Paradise-Style Winter Weather Wonderland


weather 12-28-18As The SanibelSusan Team looks forward to an island New Year, I am happy to report that Christmas week weather here has been wonderful. Today’s forecast says there will be warmer-than-usual days and nights until next week at this time.

Sunset-croppedThat means Sanibel temperatures in the mid- to high-70’s to low-80’s during the day, mid- to high-60’s at night. The weather folks also say that by next Friday, there may be a few showers and another cool-front arriving with lower temps (mid-60’s’ days, mid-50’s nights). Even so, SW Florida winter weather is the best!

Shelling12-21-18 Blind PassWith outstanding shelling still reported as a result of the storms last week, I think there are more shellers than usual on the beaches too. Long-time neighbors say it’s the best shelling in “50 years”. Wow!

There was no Realtor® Caravan yesterday, but the team has been hosting Open Houses hoping to attract buyers. The first heavy “season” traffic has resulted in cars backed up past the office from about 3 p.m. on every day since Christmas. There typically is an influx of day-trippers after holidays with both bike paths and roadways super busy.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. There were no Sanibel/Captiva new sales this week. Though one condo and one home sale were posted in MLS, both were from earlier contracts.

Best wishes from all of us at The Sanibel Susan Team for a Happy New Year!

 

Mud Bugs Cajun Kitchen Now Open

mudbugs logoRestaurant choices on island again expanded recently with the opening of Mudbugs Cajun Kitchen at the former location of Sanibel Steakhouse at 1472 Periwinkle Way (across the street from Bill’s Bikes). The newly-renovated New Orleans-style eatery seats up to 150 people including 18 outdoor seats.

mudbugsServing both lunch and dinner, there are Cajun meals for every palate. Part-owner is long-time island restaurateur Larry Thompson known for his other eateries – the Lazy Flamingos, Sunset Grill, and Sanibel Fresh.

Florida Realtors® News: Top Real Estate Stories Of 2018

2018_Hanging_Decoration_PNG_Clip_Art_ImagePosted on-line at FloridaRealtors® on December 21, 2018: “Hurricanes hit, insurance rates rose, team ad rules got an update, and a real estate market marked by rising prices and tight inventory showed the first potential signs of change.

“Michael throws a boat ashore – On Oct. 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael slammed Florida’s Panhandle as the eye crossed near Mexico Beach. The category 4 storm was the first to target Northwest Florida and will forever impact future planning for the area – building codes, insurance rates and safety – after residents suddenly realized that their area faces just as much risk from deadly storms as the seemingly more vulnerable Florida cities to the south. The day after the storm, Florida Realtors® Disaster Relief Fund started accepting applications for aid and donations from Realtors throughout the state who wanted to help. A short while later, the national association’s Realtors Relief Fund (RRF) announced $400,000 in housing assistance for storm victims. Realtors, association staff, families and neighbors need so much. Any help you can offer is most appreciated.

“Insurance woes, from flood to AOB – The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) needs a major update but Congress keeps kicking the issue down the road. NFIP is deeply in debt but relied on by homeowners who need or want coverage. 2018 ended up where it started without a long-term solution, even though Realtors had a massive Call for Action before an expiration in September. On the property insurance side, coverage keeps getting more expensive, thanks in part to assignment of benefits (AOB) rules. Change is difficult without action by the Florida Legislature, and the problem could get worse as unscrupulous third parties over-charge for their work and then demand reimbursement from insurance companies, which may then pass increased costs on to their policyholders.

“What’s the word I’m looking for? – For some Florida Realtor teams, a Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) rule update may be the biggest story of 2018. While new team ad rule requirements became official last summer, they give teams a full-year to prepare because, for some, it could mean a new name and major overhaul in every advertisement where it appears. FREC then opened the door to changes in individual ad rules, with a specific eye on the size of licensee names compared to broker names. The discussion will continue in 2019.

“Did you feel that? The market shifted – In the years leading up to 2018, a seller’s market dominated most areas of Florida. During the first half of 2018, a tight supply of for-sale homes frustrated buyers as median prices and interest rates moved higher and higher. As a result, buyers started to drop out, more sellers lowered asking prices, and bidding wars thinned out. By the second half of the year, quickly rising home prices became slowly rising home prices. Will all of this lead to a balanced market of buyers and sellers in 2019? Maybe. And when will the normal real estate cycle shift again to a buyers’ market? Stay tuned.

