, So. 2d 215 (Fla.3d DCA 1987). Maybe this does not seem fair. You may wonder why you must pay to cut your neighbor’s trees that she allowed to grow over your property. The rationale appears to be grounded in common sense and public policy. Courts recognize that allowing such a claim would likely result in innumerable, and in many instances, vexatious lawsuits. In fact, one case reasoned that departing from the precedent would invite further litigation between neighbors, which as a matter of public policy should be avoided. Scott v McCarty, 41 So. 3d 989 (2010)

“Options – If your neighbor’s tree is growing onto your property, as a general rule you may trim the vegetation that extends onto your property. However, you should not cut any portion of the tree on your neighbor’s property and should not enter onto your neighbor’s property without consent. In fact, you should chat with your neighbor first and discuss what you intend to do. Even if your neighbor disagrees, and the matter ends up in a courtroom, a judge is likely to look favorably on your attempt to amicably resolve your disagreement.

“Exceptions – Of course, there are exceptions to most general rules. In Sullivan v Silver Palm Properties, Inc., 558 So. 2d 409 (Fla. 1990), the Florida Supreme Court cites at least two cases which held a landowner responsible for maintenance of trees and vegetation obstructing motorists’ view of a stop sign. The Courts reasoned that overhanging vegetation which blocks traffic control devices presents an imminent danger, and that a duty to remove vegetation obstructing critical traffic control signage is common sense. Also, the general rule in Florida of no duty or liability of a neighbor for overgrown trees is not the rule followed in all states.

“Other matters to consider before taking action may include:

  • review municipal or county ordinances, if applicable;
  • investigate and consider the possibility of removal of vegetation on your property causing damage to your neighbor’s property; and
  • use common sense.

“These types of claims can be fact driven and varying facts may affect an outcome in court. If in doubt, be sure to seek a competent attorney to assist you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue, please feel free to reach me at donald.thomson@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1369.”

Good Info From The Shell Museum

bailey-mathews shell museum signLast week, Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum held another educational event for those wanting to become Shell Ambassadors. You may have seen those folks on the beach, wearing blue tee-shirts and helping those shelling. One of these days, I hope to become a Shell Ambassador too, but in the meantime, I thought one of their handouts had some good info. Aka Important Contact Information, it includes some number that might come in handy if you see injured wildlife or perhaps a tourist violating a local rule. I’ve added the info to my website “Useful Phone #s & Links” tab. FYI, here it is:

  • Injured land animal – CROW 239-472-3644 x222 or FWC Wildlife Alert 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC on mobile phone
  • Sea turtle problems – SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline 978-728-3663 or FWC Wildlife Alert 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC on mobile phone
  • Manatee & dolphin problems – FWC Wildlife Alert 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC on mobile phone
  • Active code violations on Sanibel (like live shelling, littering, leash law, feeding/harassing wildlife, destroying beach/dunes, picking native plants, etc.) – Sanibel Police non-emergency 239-472-3111
  • Passive code violations on Sanibel (like abandoned beach furniture, large amounts of garbage, etc.) – Sanibel Code Enforcement 239-472-4136
  • Live shelling on Captiva & causeway beaches – FWC Wildlife Alert 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC on mobile phone or Lee County Sherriff non-emergency 239-477-1000 • Full Outside bar opens at 10pm (cash only) Wristbands: $10 at entrance cash only (must be 21 years of age or older with wrist band only for admission). Costume Contest winners announced at midnight! Cash prizes awarded to 1st ($1,000), 2nd ($500), and 3rd ($250) of best overall costume. Other prizes to include free night stays, dining credits, Cabana rentals, Jet Ski and parasailing vouchers and more! Dinner before party? Why yes, with both Crow’s Nest and Captiva House accepting reservations now at 472.5161!

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 20-27, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

5 price changes: Sundial West #H409 1/1 now $465K, Island Beach Club #P1A 2/2 now $639K, Cottage Colony West #132 1/1 now $654K, Cottage Colony West #108 1/1 now $654K, Pointe Santo #B2 2/2 now $815K,

4 new sales: Spanish Cay #E3 2/2 listed at $369K, Sanibel Siesta #303 2/2 listed at $529K, Shell Island Beach Club #7B 2/2 listed at $820K (our buyer), Nutmeg Village #100 2/2 listed at $1.07M.

Shell Isl. Beach Club

Shell Island Beach Club Aerial

 

1 closed sale: Villa Sanibel #3C 2/2 $630K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 5299 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/3 $698K, 921 Strangler Fig Ln 3/3.5 $995K, 1743 Jewel Box Dr 3/3.5 $1.2M.

6 price changes: 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex now $499K, 1943 Sanibel Bayou Rd 3/3 now $649.9K, 5657 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 now $895K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 now $1.199M, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $1.295M, 1149 Paper Fig Ct 4/3 now $2.245M.

2 new sales: 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 listed at $799K, 1270 Bay Dr 3/2 listed at $1.349M.

2 closed sales: 1550 Bunting Ln 2/2.5 $622K, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 $2.325M.

LOTS

No new listings:

3 price changes: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $179K; 412 Tiree Cir now $349,555; 2401 Blue Crab Ct now $699K.

1 new sale: 1415 Sanderling Cir listed at $398K.

No closed sales.

 Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2523 1/1 listed at $539K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 14865 Mango Ct 2/2 $979K.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

 

halloween-kidsHappy Halloween!

Island Life – Getting Back to Normal


It’s SanibelSusan, reporting that there has been good progress this week in getting the islands back in order post-Irma – with more owners returning, more summer projects wrapping up, and more tree debris removed from the sides of local roadways

Post Irma Recovery

Today is the 18th consecutive day of roadside debris collection with three huge trucks and one smaller one working systematically from one end of the island to the other. The latest report from the City said that sweeps will continue until every roadway (public and private) have been serviced twice. So far 40,000 cubic yards of what has been collected has been converted to mulch, with the City finalizing plans to offer it to the community free.

Yesterday bright-and-early, I was excited to have a claw truck removing the huge pile in front of my home. This is a long tedious process with piles growing and utility lines often hampering efforts, but the crew was careful and efficient.

FISH 2017 10 K raceBecause of the main debris collection site being on Island Inn Road, the City is working with F.I.S.H. to come up with an alternate route for the F.I.S.H. annual 10K fundraiser race which is scheduled for October 28. I got a call from Nicole McHale, 2017 F.I.S.H. Board of Directors Chair, asking if I could get Realtor® volunteers willing to work that morning, manning the route, particularly at driveways, to aide in runner and public safety. The call is out, with plenty of us already volunteering.

A little advice to those not back on-island yet, bring patience. Those looking for pressure/window washing contractors and screen repairmen will likely have a wait. I’ve heard that screening material now is in short supply, compounding the delay for some repairs. Last night, the local news reported that it may take months, if not years, for some cage work to be completed. Orange barricade fences are recommended where needed for safety.

I got a letter from my landscaper advising that they expect to have their customers’ properties back to normal by Christmas. So, we are thankful that island damage was minimal and look forward, with patience, to a warm and wonderful fall and winter season.

Sanibel Approves Budget; Irma Plays Big Role

santiva chronicleSanibel City Council met yesterday, below is the article posted this morning at “Santiva-Chronicle” on-line:

Sanibelcityseal logo“Sanibel will operate on a budget lower than last year in 2018 and it will include expenses from Hurricane Irma, higher beach parking rates and a 15% increase in the cost of a membership at the Recreation Center.