“The ‘higher mortgage rates’ prediction finally came true – For five years, experts’ end-of-year predictions called for higher mortgage rates in the new year – and for five years they’ve been wrong. But that changed in 2018. While rates continue to hover below 5%, which is still historically low, they ended the year about a full percentage point higher than when the year began. In part that’s because the Federal Reserve boosted interest rates four times in 2018 and plans a couple more next year. The Fed’s interest rate increases immediately raise the cost of adjustable-rate mortgages and indirectly put pressure on fixed-rate loans.

“A tip o’ the hat to the cap – Florida voters passed Amendment 2 in November, which made permanent a 10% cap on non-homestead property assessments each year. Florida Realtors advocated strongly for passage and celebrated the win after 66% of voters agreed. A permanent constitutional cap now gives the state’s small businesses some assurance they wouldn’t be priced out of the market on Jan. 1 of each year simply because property values went up.

“Another cut to the business rent tax – Florida businesses will save $31 million dollars each year thanks to the Florida Legislature, which cut the state’s business rent tax again. The new rent-tax rate on commercial leases drops to 5.7% on Jan. 1, 2019. After the final gavel fell on the 2018 session of the Florida Legislature, Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen said that Realtors knew it was going to be a rough session given the state’s tight finances, but “with the help of our members, we managed to keep the momentum going to further reduce the Business Rent Tax.”

“Does a non-Realtor business model have legs? – iBuyers – Opendoor, Offerpad, etc. – purchase homes directly from owners without an MLS or Realtor. Survey after survey finds that buyers and sellers want a trusted advisor to help them through a stressful transaction, but is there a chance iBuyers could eventually take over a significant share of the real estate market? Realtors find it hard to believe, and the data, so far, isn’t impressive. However, Wall Street is heavily backing these new iBuyers: Opendoor alone had raised $325 million by September, and an ATTOM survey found that institutional investors have shown an increasing interest in iBuyer-owned properties. It remains to be seen if these new models will crash and burn like many tech stocks or if they start to take over the business.

“Blockchain could unblock closings – Blockchain technology is often associated with Bitcoin, but as a tool, it essentially takes a complex, multi-user transaction and makes it safer. Instead of the data sitting on a single server that all participants tap into, it replicates the data on everyone’s computer, making it harder for any single participant to fudge the figures. However, this additional safety and spread of data could also cut the paperwork time to closing in half – or more – if every necessary piece of data becomes instantly available to agents, title companies, lenders, etc. While change always takes time, it could lead to a system where a contract signed on Saturday can close by Thursday.

“Builders can’t catch a break – The nation needs more new homes – but the cost for new construction keeps moving higher. There’s not enough vacant land; impact fees (a development charge by local governments to pay for increased city services) are going up; supplies cost more (in part due to Canadian lumber tariffs); there aren’t enough workers – and if there are, they don’t have the necessary skills. New home construction, once seen as the solution to a tight housing inventory, did not appear in 2018 – and it doesn’t seem to be on the horizon for 2019 either.

Environmental Groups Sue Feds Over Lake “O” Discharges

Calusa_Waterkeeper_Logo_1701.pngInteresting read in this week’s “Island Reporter” (dated December 26, 2018):

“Conservation groups on December 19 filed a notice of intent to sue three federal agencies for failing to assess harm to Florida’s endangered species before approving the ongoing release of polluted waters from Lake Okeechobee.

“The suit naming the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service alleges that the discharges likely help drive the catastrophic red tide algae blooms killing Florida’s coastal wildlife.

“The groups specifically challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to extend the discharges through 2015 from the lake into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers….

“The notices give the agencies 60 days to respond ot the claims submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper, and Waterkeeper Alliance…

“According to the release, the Corps updated its plan for managing the discharges in 2008 with the goal of lowering the risk of damage to the Herbert Hoover Dam, which retains the lake. The plan was supposed to be reconfigured within three years to incorporate the impacts of structural improvements to the dike and water quality upgrades projected to come form the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

“”The dike repairs are behind schedule, the Everglades plan has not been completed and toxic algae blooms continue to kill countless marine animals,” the Calusa Waterkeeper release states. “Meanwhile the Corps has opted to simply extend the current water-management plan through 2025 without assessing the harm to protected wildlife and water quality.”

Kick Out Clause or Right of First Refusal?