“The City Council gave final approval to the 2018 fiscal year budget at a special budget meeting at City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 5. Most of the budget details had been finalized in the council’s regular meeting and budget hearing on Oct. 3 and Thursday’s meeting was a formality.

“The city’s final approved budget total for fiscal 2018 is $60,033,596. It was prepared based on a millage rate of 1.9139, which is the same as last year.

“By everyone’s assessment, the City of Sanibel performed well before, during and after Hurricane Irma, which came through on Sept. 10. The massive post-Irma cleanup has been orderly, but it still goes on and it hasn’t come without a cost.

“Irma caused Sanibel to dip into its 2017 disaster relief money and that is reflected in the new budget’s beginning fund balance. The disaster reserves haven’t been restored to the 2017 level and the city anticipates that state and federal reimbursements might be a long process. The reserve for disasters is budgeted to be reduced from $4.5 million to $3.7 million due to Hurricane Irma recovery expenses.

“The budget hit from Irma is a one-time occurrence, but the city’s budget woes involving beach parking and the Recreation Center are lingering problems. The council addressed both in the meetings leading up to the final budget approval session.

“The deficit in the beach parking fund now sits at $1.8 million. At its regular meeting on Oct. 3, the council on a 4-1 vote raised the hourly beach parking fee from $4 to $5, raised the B decal for non-resident parking from $99 to $124 and the BC decal for non-resident parking with a boat from $198 to $248. The increase goes into effect Nov. 15.

“The gap to make ends meet for the Recreation Center in the tentative 2018 budget was $384,000. The cost of classes at the Recreation Center will not increase, but much is coming under the knife and membership fees are going up 15% following action by the council at the Tuesday budget meeting an in an emergency meeting Thursday just prior to the final budget hearing.

“Several citizens appeared at the Tuesday budget hearing and they were relieved when Mayor Kevin Ruane said at the top of the meeting that class prices at the Rec Center will not go up. None of them complained at the 15% increase the council arrived at after discussion.

“Ruane presented figures showing that the 15% increase will offset $105,000. He also gave figures for 5% ($35,000), 10% ($70,000), 20% ($140,000) and 25% ($175,000). Several times over the past few years Ruane has said that he believes the cost of a membership is a value not offered in other communities. Councilman Jason Maughan picked up on that theme at the Tuesday budget meeting. “We are below one-half where everyone else is,” Maughan said. “I say we raise it 25% and call it a day.” “Is there a sweet spot?” Councilman Chauncey Goss asked. Recreation Department Director Andrea Miller suggested that 10 to 15% would be a good compromise. The council decided on 15% by unanimous vote.

“The second reading and public hearing would have occurred at the Nov. 7 council meeting, but that was moved up to the emergency meeting Thursday, where it passed on a unanimous vote. Since it was an emergency action, the council is required to approve the increase through the normal process in the coming months. The effort to bring the Recreation Center back to financial fitness will also include cuts totaling $76,000 in operating expenses and $156,000 in staff reductions.

“The 2018 final budget adopted Thursday is 3.9% lower than the 2017 adopted budget of $62,468,100 and 8.43% lower than the 2017 amended budget of $65,302,567.

“While the millage rate remains the same as 2017, it will raise more tax dollars. Sanibel’s taxable property value for fiscal 2018 was assessed by the Lee County Property Appraiser at $5.05 billion, which is 6.17% higher than the final posted value in 2017.

“Ruane said Thursday that had it not been for Irma, the city could have gone to the rolled-back millage rate of 1.8132. All of the budget proceedings were to have taken place in September, but were pushed back to October by the passage of Hurricane Irma.”

Water Quality

West wind 2017-10-06.jpgPhoto above taken this afternoon at the beach in front of West Wind Inn. The beach is narrow and the water still churned up from recent rain and wind, but the water looks pretty typical for post-storm.

I had lunch yesterday with a Realtor® pal often involved in continued efforts locally to improve water quality. Many of you have seen the aerial photos showing the discolored water in the bay now. That really does happen whenever there is a big rainfall and dead vegetation is churned up, particularly in mangrove area. Now, exacerbated with Lake Okeechobee releases. According to this week’s report on www.MySanibel.com:

“As of October 2, 2017, the elevation of Lake Okeechobee was 16.47 feet. Click here to see the Current Level of Lake Okeechobee .  The Lake is currently within the Top of the High Sub-band of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS2008). The Lake level is currently 0.71 feet HIGHER than it was at this time last year and approximately 1.71 feet HIGHER than it was in 2015.

“Heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Irma resulted in Lake Okeechobee levels rising dramatically during the past three weeks. This prompted the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin regulatory releases to the estuaries. Click here for links to weekly Caloosahatchee Conditions Reports.

“During this past week, flows at the Franklin Lock averaged 10,497 cfs, with approximately 57% of the flow coming from Lake Okeechobee. Average flows are currently more than three and half times the high-flow ecological harm threshold of 2,800 cfs establish for the estuary, resulting in very poor salinity levels throughout the estuary.

“Water clarity in San Carlos Bay and along Sanibel’s beaches are being impacted by runoff from the Caloosahatchee watershed and discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Click here to see an aerial of the current water conditions at Lighthouse Beach Park.

As my lunch friend said, it is probably inevitable that there will be a bloom of red tide this winter, if not sooner. Please stay involved in efforts to improve water quality. Red tide is a natural phenomenon, but it can be limited/prevented.\

Trump Signs NFIP Extension Into Law

NFIPOn September 8, President Trump signed a 3-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that was due to expire on September 30. The signed legislation also authorized $15.25 billion in emergency funding for disaster relief and rebuilding that includes $7.8 billion for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The program now will remain in effect until December 8. The NFIP provides flood insurance to 5 million homeowners nationwide. Lenders require flood insurance in order to close on mortgage financing if the home is in a flood zone.

The National Association of Realtors® supports the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, H.R. 2874, which passed the House Financial Services Committee a few weeks ago. The bill would reauthorize the program for five years, encourage private insurers to enter the market, cap annual insurance premiums at $10,000, and grandfather existing rates for certain homes that are already covered and in compliance with building standards. It also would make money available for owners to elevate their homes or take other flooding precautions and enable communities to use flood mapping techniques that are more accurate than the government’s. The bill would make a number of other reforms, including improvements to the processes for owners who file a claim or want to submit an appeal. (For updates, go to www.floodsmart.gov )

36th Annual Taste of the Islands

crow 36th tasteC.R.O.W.’s (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlfe) 36th Annual Taste of the Islands will be held Sunday, November 12, at the Sanibel Community Park (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty). Gates open at 12 p.m. and close at 5 p.m. The event features live music and showcases Sanibel and Captiva Islands’ vibrant and diverse restaurant community. New this year, guests can meet CROW’s Animal Ambassadors in the Sanibel Community House.

Live entertainment will be provided by the LCEC Killa-Watts. This unique musical group started as a fundraiser a few years ago and has grown, benefiting many causes throughout the Southwest Florida community. The core Killa-Watts members have been true to the mission of making music, having some fun, and helping those in need by sharing their talent at little, or no cost to help raise funds for worthy causes. They have opened for Lee Greenwood for a Veterans fundraiser, played dozens of United Way and Chamber of Commerce events, and supported efforts to fight Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and many other worthy causes.

Admission to Taste of the Islands is $7 and children younger than 12 years of age are free. Guests purchase CROW Bucks to get their “tastes” from participating restaurants. Item prices range from one to six CROW Bucks. Admissions and CROW Bucks are available for purchase at the event and in advance through CROW’s website (click here to buy online) and can be picked up at the Will Call booth at Taste of the Islands. Proceeds from Taste of the Islands ensure CROW’s continued success in providing the highest quality care and treatment of injured, ill and orphaned wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care. Funds also support public educational exhibits in the Visitor Education Center. Healthy wildlife means a healthy environment for all of us. For more information about the 36th Taste of the Islands, please visit http://www.crowclinic.org/articles/36th-taste-of-the-islands.

SanibelSusan Realty Scoop

Not a lot of island real estate action this week, but we did get a few inquiries from Sellers thinking about listing for “season” and the roadways are getting busier, indicating they “are back” and inventory may increase.

Florida Realtors logoCommittee assignments for 2018 at Florida Realtors® came out this week. It looks like the old gal isn’t going to be retiring anytime soon. Committee work yields good business connections, so I am happy to serve on the state leadership team again next year. The Mid-Winter Business Meetings are the end of January, with my five committees all during a 2-day window, so it will be a quick trip to Orlando for me then. The other committee obligation in Orlando is during the annual governance meetings in August (that sure seems like a long way off, and appreciated that it’s in what’s typically a slow time here).

We are hopeful that the island will be busy this weekend with some folks celebrating a 3-day Columbus Day holiday. We’ll be working.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoNo Association of Realtors® Caravan this week. The every-other-week schedule was revised to skip two weeks because of the Association’s annual meeting at the end of October. Next Thursday, we will have our new home listing in Gumbo Limbo on Caravan.

The action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service is below.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 29-October 6, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 $499K; Blind Pass #B207 2/2.5 $499,997; Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 $1.79M.

5 price changes: Blind Pass #E205 2/2.5 now $409K, Loggerhead Cay #463 2/2 now $519K, Snug Harbor #312 3/2 now $699K, Sand Pointe #215 2/2 now $719K, High Tide #C101 now $995K.

1 new sale: Sundial West #H406 listed at $789K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #931 2/2 $490K, 1311 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $750K, Royale Tern #103 3/3.5 $1.43M.

HOMES

5 new listings9448 Begonia Ct 3/2.5 $699K (our listing), 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $725K, 707 Cardium St 3/2 $899K, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 $1.2999M, 2915 Wulfert Rd 5/6.5 $3.4M.

1 price change: 8995 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 now $949K.

2 new sales: 655 Anchor Dr 3/3 listed at $749K, 2628 Coconut Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.35M.

4 closed sales: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $505K, 9455 Beverly Ln 2/2 $525K, 587 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $660K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $670K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 6411 Pine Ave $363.5K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 2501 Wulfert Rd listed at $183.9K, 1026 Fish Crow Rd listed at $395K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Beach Villas #2523 1/1 $539K, Sunset Captiva #204 2/2 $1.249M, Beach Homes #18 4/3 $3.445M.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #4118 1/2 $337K, Lands End Village #1614 3/3 $2.3M.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 now $4.975M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel/Captiva Scoop – Labor Day Weekend 2017


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that Sanibel & Captiva have pretty much dried out from the three days of rain experienced last weekend. My street was flooded until Monday afternoon.

Anchor rain

Local area schools and City offices were closed on Monday, due mostly to flooding in off-island areas.

But, by Tuesday through today, the weather has been sunny and mostly bright with any lingering showers inland. Reports too are that the shelling has been great!

Now we are all keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma. The end of hurricane season can’t come soon enough for me, sure still seems like the end of Nov is a long way off.

 

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoThis being what often is considered the “slowest week” of the year, it was good timing for the rain, yet a real surprise to get a showing request Sunday afternoon amid the downpours. It also was a real treat to work with a couple of sisters here for their first visit – who after just two days decided they needed to look at real estate. They were leaving the island midday Monday, unfazed by the showers, already fascinated with Sanibel, and even talking of moving here.

So much fun to work with prospects who know this is the place for them – appreciating the ambience, beaches, environmental conscience here. No offers yet, but the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service this week, follows a few news items below.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

San Cap LogoNo Caravan meeting this week, but our Communications/Public Relations Committee met Tuesday morning and made plans to accelerate our Sept donation project so that we could help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. (The paragraphs below describe what we are doing and how you can help too.)

Tuesday midday, at a surprise luncheon at Casa Ybel Resort’s Thistle Lodge, our Association of Realtors® celebrated the retirement of our CEO Peggy Hummel who has been a steady stabilizing leader for our organization for many years. We hated to see her go, but appreciate that she left us in good hands. Best wishes, Peggy!

PeggyPeggy Party

NAR gray-logoRealtors® Helping Nationally The National Association of Realtors® in a broadcast email on Tues, asked members to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.

“Our hearts go out to the tens of thousands of families who have been displaced by catastrophic storms on the Texas coastline. Officials are calling Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding a 500-year weather event, one of the most epic storms in our nation’s history.

“When disaster strikes, REALTORS® step up, whether that’s to deliver food, water, or other vital assistance or to donate money to those in need. That’s where the REALTORS® Relief Foundation comes in. Since its inception in 2001, the RRF has raised more than $25 million to provide mortgage and rental assistance to victims of more than 50 disasters, including wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. RRF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, with administrative costs covered by the National Association of REALTORS®. That means 100% of all donations go directly to victims of disaster.

“NAR is calling on the REALTOR® family to donate funds to the foundation to support storm victims in Texas. Martin Edwards, a REALTOR® from Tennessee, serves as president of the foundation board. Martin has said, “Harvey may require our REALTOR® family’s largest effort since Hurricane Katrina—or even 9/11. Hopefully, REALTORS® across America will heed the call to donate, as on-the-ground membership in Texas will be stretched beyond belief.”

“We are asking you to join us in this effort with your personal donation to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation. You can do so in less than one minute using your credit card on our secure online form. Or you can send a check payable to RRF to REALTORS® Relief Foundation, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Write “RRF Contribution” in the memo line.

“Please send your donation today so your contribution can reach people who need it now. Our efforts both reflect and depend on the generosity of REALTORS®. Together, let’s continue to make a difference. Thank you.”

Florida Realtors logoRealtors® Helping at State Level & Here on Sanibel & Captiva Islands – Florida Realtors® is coordinating preparation of “totes for hope” and the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® is part of that effort. We are collecting the following travel-sized items which will be individually packaged into Ziplock® bags – with one item in each bag.

Shipments to Houston begin today and will continue through next Friday, so please drop any donations off before Wed, Sept 6 at The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Office at 2353 Periwinkle Way, Suite 201 (located upstairs over Finnimore’s Cycle Shop, in the building behind Winds).Sanibel realtors logo

My hard-working always-willing-to-help Communication/Publications Committee members will work bagging them on Wed afternoon, after which the bags will travel to the Naples Board of Realtors® which is the drop-off point for our Southwest Florida District.

  • Adhesive Bandages
  • Safety Pins
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Body wash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disposable Razors
  • Shaving Cream
  • Combs/Brushes
  • Small Bars of Soap/Body Wash
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Pocket Tissues
  • Lotion
  • Mouthwash
  • Lip Balm.

Flooded Homes Can Be Fixed But…

realtor.comThis timely article was posted by Realtor.com on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017:

“As Hurricane Harvey moves off the coastline of Texas, it’s leaving massive flooding in its wake that has destroyed homes and businesses.

“Until the floodwaters recede, cleanup efforts are mostly on hold. But remediation companies say they’re ready to jump into action as soon as they’re able. In preparation for the undertaking, here are a few important items to share about repairing a flooded home, compiled by realtor.com®.