Florida Realtors logoMore good info from Florida Realtors®, this article by Meredith Caruso. She is Manager of Member Legal Communications, answering calls Florida Realtors® Legal Hotline and she also keeps the Forms Content Committee on track.

“Legal Hotline calls suggest that there’s some confusion over what Right of First Refusal and Kick Out Clause mean, and they’re often used interchangeably. Some calls start with “I’m looking for a Right of First Refusal rider”. Usually, however, this member is actually lookin for the Kick Out Clause rider but is confused over terminology.

What is Right of First Refusal? How does that differ from the Kick Out Clause rider? Here is what you need to know.

Right of First Refusal: In general, a Right of First Refusal is an interest granted to a person or entity to purchase property before another third party can do so. A commonly seen example is a property association’s right of first refusal. Normally recorded within the community’s documents, this right allows the property association to purchase a property before another buyer can.

“In this case, the association has the right to review the contract between a seller and a buyer within a certain timeframe (i.e. 10 days) so the association can decide whether or not to exercise its right to purchase. If the association chooses to do so, it then “stands in the shoes” of the buyer in the contract, meaning that the terms of the contract remain the same, pending renegotiation, and the association can’t make the seller change a term, such as the purchase price.

“Another common scenario that might have a Right of First Refusal is in a landlord/tenant relationship. Some tenants might incorporate a Right of First Refusal into their leases, stating that they have the right to buy the home before another buyer does, should the landlord want to sell that property one day. The Florida Supreme Court-approved leases don’t contain such language, so tenants who may want a right of first refusal in this context should consult their attorney for the appropriate language to add to their lease.

Kick Out Clause: The language in kick-out clauses could vary depending on the contract used, but in the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (FR/Bar), the Kick Out Clause language is in a rider.

“Adding Rider X to the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar contracts clarifies that the seller can continue to show the property and enter into bona fide back-up contracts. Any back-up contract with a third-party is, of course, subject to termination of the primary contract.

“Upon entering into a back-up contract, the seller must share a copy of said contract with the primary contract buyer, though with certain information, like price, redacted.

“This puts the ball in the buyer’s court, and the buyer must make a decision: either place an additional deposit down with the designated escrow agent and, in doing so, waive contingencies for financing and sale of buyer’s property (if any) or don’t place the additional deposit in the timeframe required, thereby terminating the contract. In the case of termination, the buyer would receive any initial deposit back and both parties would be released from further obligations under the contract.

“Once terminated, the seller then notifies that back-up contract buyer that that contract is in primary position.

When might a seller want to use this rider?

“A common use is when the buyer’s offer contains a contingency for the sale of a property the buyer currently owns. A seller may want to counter the buyer’s offer with this rider added to retain the ability to go with an entirely different contract with a subsequent buyer should they choose.

“In sum, a Right of First Refusal is granted to a party via a separate legal document (i.e. a declaration of association or a lease) to purchase property before another third-party. On the other hand, a Kick Out Clause rider to the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar contract gives the seller the potential opportunity to proceed with a back-up contract….”

Question About “As Is” Contract

clip-art-of-contracts-being-signed-clipart-1The following question and answer are from the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of “FloridaRealtor®” magazine under “Talk to An Attorney” Advice from the Florida Realtors® Legal Hotline:

“Question: “The buyer and seller executed a Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase. The buyer submitted a proposed amendment during the Inspection Period, requesting a reduction in the purchase price based on issues revealed during the buyer’s home inspection. The seller is offended by the request and wants to cancel the contract. Does the buyer’s proposed contract amendment give the seller the right to cancel the contract?

“No. After a contract is signed, either side is welcome to propose amendments to the other side. The side receiving the proposed amendment in this case, the seller, is welcome to accept, reject, counter, or even ignore the proposed amendment. If the seller and buyer don’t end up agreeing to this proposed amendment, then the existing contract continues forward on the terms the parties already agreed upon.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 21-28, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Kings Crown #309 2/2 $879K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 listed at $949K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #H309 1/1 $447.9K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 1350 Middle Gulf Dr #2E (Moonshadows) 3/3 half-duplex $895K, 1159 Golden Olive Ct 3/2 $1.495M, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4.5 $1.595M, 2411 Blue Crab Ct 4/3.5 $2.599M.