“Time is of the essence.

A home that has been flooded does not need to be torn down, but the water does need to be removed quickly. Truck-mounted vacuums with 2,000 horsepower and dehumidifiers can extract moisture from furniture, hardwood, tile, and Sheetrock. But Robyn Kent, a claims administrator at Dalworth Restoration in Euless, Texas, says the most important element is getting it cleaned up quickly: “Closer to the three- to five-day mark is when it becomes questionable, since by then, all the materials have become fragile.”

“Mold is the real issue.

“One of the biggest problems—especially in Houston in the summer—is going to be mold,” Tyler Drew, a Los Angeles real estate professional and investor, told realtor.com®. “The longer a house sits with water, the worse the mold infestation. Affected areas have to be removed, the wood and concrete treated with anti-mold agents, and all of this has to be done after the house is sealed, in order to prevent the infestation from spreading and sickening people.”

“Repair costs can escalate.

“Drying off a 2,000-square-foot house in normal conditions may cost more than $2,500, while in situations like Harvey is producing, the job scope expands quickly—and so will costs,” says Peter Duncanson, director of operations and safety with ServiceMaster Restore. Flood insurance may cover the cost of repairs, but it depends on what type of insurance the owner has. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t typically cover flooding inside a home, and many in Houston don’t have flood insurance.”

Labor Day Weekend Closure

ding darling goose logoThe “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center will be closed on Monday, Sep 4, in observance of Labor Day.

Wildlife Drive and Tarpon Bay Explorers will remain open during usual operating hours.

Refuge and DDWS offices will also be closed on Monday.

Restaurant clip artRestaurant Vacation Closings 2017

Many have asked about what restaurants will be closed and when. Here is the summary posted on the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce website:

Restaurant Vacation Closings 2017*

Restaurant                                                             Closing             Reopen

Bleu Rendez‐Vous French Bistro                       Sun, 8/27          Thu, 10/5

Blue Coyote Supper Club                                    Sun, 9/3            Tue, 10/3

Blue Giraffe Island Dining                                 Mon, 9/11         Sat, 9/16

Cheeburger Cheeburger                                     Mon, 8/28         Fri, 9/1

Cip’s Place                                                              Closed 9/4, then, 9/ 5‐10/1: No Lunch

Dairy Queen                                                          Mon, 9/11         Fri, 9/15

East End Deli                                                         Summer Hours 10 am‐2 pm

Gramma Dot’s                                                       Tues, 9/5          Thur, 9/28

Island Pizza Company                                         Wed, 9/6           **Wed, 9/27 estimated**

Joey’s Custard                                                        Sun, 9/10          Mon,10/2

Lighthouse Café (Sanibel)                                   Tues, 9/5          Sun, 9/10

Over Easy Café                                                       Mon, 9/11         Fri, 9/22

Rosie’s Café & Grill                                                Mon, 9/25         Fri, 10/6

Sanibel Sweet Shoppe                                           Closed Sat, Sun, Mon starting Sept

Schnapper Hots                                                      Mon, 8/21         Thurs 11/16 closing at 4 pm

Sweet Melissa’s                                                       Sun, 9/10          Tues, 10/3

The Clam Shack                                                      Mon, 9/11         Mon, 9/18

The Sandbar                                                            Mon, 8/22         Thur, 9/29

Traders                                                                     Sat, 9/2             Tues, 10/3

Traditions on the Beach                                        Closed 9/4

* Subject to change

30% of Luxury Deals Are ‘Suspicious’

CNBC_Logo_FlatInteresting article posted Wed at Realtor®Mag online this week, sourced to CNBC (Aug 24, 2017):

“A new watchdog program designed to monitor real estate deals involving shell companies has found that the buyers in 30% of high-end deals were linked to “suspicious activity,” the Treasury Department reported this week. Federal officials are now expanding the program, which aims to prevent money laundering by overseas buyers who use shell companies to mask their identities.

“The program, called the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, focuses on major markets that attract a high volume of international buying activity, including New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Officials this week added Honolulu to the list. The program is monitoring wire transfers of funds as well as cash deals.

““This could have a chilling effect,” Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson told CNBC. “That very high end of the market is the most vulnerable to these issues. If a lot of foreign buyers were parking their money in high-end real estate and that much of it is tainted, this rule will have an impact.”

“Under FinCEN, title insurance companies must determine the identities of shell company owners who are making cash real estate purchases at certain price points—usually more than $1 million. The Treasury Department then determines whether those shell companies have been flagged on lists of suspicious activity. FinCEN focuses on transactions worth more than $3 million in New York, $2 million in California and Hawaii, and $1 million in Florida, among other price points and locations.

““Through this advisory and other outreach to the private sector, FinCEN, [the real estate] industry, and law enforcement will be better positioned to protect the real estate markets from serving as a vehicle to launder illicit proceeds,” FinCEN acting director Jamal El-Hindi told CNBC.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 25-September 1, 2017

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Siesta #303 2/2 $529K, Pointe Santo #C42 2/2 $949K.

1 price change: Captains Walk #A8 2/2 now $358K.

4 new sales: Tarpon Beach #103 2/2 listed at $749K, Sundial East #O405 2/2 listed at $1.0995M, Sanddollar #A303 3/2 listed at $1.349M, Royale Tern #103 3/3.5 listed at $1.675M.

2 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #371 2/2 $497K, Gulf Beach #102 2/2 $790K (our listing).

IMG_8429

Path from Gulf Beach

 

HOMES

4 new listings: 2539 Coconut Dr 2/2 $678K, 8995 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 $895K, 1396 Tahiti Dr 4/3 $898K, 2462 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.799M.

4 price changes: 5305 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $579K; 673 East Rocks 3/2 now $709,888; 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 now $1.495M; 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.674M.

6 new sales: 1550 Bunting Ln 2/2.5 listed at $644K, 1295 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $675K, 474 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $689K, 732 Windlass Way 4/3.5 listed at $1.195M, 984 Oyster Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.65M, 2379 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.695M.

3 closed sales: 9113 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 $500K, 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 $1.857M, 390 Old Trail Rd 4/4.5 $2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1800 Woodring Rd $2.825M.

2 price changes: 1912 Ibis Ln now $250K, 3013 Poinciana Cir now $259.9K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 2441 & 2453 Los Colony Rd $150K. 

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3117 1/1.5 $265K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16525 Captiva Dr 3/3 $1.995M.

No price changes or new sales.

3 closed sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 $812.5K, 16979 Captiva Dr 7/6.5 $3.2M, 1119 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 $4.3M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

LaborDaySignIf you have any island real estate needs, SanibelSusan is working right through the holiday weekend.

Laboring on Labor Day is not really work, if it’s doing what you love!

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate on Cinco de Mayo


cinco de mayoSanibel & Captiva Islands had another week of good weather and little traffic – or at least until late yesterday when a boat slid off a trailer coming out of Sanibel Harbour onto Summerlin Road just after the toll booth going off island.

That little roadway snafu kept vehicles leaving the islands at a slow crawl until close to 7 p.m. Silly me then, doing some off-island chores after work.

The weather this week included the first major shower of the rainy season. Boy, was the rain needed when it arrived late Monday night/early Tuesday morning. Though off-island teammates Dave and Elise saw only a few drops and heard some thunder rumbles where they live, they noticed causeway flooding as they came onto the island. There were huge puddles from the east-end to Captiva. Most now have disappeared, with “greening” up already noticeable. I heard a Lee County Mosquito Control plane buzzing the east-end early morning yesterday, yet another sign that we got rain and it’s May.

The change in island occupancy is evident even to the lunch crowd. No waiting at Doc Ford’s on Tuesday when my lunch friends and I snagged a nice breezy outside table. They later sent me the below photo and said I could share it. Thank you, Susanna and Yves-Pascal, for a great visit and terrific picture too!

Version 3

First Off-Season Caravan Meeting

Sanibel realtors logoAttendance was light at yesterday’s Thursday morning local Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting which had just two homes (one bank-owned) and a single condo on tour. That’s another indication that “high season” is over. Here forward, until late fall when business picks up, Caravan’s will be held every other week and open to any new listings in any location on either island.

  • Water Quality Update – During the Committee Reports, Realtor® David Schuldrenfrei for the Government & Environmental Committee reported that SB #10, regarding Everglades restoration and water storage, passed in the Florida Legislature with the House of Representatives following the lead of the Senate. This bill has been decades in the making and provides $800 million in funding to create a dynamic reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The reservoir is needed to provide freshwater to Florida Bay and to alleviate discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Rivers. The bill now is on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature. Local Realtors®, City officials, and others have spent nearly 20 years working toward this milestone. David offered a big thank you to all involved for their continued persistence. A further update is below, on other issues in the forefront of Florida’s legislative session which wraps up today.
  • Working Together to Make a Difference – For the Communications and Public Relations Committee, I announced that Realtors® Bob and Diane Stocks joined me Monday morning in transporting to Catholic Charities of SW Florida, the gently-used clothing collected over the last two months by Association Members. That delivery was a humbling experience. Charity workers were very thankful for the carloads of goods delivered saying they are particularly in need of donations for Clewiston farm worker families, those who lost belongings in Florida’s fires, recent rescues human trafficking, as well as those down on their luck hoping and looking for jobs, to become more self-sufficient. This month, the Committee is spearheading a new campaign, collecting pillows, bed linens, and diapers which will be donated on June 1 to ACT (Abuse Counseling Treatment Center) in Fort Myers. Their needs increase in the “off season” too.
  • Real Estate Announcements – Under new and old business, a couple of old sales were announced. Listing agents are careful these days to wait until after inspection/cancellation periods are over – or contingencies are removed – to make an announcement.

Also, a “back-on-the-market” was reported where a property did not close because the buyer couldn’t get financing. That doesn’t happen here too often, but it could be because the home was found to have aluminum wiring, which can make a property difficult to insure. The listing agent announced that the wiring is being replaced and it again is available for sale.

I announced the price reduction at our Seagull Estates listing. A couple of upcoming new listings were announced too. There usually are not many new offerings this time of the year. These were the result of winter residents heading home and moving elsewhere. The details of the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows some other news items below.

While I was at the Thursday caravan meeting, Dave was at a property inspection. I hope he wasn’t on the roof when this picture was taken, but here is his photo showing how few were on Beachcomber’s east-end stretch of beach then.  The gulf waters are beautiful!

Roof 05-04-17 Cropped.jpg

Update on Florida Legislative Session

Florida Realtors logoAs Florida’s legislative session comes to a close, Florida Realtors® Vice President of Public Policy, Carrie O’Rourke, emailed the members of FloridaRealtors® Think Tank (yes, I am one of those) a summary of what she said is “is shaping up to be one of our most successful sessions in recent memory.” Here are some excerpts:

  • Business Rent Tax Reduction – We are closer to success than ever before! After years of fighting for a reduction to the business rent tax we were finally able to overcome the obstacles and there is a strong chance we will come out with a win for business owners, commercial Realtors®, and ultimately, Florida’s economy. Under the current proposal, which was just passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the business rent tax would be reduced 0.2%, moving from 6% to a permanent 5.8%. While this may at first seem like a very modest cut, there are two things to consider
  • First, this cut represents more than $60 million fiscal impact to the state, and comprises the vast majority of the small amount of funding that was available for tax cut purposes.
  • Second, this cut represents a big step for a legislative body that has been reluctant to even open the door on a cut to this revenue source.
  • The bill now travels to the full Florida Senate for a vote, and will also need to pass the House before the legislature adjourns on Friday, the scheduled conclusion of the Legislature’s 60-day session.
  • “10% Non-Homestead Property Tax Cap – Success! The joint resolution has passed both legislative chambers and will not be heading to voters during the 2018 general election. This is a significant victory for Florida Realtors® as it gives us the time we need to conduct a comprehensive, direct-to-voter campaign that will help voters understand why they need to make this important tax break permanent.
  • “Estoppel Certificate Fee Reform – …For three years, we have been advocating for caps on unreasonable estoppel certificate fees and all that hard work has paid off with the passage of SB 398. This legislature caps the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. An additional $100 can be charged for “expedited” estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days), and another $150 can be charged for owners who are delinquent in their assessments. This is a maximum of $500 for an expedited, delinquent estoppel certificate. Gone are the days of certificate fees that cost $1,000 or more….
  • “Vacation Rentals – It took about 4 hours of debate and a close vote for HB 425… to make it out of the House. This is the bill that essentially stops local governments from targeting vacation rental homes with restrictive ordinances. In other words, if a local government passes an ordinance targeted at vacation rental homes, it has to apply to all residential homes in the area; vacation rentals cannot be singled out. The original bill has been amended several times and has a tough road ahead of it in the Senate.
  • “Increase to the Non-School Homestead Exemption – The Senate passed a priority issue of the House concerning a proposed increase to the non-school homestead exemption by $25,000. Currently homeowners receive a tax exemption on the first $25,000 in the value of their properties. They pay taxes on the value between $25,000 and $50,000 and then receive an exemption on the portion from $50,000 to $75,000. The House ended up adopting the Senate’s version of the joint resolution which would apply the exemption to the portion of values between $100,000 and $125,000. This passage will place a constitutional amendment on the 2017 general election ballot.”

First Sea Turtle Nest

Turtle hatching 07-01-16As follow-up to last week’s posting about sea turtle nesting season beginning, the first nest of the season was found Saturday, April 29, near Gulfside Place condos. The nest has been staked off by volunteers from SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Sea Turtle Monitoring Program. Reports say that this year’s first nest is early, but not as early as last year when the first one was found on April 20 on Captiva.

Sea turtles on Sanibel/Captiva are coming off back-to-back record years. A new record was set in 2015 with more than 600 nests. Last season that record was beat by a mile when the two islands had a combined total of 826 nests.

SCCF volunteers patrol the beaches early every morning during nesting season, recording new nests and false crawls (when a female comes ashore but doesn’t lay eggs). The volunteers take measurements and stake the nests. In recent years, they also have covered nests with mesh to prevent coyotes from getting to them.

Southwest Florida By The Numbers

As a numbers kinda gal, I enjoyed reading the statistics in the “Gulfshore Business Source Book 2017” that arrived in the mail this week. Below is a sampling, showing Lee County compared to neighboring Collier and Charlotte, the state, and the nation.

“Demographics              Lee             Collier          Charlotte     Florida               United States

2016 population             680,539      350,202        170,450        20.612 million   323.127 million

Projected by 2025          839,497       409,899       187,862        22.799 million   357.452 million

Median age (2016)         46.9              46.5             54.5                 39.4                     35.9

Percentage over 65        25                27.8             36.2                 18.8                     12.4

Cost of Living

Median home price      $246,900      $450,000     $195,000        $226,000          $233,500

Labor

Unemployment rate     4.4%              4.5%              5.2%              5.0%                 4.7%

(Feb 2017)

Median annual wage   $31,548         $32,946         $29,526         $32,789           $36,764

(2016)”

Further along in the article, it provided details on the major communities within the counties.