5 price changes: 1851 Farm Trl 3/2 now $569.9K, 9465 Coventry Ct 3/2 now $625K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $989K, 735 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3 now $1.179M, 430 Glory Cir 4/4.5 now $1.345M.

1 new sale: 1438 Causey Ct 3/2 listed at $895K.

4 closed sales: 1236 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $545K, 4436 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 $675K, 9028 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 $799K, 8991 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $830K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1032 Sand Castle Rd $399,880.

1 price change: 2987 Wulfert Rd now $450K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 595 Piedmont Rd $190K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Lands End Village #1602 3/3 $2.3M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES & 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 coloring book.jpgUntil next week, here’s to the last Friday in 2018!

Happy New Year!

See ya next year!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Rain, Rain Went Away, But Probably Not For Long


It’s Susan with another Friday report from now-sunny Sanibel. This time of the year, it’s hard to know when a shower may surprise us. As they say in Florida during the summer, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” Here’s more info.

The Rainy Season Is Here

sun & rainNo doubt about it this week, the rainy season has begun and we have the mosquitoes to prove it. With serious showers over much of the state this week, the rain has put the Caloosahatchee and the estuary in a good place and given water managers a bit of relief. Local papers are reporting that Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources, James Evans said, “The near-term perspective is very good.”

During the last 18 months, the Caloosahatchee estuary, San Carlos Bay, and the islands’ gulf beaches have seen both ends of the spectrum. From the heavy rains in January 2016, estuaries on both coasts were negatively affected when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released high flows of water from Lake Okeechobee.

Then it stopped raining, Lake O’s water level dropped, and water releases from the lake were less than enough to keep proper salinity in the local estuary. The low flows also have had the effect of excellent water clarity in the bay and beaches evidenced all over social media the last couple of weeks, with photos posted of glistening clear water – better some say than they ever remember seeing it.

Early June West wind beach

As Director Evans recently reported to City Council, “Water clarity is good at this time as a result of the reduced flows,” he said. “With the rain, we will see flows increase and we probably will get more water than we want. Low flows are not great for salinity levels, but they are great for water clarity.”

“When the lake falls to a low level, it becomes a water supply issue,” Evans told City Council. Water releases down the Caloosahatchee River, on this coast, and St. Lucie River, on the Atlantic side, are at the bottom of the release food chain. The water district controls lake releases for agricultural, commercial and residential interests. After those are met, it is decided how much water the Corps of Engineers will allow down the two rivers.

With the lake still low and rainy season just beginning, both the water district and the Corps of Engineers may soon have enough flexibility to take care of all interests, including the estuaries. But this opportunity is rare, which is why it is important to continue to push to establish water storage areas on all sides of Lake Okeechobee. Storage areas would allow water to be held in rainy times and released in dry times.

mosquito-clip-art-mosquito-clipart-6In the meantime, locals are looking forward to tonight when evening flyovers by Lee County Mosquito Control are scheduled.

As posted yesterday on the City’s web site: “If you are experiencing a high number of mosquitoes at your residence, please make a service request by clicking on this link http://www.angwatechnology.com/lee_devel/PublicServiceRequest/ or contact the LCMCD directly at (239) 694-2174.  If the LCMCD receives complaints from a specific area or neighborhood, the District dispatches personnel to conduct a mosquito count and if warranted, will fog or spray the area.

“For additional information regarding mosquito control on Sanibel, please visit the Lee County Mosquito Control District’s website at http://www.lcmcd.com

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayAt the office, in addition to all of us playing post-season catch-up, Dave and I both have been working toward some new sales and checking off the boxes on some contracts that are in the pipeline. The activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a few other news items below.

At the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors

SanCapAssnLogoThough we had no local Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, this week my Communications and Public Relations Committee got the arrangements worked out and Board approval for an Association-sponsored meal-packaging event – as part of our 2017 “Working Together To Make A Difference Campaign.”.

Over the next few weeks, our goals are to raise the $5,000 and get the manpower needed to package 20,000 nourishing healthy meals for donation to those in need.

meals of hope logoTo be held at Sanibel’s Community House on July 28 from 3 to 5 p.m., island Realtors®, business partners, and their families will man the assembly lines where the direction, supplies, and equipment will be provided by Meals of Hope, who then will distribute the meals to local food pantries.