Here is their info for Sanibel:

“Population (2016) – 6,591

Per capita income (2015) – $79,354

Median household income (2015) – $98,818

Median home value – $664,500”

Wondering the largest employers in Southwest Florida? Here are the top ten with their number of employees:

  1. “Lee Health (12,600)
  2. Lee County School District (11,098)
  3. Publix Super Markets (8,533)
  4. Collier County Public Schools (7,000)
  5. NCH Healthcare System – Naples Community Hospital (4,200)
  6. Wal-Mart (3,792)
  7. Chico’s FAS Inc. (2,900)
  8. Arthrex Inc. (2,510)
  9. Lee County Government (2,362)
  10. Lipman Produce (2,300)…”

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 28-May 5, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Sundial West #D403 1/1 $435K, Island Beach Club #P1A 2/2 $659K, Cottage Colony West #116 1/1 $659K, Tarpon Beach #102 2/2 $749K, Sanibel Seaview #B2 3/3 $1.489M.

5 price changes: Seashells #38 2/2 now $349K, Seashells #11 2/2 now $365K, Donax Village #3 2/2 now $438.5K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 now $485K, By-The-Sea #C302 2/2 now $1.495M.

6 new sales: Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 listed at $463.5K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #B201 2/2 listed at $475K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 listed at $699K, Kings Crown #208 2/2 listed at $749K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 listed at $749K, Sanibel Surfside #225 2/2 listed at $774.9K.

5 closed sales: Sandy Bend #5 2/2 $705K, Sundial West #E304 2/2 $790K, Sundial East #Q404 2/2 $865K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-6 $910K, Wedgewood #202 3/3.5 $2.38M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 981 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $575K, 315 East Gulf Dr 2/2 half-duplex $649K.

15 price changes: 5308 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $578K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $599K, 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 now $584.9K, 1040 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $599.9K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex now $614K, 545 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $629K, 601 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 now $675K, 1717 Sand Peble Way 3/2 now $679K, 673 East Rocks 3/2 now $798.8K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $1.069M, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.395M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.595M, 750 Periwinkle Way 5/4 now $ 1.85M, 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 now $1.995M, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 now $2.499M.

4 new sales: 770 Donax St 2/2 listed at $495K, 4239 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 listed at $549K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $599K, 4117 West Gulf Dr 5/6 listed at $5.799M.

3 closed sales: 970 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $500K, 537 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 $850K (our seller), 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.475M.

LOTS

4 new listings: 644 Sea Oats Dr $295K, 223 Robinwood Cir $295K, 540 Birdsong Pl $390K, 3354 Barra Cir $425K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 434 Lake Murex Cir listed at $275K.

2 closed sales: 255 Hurricane Ln $310K, 1301 Sand Castle Rd $360K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Marina Villas #901 2/2 $785K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #29 4/4 listed at $2.3M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $839K, 14980 Binder Dr 4/3 now $1.198M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

I’m in the office tomorrow, if you want to list or sell on seis de mayo! Enjoy your weekend, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Traffic, Spaghetti, & Sales, oh my…


TGIFHappy Friday everyone. This week sure has been a mixed bag of weather, traffic, and real estate happenings.

The weather ranged from mostly bright and sunny in the mid-to-high 70’s, to a soggy Wednesday with some much-needed rain. Predictions for the next week are a continuation of this afternoon’s great weather – bright blue skies, lots of sunshine.

The Monday holiday with local schools out resulted in record numbers of on-island day-trippers. By mid-afternoon the back-up coming onto the island was reported to be at a crawl from Shell Point to the 4-way stop. Then, by late day, those visitors all had to go home….so when teammate Elise was ready to head off-island at quitting time, she experienced her new longest-ever journey from the office to the bridges. 1‑1/2 hours from Sanibel Square to Causeway Road (at 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). I was right behind her, also going the “back” way and arriving home on the east-end in just under 1-1/2 hours. Mine was a long, but pleasant 2.9 miles, sun-roof open and happy music playing.

Sanibel realtors logoAt the Thursday Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors’ Caravan Meeting, attendance was light, few sales were announced, and only six properties were open for caravan. What a difference from the preceding week when the room was packed, east-end caravan was full, and lots of price reductions were announced.

We had a reasonable number of showings this week, but not as many as I expected there would be on Presidents’ week. (Maybe the below article posted in yesterday’s Fort Myers “News-Press” provides some insight in that.)

Yesterday, I negotiated an offer on our home listing in Periwinkle Properties, the result of a showing last Saturday. The action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below. Since last Friday, nine Sanibel sales are reported, seven of them homes, and 20 price reductions.

Before the news articles, how about this cute poster that I spotted this morning on Facebook. Prepared by Sanibel Sea School it’s called “20 signs you’re from Sanibel…”

20-signs-from-sanibel

If you are in town, don’t forget the annual Kiwanis Spaghetti dinner tomorrow night (Sat 2/25) at The Community House.

spaghetti-ticketFor more than 30 years, this Sanibel event has brought islanders together with a great meal and for a good cause. All funds directly benefit island youth education and recreation. Tickets are just $9 at the door. Can’t beat the price!

Dinner will be served from 4 to 8 p.m., followed by music, raffle, silent and live auctions, music, and fun. Last year 1,400 dinners were served. This year in the newly renovated Community House, it will be extra special.

Market Watch – Real Estate Amid Uncertainty

News Press logoThe Fort Myers “News-Press” on-line posted the following article Feb 22, 2017. It covers the three presentations this week at the annual local real estate event – The News-Press Market Watch:

“Uncertainty was the word of the day as three real estate experts, backed by facts, shared their reflections and predictions on the market at The News-Press Market Watch. The annual event, this time titled “Real Estate Solutions for Uncertain Times,” was held Wednesday evening at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers.

“Presenters included Randy Thibaut, owner and founder of Land Solutions, who discussed land and new home sales; Denny Grimes, president of Denny Grimes & Company, who focused on existing home sales; and Stan Stouder, founding partner of CRE Consultants, who dealt with commercial real estate.

Randy Thibaut, CEO, Land Solutions Inc. – “Welcome to Uncertainty 2016,” Thibaut said. “That’s the theme of my presentation. That’s where the meat of the market is. That’s what we’re feeling.” Thibaut referred to surveys that show people held differing views of where the market was in 2015 and 2016. Some thought it was in a boom, others in a bubble, but most didn’t know. “No one had a good feeling on where they thought the market was,” he said. Thibaut discussed the luxury high-rise market from south to north, mentioning three projects in south Naples that are selling well.

““For 10 years, there were no towers built,” he said. “There was pent-up demand for buyers who wanted that luxury project. It was clear there was hunger for luxury product in Naples. We think they’ll sell out.”

“Builders are working on luxury projects in Estero/Bonita Springs and Fort Myers Beach as well. Things start to get more uncertain when looking at downtown Fort Myers, he said, where a number of builders are working to pre-sell units. “They’ve been churning along trying to get enough reservations … but it’s been a much slower go than what we’ve seen in Estero and Naples,” he said. “When you start thinking about 550 luxury units that have to be presold, that’s a lot of units. That’s some stiff competition. I hope this all works out.” The brightest downtown project: The Place on First, partly because it will have only 16 residential units, along with office space.

“Who is buying and who is not? “Millennials are not buying,” he said. “Most of them are living in an apartment, but many of them are living in your second bedroom.” In downtown Fort Myers, he sees two buyer groups: baby boomers and buyers in the workforce who lost their homes in the bust. Some of that will likely be driven by higher interest rates expected to come.

““Baby boomers, there’s tons of them,” he said. “They’ve got money. These folks have been sitting on the sidelines for the most part the past 10 years. Their investment portfolios have been going down. They’ve been cautious. They’ve waited long enough. They’re coming in droves, but the difference is they’re going to be spending less money.”

“Thibaut said builders who develop homes in the $250,000-$300,000 range should be in good shape. Buyers in the workforce who lost homes in the downturn have been forced to rent apartments in many cases: “After five, six years they’ve saved money and got their credit back. These buyers want to get into single-family homes. The question is, is the price right?”

“In 2016, he said the pendulum swung to houses. Buyers can pay $1,500 monthly on a $225,000 home mortgage or rent a nice apartment for the same amount. However, he noted that can change if interest rates rise. “These value oriented builders are after those renters,” he said. “They’re chasing that buyer.” Where are the buyers going to find a home in the $250,000 price range? Northeast Naples, north Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres and east Fort Myers and Charlotte County. Babcock Ranch: “We all are hearing about Babcock Ranch. This is a big, long-term project. Let’s stay tuned next year and the following year to see how it does.”

“Threats and challenges in market: “When 25% of the cost of a new house is regulation, that is a big problem.”

Denny Grimes, president, Denny Grimes & Company – ““We can’t always see what’s going on,” Grimes said as he took the stage. As evidence, he pointed to the Chicago Cubs ending their championship drought after more than 100 years and Donald Trump being elected president.

“The median price of existing homes in December was $250,000 in Lee County, $450,000 in Collier County and $195,000 in Charlotte County. Last year was the first time he could recall in which Lee’s top home sale eclipsed Collier’s top sale. A home on Captiva was sold for $16.3 million, beating Collier’s standout of $15.15 million.

“The number of homes sold in 2016 was down in Lee and Collier counties: “…Sales are down 7%.” Sales were down in each part of each county (other than Lehigh, up just slightly), with luxury sales and condo sales also down: “You getting the trend here?” he said. “I’m calling 2015 a peak year, because we are seeing sales drop.”

“Median home prices were up 10% in Lee and 7% in Collier in 2016: “There’s always more to the story.” Still, because of fluctuations, he said prices are basically flat.

“Takeaways: slowing sales plus rising inventory has led to slower price growth: “This is how a rational market is supposed to react. Tell your buyers they can proceed with confidence. No crash. No bubble. It’s fine.”

“Grimes implored agents to take note of the market myth that “season” is the best time to sell: “It kills me to hear that because it’s not true. People, because of the internet can shop year-‘round and they do.”

“Downtown Fort Myers: “The success of downtown is going to be based on condos … downtown has a vibrant yet narrow niche. There is little investment opportunity. There, it’s a user-driven market. Less inventory is better than too much. Bottom line: smaller is better.” “Millennials or baby boomers in downtown? “I’m a boomers fan. We need people living here with money. That fills that need. It grows the market.”

“Grimes, who has lived in the Fort Myers area more than 50 years, talked of the “edge of the canvas theory.” As Edison Mall was once on the edge of town, that’s how Babcock Ranch is perceived today. “Babcock’s going to stretch the canvas,” he said. “It will happen. It will not happen as fast as some hope.” Grimes said there’s investment opportunity in what he called the market’s sweet spot. In Lee, that’s less than $300,000; in Collier, it’s less than $500,000.

“Look forward: “The over-optimistic national headlines will be misleading. Affordability is going to be squeezed. Buy sooner, not later.”

Stan Stouder, founding partner, CRE Consultants – Stouder’s presentation focused on what was, what is and what’s next. “Apartments were pulling the market in 2015, but that segment saw a 86% decline last year in the number of those units permitted. What’s next? “The apartment market will continue to cool.”

“Stouder touched on the “Trump effect” as the country elected Trump president: “I’m experiencing this in my business and not in just some small way.” Business owners, he said, are hopeful that Trump will deliver on campaign promises such as deregulation, tax relief and infrastructure improvements.

“What’s next? “The optimism of the small-business community jumped and more optimism means more spending. It means greater demand for commercial property. We’re finding sellers that are returning to the market that hadn’t been there before.”

“New commercial construction permits in Lee were up 62% in 2016, but the value of those went down 52%. “Why? I can answer that in two words: fewer apartments.”

“Senior housing: at least nine projects are under construction. For example, Campo Felice in downtown Fort Myers is expected to open this summer. It’s about 50% pre-leased. Those behind that project are preparing to do a $45 million sister tower devoted to memory care and medical offices. Another senior housing project called Avida is going up on property near Gladiolus Drive and Summerlin Road. The $95 million project is expected to have 460 units on 32 acres. “Senior housing is to the market of 2016 as apartments were in 2015,” he said.

““Sales of large tracts of land (50 acres and greater) have picked up in the past six months. Why? It’s because so much growth is expected in Florida and because the state is one of only seven without an income tax. What’s next for such land? “Now is the best time since 2006 to sell land.””

Technology Is Changing How Homes Look

ForbesThe below article was posted on Realtor®Mag on Feb 15, 2017. It is sourced to Forbes.com:

“Technology and smart devices are radically transforming the home. As your clients take control over their houses’ systems via voice activation, dash buttons, and other smart-home technology, Forbes.com asked its Technology Council to offer up some of their predictions on how homes will evolve in the near future.

Less clutter. Information can be stored in smaller devices, which means fewer file cabinets and the like. Some owners may even opt for much smaller houses due to this trend, says Chalmers Brown with Due.

Voice-activated interfaces. The voice is expected to drive smart-home technology control over the next five to 10 years. This will make smart homes less complex to operate, says Leon Hounshell with Greenwave Systems.

Smartphones as the central hub. The smartphone likely will become the remote control to manage all elements of a smart home, says Arash Asli with Yocale. This will include everything from lights to appliances to cooling and heating systems to security and more.

No more control panels. Since the smartphone will become a remote control for many elements of the home, expect fewer panels inside the home, such as thermostats, electronic dials like on washing machines or dishwashers, or even light switches, says Andrew Kucheriavy with Intechnic.”

Homeowner Tax Breaks: It’s Not Just The Property

USATodayLOGOTax time always is a good time to remember the tax benefits of home ownership. Posted Tuesday on FloridaRealtors®, this article came from USAToday.com, InvestorPlace.com:

“Owning a property can unlock some of the biggest potential tax breaks most families have access to.

It’s not just the home-related tax breaks you get access to, either, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax expert for TurboTax. “Getting enough qualified expenses can top the standard deduction and push you over into itemizing and allow you to deduct so many other expenses you wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” she said.

Here are five valuable deductions that you may be able to claim:

“Mortgage interest – The interest paid on a home loan is typically the largest potential deduction for middle-class Americans, Greene-Lewis said. For instance, a 30-year mortgage on a $300,000 loan at current rates will run you more than $12,000 in interest payments your first year. If you own a second home, you can also deduct the mortgage interest on that, as long as it isn’t a rental property.

“Points – If you recently purchased a home but paid “points” to the bank in order to get a better rate, that expense is tax deductible in the year you paid them. A point is typically 1% of your loan amount so, on that $300,000 home, you would get a $3,000 tax break for paying down one point. Points on refinance loans and home equity loans are also deductible but must be spread over the life of the loan instead of all in one year’s return, so those are less lucrative but can still add up.

“Energy credits – “If you make expenditures that improve the energy efficiency of your home, you may qualify for a tax credit,” said Neil Krishnaswamy, a certified financial planner at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Frisco, Texas. “These include items like insulation, windows, doors and roofs.” A tax credit is even better than a deduction, because they are dollar-for-dollar savings instead of simply saving you whatever tax you paid. For instance, if you’re in the 28% tax bracket, then a $1,000 deduction lowers your tax bill only $280, while a credit lowers your tax bill by $1,000 regardless of your effective tax rate. There are limits on energy credits depending on what you purchased, but the dollar-for-dollar savings make them very valuable.

Property taxes – State taxes levied on your primary residence are deductible, too, and can add up in a hurry depending on where you live. For instance, the Tax Foundation found, in 2015, that New Jersey residents typically pay almost 2.4% in property taxes – almost twice the national average, and about $7,000 on a $300,000 home. Deducting this big local tax bill can save you a lot on your federal return.

“Casualty losses – If you suffered property damage and weren’t reimbursed by an insurance company for repairs, you may be eligible for a big deduction. Your casualty loss deduction must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, so don’t bother writing off small-time repairs. But if you incur significant expenses repairing your home after an unfortunate event, document everything and tap into this tax break to ease some of the pain.”

Most Significant Change in FAR/BAR Update? Financing Clause

Florida Realtors logoWritten by Marcia Tabak, Deputy General Counsel of Florida Realtors®, and posted on-line at FloridaRealtors® on Monday, this article covers some of the upcoming changes to the Florida sales contracts and is directed toward Realtors®, but it has some good info for sellers too.

“The real estate industry changes, and when it does, the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contract gets updated.

“The next version of the FloridaRealtors/FloridaBar Residential Contract and its As Is companion debuts April 4, 2017. In the meantime, a redline version of the contract changes (additions in blue, deletions in red) is posted on Florida Realtors’ website along with an explanation of the revisions. Some changes are housekeeping tasks. Some require a bit more study, and a future article will focus on those. For now, however, the new version of Paragraph “8(b) Financing” clause deserves your focus. You need to understand what will change.

Changes prompted by lending industry – There are several reasons for the financing change, in part because the lending industry itself has changed. The contract no longer mentions “Loan Commitment,” for example, because the lending industry has largely dropped the term. It’s being replaced by the term “Loan Approval,” and the term “Loan Commitment Period” has become “Loan Approval Period.”

“In addition, the default time for “Loan Approval Period” will also change back to 30 days from 45 days. This change was made because loan approvals are no longer being slowed down by TRID (TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule), the financial regulations that went into effect in the fall of 2015.

“Finally, a requirement in the current version of the contract – “this contract is contingent upon buyer obtaining a written loan commitment,”– has been changed, and the “written” component has been deleted.

Change in philosophy regarding buyer’s right to cancel – In general, many members feel parts of the current financing clause are confusing. In particular, Florida Realtors has received many questions about either party’s right to cancel the contract up to seven days prior to closing when a buyer didn’t timely obtain a loan. The new version of the contract scraps this concept in favor of a new approach. As always, the devil is in the details.

“The new financing clause requires a buyer to promptly notify a seller, in writing, when a Loan Approval is obtained. If a buyer does not obtain Loan Approval within the Loan Approval Period, then the buyer may notify the seller – again, in writing – and elect to either terminate the contract or waive Loan Approval. However, the buyer no longer has a unilateral contractual right to terminate the contract for failure to obtain Loan Approval after the Loan Approval Period.

“Further details: If a buyer doesn’t give the seller any kind of written notification during the Loan Approval Period, new language specifies Loan Approval will be considered obtained. This results in the buyer’s deposit being at risk if he fails to close unless the buyer’s failure is caused by items set out in Paragraph 8 (b)(vii).

There is an exception to the contract going forward if a seller has received no written notification at all – either that a loan has been obtained or the buyer cannot get one. The seller may unilaterally cancel the contract by giving buyer written notice within a three-day period after the buyer’s Loan Approval Period has expired. But if the seller does nothing during the three-day period following the Loan Commitment Period, the seller has no further unilateral opportunity to terminate the contract based on the buyer’s failure to obtain Loan Approval or failure to provide the seller a written notice.

“Other highlights of 8(b) Financing clause changes – If the lender requires that a buyer sell an existing property, this will not be considered Loan Approval.

“When applying for a loan, what is a “diligent effort” on the buyer’s part? New language now specifies this requires the buyer to “timely” provide documents, information, payment of fees and charges per lender requirements.

“An additional clause authorizes the closing agent to share the settlement statement and Closing Disclosure with the seller and real estate brokers. Note, however, that this doesn’t obligate the closing agent to share the documents and it might violate the lender’s closing instructions.

“What if the buyer finds that he can’t secure Loan Approval before the Loan Approval Period expires? This caused some confusion in the past, but no longer. A buyer who has used due diligence but is unable to obtain Loan Approval can notify the seller in writing at any time before the Loan Approval Period ends.

“One clause, 8(b)(vii), about returning deposits when a deal doesn’t close because of a lender’s “financial failure” was removed from the new version.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity February 17-24, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sundial West #C406 1/1 $475K.

7 price changes: Lighthouse Point #211 2/2 now $659K, Pointe Santo #C36 2/2 now $819K, Nutmeg Village #313 2/2 now $1.099M, High Tide #C101 2/2 now $1.145M, Nutmeg Village #100 2/2 now $1.17M, Somerset #E202 3/2.5 now $1.649M, Tigua Cay #487 3/3.5 now $1.695M.

2 new sales: Sundial West #G307 1/1 listed at $424.9K, Villa Sanibel #3D 2/2 listed at $599K.

2 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #181 2/2 $689K, Sundial West #K203 2/2 $859K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 2154 Egret Cir 3/2 $539K, 4221 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 $589K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $599K, 6081 Henderson Rd 3/2 $849.9K, 750 Tarpon Bay Rd 3/2.5 $875K, 935 Pecten Ct 3/2 $999K.

13 price changes: 1602 Serenity Ln 4/2 now $479,999; 770 Donax St 2/2 now $495K; 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex now $519K; 693 Rabbit Rd 3/2 now $579.9K; 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $599K; 1036 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $624.9K; 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 now $679K; 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $689K; 5299 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/3 now $699K; 243 Southwinds Dr 3/2.5 now $865K; 3386 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 now $1.2977M; 687 Anchor Dr 4/3 now $1.695M, 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 now $1,999,999.

7 new sales: 702 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $649.9K, 1252 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $659K, 2010 Sunrise Circle 5/3 listed at $799K (our listing), 1174 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex listed at $1.05M, 918 Lindgren Blvd 3/3.5 listed at $1.199M, 6129 Starling Way 3/2.5 listed at $1.235M, 2143 Starfish Ln 3/3.5 listed at $1.495M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

2 closed sales: 2379 Wulfert Rd $230K, 497 Sea Oats Dr $475K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Marina Villas #908 2/2 $799K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3111 1/1 listed at $259K, Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 listed at $619K.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 $590K.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 1114 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 now $3M, 16979 Captiva Dr 7/6/1 now $3.998M.

2 new sales: 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed at $4.295M, 16560 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 listed at $6.5M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Best wishes for a great weekend! If you are looking to buy or sell on the islands, please call us at 239-472-HOME (4663).

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

or we can keep an “eye” out for the property that meets your needs…

sz6a6927

Photo above by our pal, Scott. Taken some time ago, but still a winner!