Teammate Elise and I have participated in these meal packaging events before. Not only are they fast-paced and fun, they are a great way to give back. Food needs are especially high in the summer when schools are out, so please let me know if you would like to contribute or participate – or check out other events at www.Meals-of-Hope.org. (All donations are tax deductible.)

How to Keep Hackers Out

emailAn article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” on line on Wed, offered some advice good for not just Realtors®, but the public too.

“The FBI reports that email phishing accounts for 95% of cybersecurity threats. That’s why client communications are a key component of “cyber hygiene,” legal and law enforcement experts said during the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Cybersecurity Conference in Chicago, which focused on threats to the real estate industry.”

The typical advice to employ complicated passwords and change them often isn’t enough to thwart hackers, according to the FBI special agent, who leads a team of cybercrime watchdogs at the agency’s Chicago field office. He also said that email hacking has become so pervasive that cybercrime now ranks as the FBI’s third-highest priority after terrorism and counterintelligence.

A common practice involves cybercriminals hacking into practitioners’ email accounts and sending fraudulent wire-transfer instructions to their clients. That’s why having a strong email password is so important. Longer passwords are suggested—at least 26 characters—and more secure than making them overly complicated with capital letters and symbols.

Frequently changing passwords also isn’t the best prevention against cybersecurity threats. If you use a pattern that’s easy to guess to update your passwords more frequently, it may give hackers an in to breach your email.

Recommended is using a password management system to store passwords; then you can ensure each one meets security standards without worrying about forgetting them.

Shells – Shells – & More Shells

sundial-logoI had lunch Wednesday at Sundial Resort where the huge waves were crashing on the beach – a sight not often seen in the gulf. It certainly wasn’t good beach weather for sunbathers here on vacation, but a prelude to the continued reports of superb shelling this week. Some long-time island shell-aholics dropped in at the office yesterday and described Sanibel shelling over the last couple of days as “superb”.

It’s not just mosquitoes and “green” grass that have resulted from the recent rain storms, the number of Junonia-finders has increased too.

Sanibel-shells-from-storm-windsThere are five different photos this week in the “Island Sun” alone. Some of us have been looking decades for one of those shells. From Lighthouse Beach to Blind Pass to Clam Bayou, reports are there are more perfect empty shells of many varieties rolling in every day.

Good shelling often is the best part about the rainy season.

Upcoming Events – Planning Ahead

Sat, June 17 – Free Admission Day at Sanibel Historical Village & Museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with full guided tour at 10:30 a.m.

4th-of-july-clip-artTues, July 4 – 27th Annual Sanibel Independence Day Parade at 9:30 a.m. Now is the time for entries to sign up. 2017 Parade T-Shirts are available at Bank of the Islands.

Tues July 4 – 38th Annual Road Rally at noon starting/ending at Timbers Restaurant parking lot. More info at http://www.SanCapOptimist.org

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 2-9, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sundial West #F306 1/1 $465K.

2 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 now $479.5K, Coquina Beach #1D 2/2 now $559.9K.

1 new sale: Loggerhead Cay #592 2/2 listed at $629K.

3 closed sales: Sundial East #L401 2/2 $714K, Sanibel Surfside #225 2/2 $750K, Sundial West #K403 2/2 $875K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 9113 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 $649,999; 765 Conch Ct 5/4 $939K.

9 price changes: 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 now $559K, 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 now $569K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex now $599K, 1807 Buckthorn Ln 3/2.5 now $695K, 485 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $1.075M, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 now $1.295M, 750 Periwinkle Way 5/4 now $1.75M, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 now $2.395M, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.727M.

3 new sales: 769 Pyrula 3/2 listed at $599K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $599K, 1032 Lindgren Blvd 3/2.5 listed at $895K.

8 closed sales: 1596 Bunting Ln 2/2 $490K, 1954 Roseate Ln 3/2 $534K, 5308 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $542.5K, 3152 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $635K, 1252 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $659K, 276 Ferry Landing Dr 4/3 $880K, 9019 Mockingbird Dr 4/4 $1.125M, 1757 Venus Dr 4/2.5 $1.74M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 540 East Lake Rd now $169K, 1820 Ardsley Way now $185K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 listed at $315K.

2 closed sales: Beach Villas #2422 1/1 $512K, Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 $590K.

HOMES

No new listings & price changes.

2 new sales: 14980 Binder Dr 4/3 listed at $1.198M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 listed at $6.245M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16950 Captiva Dr $2.7M.

(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.)

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan