Yes, You Can Buy Now… We Are Working & Ready to Help


It is another quiet Friday at SanibelSusan Realty. The islands continue to reopen slowly with the toll booths still unmanned and the causeway islands sometimes packed, particularly on the weekend. (A sure sign that the gulf waters are clear and sparkling, and they are!)
SanibelSusan Realty is one of the few real estate offices physically open, but not much is happening. Yesterday, we got a couple of showing requests for the upcoming weekend/week and there has been some action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System. It is still an excellent time to buy!
The Association of Realtors® office remains closed, but many Realtors® have accepted the FISH Food Challenge and have donated groceries to their food pantry. Nearly 20 have donated just in the last week and the pantry continues to go through the food like crazy. Astounding but not surprising that there are so many hungry folks on the islands, with so many businesses closed, particularly those that cater to vacationers.
Below is an update on re-opening progress, after which is the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System.

Latest City Proclamation Due to the Threat of COVID-19

Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council meeting, scheduled to discuss beach parking and short-term rentals/hotels, turned into a 6+hour event with plenty of public comment and differences of opinions on many items discussed. That meeting resulted in a new City proclamation dated Wednesday. There has been a lot of confusion about the changes, particularly as they apply to vacation rentals, so below, for clarification, are some excerpts from the actual Proclamation No. 20-028  (which may be read in its entirety on www.MySanibel.com).
“…on May 12,2020, the City Council met for a special set public meeting to discuss COVID-19, including consideration of temporary restrictions and prohibitions related to the declared State of Local Emergency; and … City Council voted in support of taking certain actions to reopen the local economy on a gradual basis and consistent with the Governor’s phased approach, including the following:
A. Allowing the current restrictions on accommodations rentals to expire, subject to emplacing a lessened restriction on vacation rentals which closely follows the Governor’s restriction… and allowing new rentals at hotels, motels, and timeshares under restricted occupancy and conditions intended to mitigate any community spread of COVID-19; and
B. Extending certain public beach parking restrictions for an additional duration; and
C. Strongly encouraging the wearing of face masks by employees of places of public accommodations and by all members of the public who cannot properly socially distance; and
D. Raising parking fines to $200, is a result of the significant volume of parking violations particularly in and around beach access points.”
As further clarification, the proclamation says:
SECTION 2. Temporary restrictions on accommodation rentals at hotels, motels, and timeshares. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020, the “public lodging establishments” identified in Attachment A…, which include all 37 “hotels”, “motels”, and “timeshare projects” on Sanibel … are subject to the following temporary restrictions, which shall remain in temporary effect until modified or terminated by written Proclamation of the Mayor or by Resolution of City Council:
A. Occupancy is limited to 50% of the units within the public lodging establishment; and
B. No reservations or check-ins are permitted from anyone that resides in or is travelling from an area identified by the Governor of Florida to be a “hot spot” of substantial community spread of COVID-19, including Louisiana, the New York Tri-State rea (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York), Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Broward County, Florida; and
C. All places of public accommodation are strongly encouraged to follow the guidelines set forth by the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, which can be found under SANCAP SAFE RESOURCES at https://members.canibel-captiva.org/; and
D. Notwithstanding the aforementioned restrictions nothing in this section restricts or otherwise affects the ability of the owner of a rental unit from personally staying at his or her own property.
SECTION 3. Temporary restrictions on accommodations rentals at vacation rentals. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020, the “public lodging establishments” on Sanibel which are “vacation rentals”,… but not including the hotels, motels, and timeshare projects…, are subject to a temporary rental restriction of a minimum duration of 30 days, which shall remain in temporary effect until modified or terminated by written Proclamation of the Mayor or by Resolution of City Council. For the purposes of this section, the rental restriction is application to anyone who is not an owner of the unit. Notwithstanding the aforementioned restriction, nothing in this section affects the ability of the owner of a rental unit from personally staying at his or her own property.
SECTION 4. Paid public beach parking restrictions. The paid public beach parking restrictions currently in place as extended by … which … are due to expire on May 15, 2020 are hereby extended to May 31, 2020 after which such restrictions will expire and public beach parking will reopen.
“SECTION 5. Wearing of face masks. Effective immediately, and until further notice, the wearing of face masks by all employees of retail shops, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation who interact with members of the public, as well as by all people in any public area where social distancing is not feasible or otherwise occurring is strongly encouraged.
SECTION 6. Parking fines. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020 fines for all parking violations are temporarily raised to $200.00…..”
So, in a nutshell, short-term vacation rentals including those in residential communities, condo complexes or resorts, not included on the 37-property list (of hotels, motels, and timeshares) cannot rent for a period of less than 30 days. This is in accordance with the Governor’s phased reopening and more related to how properties are defined by Florida Statute/Florida Department of Revenue classification, than by any desire to penalize rentals which typically are nightly, weekly, or biweekly.
The Proclamation may change as more state and county guidance is provided and new COVID-19 data evolves. The changes/restrictions are emergency measures taken to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the community.
The number of Sanibel’s reported cases remains low at 11, but testing remains limited and the antibody test is not expected here until next week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis Readying Most of State to Enter Phase Two Reopening

An internet posting yesterday said that Jacksonville could host Friday’s official announcement by the Governor. When he addressed reporters in Doral yesterday, he said that a “good announcement” was coming Friday that would apply to most of the state. This announcement came just hours after Tampa Bay Times reporter Lawrence Mower tweeted a Florida Chamber email saying to expect a May 18 entrance into Phase Two. The Governor disclaimed any advance announcement in response to reporters’ questions, claiming to “march to the beat of [his] own drummer.”
In Phase Two, people from vulnerable populations would still be asked to self-isolate, groups of up to 50 would be permitted, albeit with social distancing still in play. Phase Two would also allow increased restaurant capacity, as well as the reopening of gyms, schools, and bars with social distancing and diminished occupancy. The Governor stressed these are modest changes.
Though South Florida may still be on a slower path, the Governor noted that Florida is a “diverse state,” and he won’t “sit here rolling back the entire state if there’s an outbreak in Hialeah.”

Is Real Estate America’s Rock During the Coronavirus Crisis?

This week was the National Association of Realtors® 2020 Legislative Meetings in Washington DC. This annual event usually brings Realtor® leaders from around the nation to the capitol. With COVID-19 interrupting those plans this year, committee meetings and conference sessions were held virtually.
This event also is when Realtors® who have achieved National Hall of Fame status are recognized. That also were done virtually. Congratulations to Florida’s 17 new Hall of Fame members. That boosts our state members in 2019 to 106. I am proud to be one of them. (I know my picture is old… I made the club for the first time in 2016.)
Below is an article written by Shannon McGahn. She is senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of REALTORS®.
“It’s been a rough few months for the economy, and we could all use a little good news.
“For America’s 81 million homeowners, here is some: While retirement accounts and the stock market may have cratered, home values are hanging tough.
“The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was up 8% from March 2019 as prices increased in every region.
“And with a proper recovery and the right policies, there is a great chance that home values will remain fairly stable even as home sales temporarily fall while Americans shelter-in-place.
“The pandemic also hasn’t stopped real estate transactions outright like in many other sectors. A recent survey of NAR members found that one-quarter of REALTORS® had at least one client go under contract during the second week of April without physically seeing the property. Deals are proceeding with the growing use of new technology like remote notarization.
“Even those pausing their real estate transactions still plan to buy and sell once again within a few months.
“What’s more, NAR research unveiled earlier this year found that, since 2013, the median family net worth for all homeowners has increased by nearly 15%.
“Data from the study strongly suggests that “sustainable and affordable homeownership” remains the best opportunity “most households will ever have to improve their long-term net worth and financial security.”
“Property ownership is turning into a financial rock for many Americans during this crisis, and Congress has gone to great strides to help protect that investment.
“For those who can no longer pay their mortgage, new forbearance rules allow them to put off payments for up to a year without impacting their credit.
“Helping people struggling with rent and mortgage payments is a good thing, but we also do not want to spur another crisis down the line for property managers and owners who do not have relief from their obligations. Policymakers should take a comprehensive look and beware of unintended consequences.
“For REALTORS® who have seen a dramatic drop in their business (right as the crucial spring buying season arrived), new benefits like forgivable small business loans and unemployment assistance not normally available to the self-employed or independent contractors are helping them weather the storm.
“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) fund were created so quickly that banks had a hard time keeping up with demand. Money ran out for the PPP in two weeks, and another round of replenishment sped through the legislative process. PPP and EIDL grants got billions more in funding and will help keep millions more employed. Congress deserves credit for responding in a bipartisan and lightning-fast way even if the rollout of those programs was less than perfect.
“We’ve heard from many REALTORS® around the country who have secured PPP loans and saved scores of jobs. People like Anthony Lamacchia of Waltham, Mass., who reports he can now keep all 47 of his employees on the payroll.
“The strength of the housing sector will be critical to our national recovery. After all, the real estate industry makes up nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and every two houses sold creates one American job.
“America has been experiencing a housing shortage for years as demand for homes has consistently outpaced supply in most major U.S. markets. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has stated his expectation that, once we get through the worst of this crisis, housing demand will reemerge quickly. Our economic recovery won’t be a slow-build like what followed the 2008 financial crisis.
“America’s financial and lending systems look vastly different today than they did before the Great Recession shook America’s economic core. Changes to strengthen lending standards and eliminate loose credit have pushed default and foreclosure rates toward record lows.
“It has never been more clear that property ownership is still one of the best and safest investments an American family can make.
“Economic downturns and public health crises—no matter how severe—will never change this fundamental fact.
“But what has become even more apparent is that during this crisis, home has become more important than ever.
If Congress continues to be a champion of the American people and protect homeownership, by all indicators, real estate can and will help get our economy going again.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 8-15, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS
3 new listings: Island Beach Club #320B 2/2 $685K, Pointe Santo #D24 2/2 $720K, Kings Crown #306 2/2 $868.5K.
5 price changes: Colonnades #3 1/1 now $265K, Sanibel Arms #D7 1/1 now $357.9K, Blind Pass #B209 2/2 now $479K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 now $539K, Tantara #203 3/2 now $1.095M.
1 new sale: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-3 3/3 listed at $914.5K.
3 closed sales: Sundial #D310 1/1 $372K, Sundial #B308 1/1 $505K, High Tide #A101 2/2 $1.075M.
HOMES
1 new listing: 2154 Starfish Ln 3/3 $1.495M.
3 price changes: 566 Boulder Dr 3/2 now $689.9K, 1021 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $694.5K, 215 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $839K.
4 new sales: 1677 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/1.5 listed at $399.9K, 857 Rabbit Rd 1/1 listed at $489K, 2065 Wild Lime Dr 3/2.5 listed at $599K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $659K.
1 closed sale: 1898 Woodring Rd 2/2 $1.7M.
LOTS
1 new listing: 690 Birdie View Pt $369K.
1 price change: 1313 Par View Dr now $300K.
1 new sale: 1226 Isabel Dr listed at $1.239M.
No closed sales.
Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
1 price change: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2.5 now $1.425M.
1 new sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #1B 2/2 listed at $889K.
No closed sales.
HOMES
1 new listing: 15138 Wiles Dr 6/5.5 $6.495M.
1 price change: 15200 Captiva Dr 2/2 now $988K.
2 new sales: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 listed at $2.695M, 16221/16217 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 listed at $4.389M.
No closed sales.
LOTS
No new listings, 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.
Below is our “Island Sun” ad from today’s paper.
Enjoy your weekend!
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s The Little Things… Staying Positive on Sanibel Island


It’s lonely in the office again this afternoon. Yesterday, teammate Dave stopped by the back door briefly when he was on the island doing a couple of real estate errands. First time I’d seen him in almost a month and hardly recognized the scruffy bearded guy. (Smart boy didn’t mention my ugly hair.)

Real estate is considered an essential business, so I’m in the office a few hours here and there, though our office remains physically closed. Mostly, the team is working at home as we can, using social distancing.

Yesterday also brought my first home delivery grocery order from Bailey’s. It was like a kid at Christmas, amazing what becomes exciting when we are stuck at home.

I’ve even enjoyed admiring the gardenia bush by my front door which I’m sure has bloomed year-after-year, but this time of the year, life usually is too busy to notice. So, as inconvenient as this is, it’s been wonderful to “stop and smell the gardenias.”

Also, yesterday, a friend dropped a homemade gift in my mailbox. See photo – how special is this? The sweet message that accompanied the gift: “And then the whole world walked inside. Shut their doors & said “We will stop it all – EVERYTHING – to protect our weaker ones, our sicker ones, our older ones.” And nothing – NOTHING – in the history of mankind ever felt more like LOVE than this.”

So, as we all work our way through a special, but unusual week of Passover, Easter, and spring – I hope you all are safe, well, and part of the crowd that individually is flattening the curve.

As far as number of virus cases here – as of 10 a.m. today, April 10, the Florida Department of Health reports that Sanibel has 6 and Captiva 1.

Who knows what one can really believe from the news these days, but it seems to be a consensus that the peak here will be in about two weeks. Local schools remain closed until May 1 and last night the news included information on how a virtual graduation will happen at Florida Gulf Coast University on May 3.

Through the week, I have been in touch with our local banks and title company where loans and closings continue to occur. Some are working from home, thank goodness today’s technology makes things easier.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 3-10, 2020

Since a few listings have been withdrawn or terminated early, below from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service is a summary of the islands’ condo, home, and lot inventory today, compared to units under contract, sales year-to-date, compared to the same period last year, and total sales in 2019.

As the table shows, our market was improving nicely before this happened.

Condos Homes Lots
# Avg $ # Avg $ # Avg $
Sanibel
For sale 120 790,000 185 1,320,474 76 724,707
Under contract 17 890,617 34 1,029,244 1 2,600,000
Sold 1/1-4/10/20 52 718,195 67 1,119,889 4 849,666
Sold 1/1-4/10/19 39 638,608 46 1,086,050 2 250,000
Total Sold in 2019 127 694,392 211 949,790 15 372,200
Captiva
For sale 46 1,059,692 46 3,309,217 3 3,563,000
Under contract 2 1,150,000 1 2,495,000 0 N/A
Sold 1/1-4/10/20 7 917,714 7 3,331,142 2 1,925,000
Sold 1/1-4/10-19 7 1,292,571 1 2,800,000 0 N/A
Total Sold in 2019 29 1,037,077 17 2,737,503 1 1,375,000

Note: For sale & Under contract = asking prices.

Below, also from the MLS, is the action posted since last Friday. The most activity this week was Sanibel closings, likely from contracts written before the shutdown. There was no activity at all (new listings, price changes, new or closed sales) on Captiva.

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Captains Walk #B3 1/1 $219.9K.

2 new sales: Kings Crown #110 2/2 asking $795K, High Tide #A101 2/2 asking $1.295M.

5 closed sales: Sandpebble #2F 2/2 $425K, Sundial #D205 1/1 $435K, Coquina Beach #5A 2/2 $450K; Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 $550K, Sundial #L404 2/2 $1.2M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1430 Sanderling Cir 4/3.5 $999K

4 price changes: 2065 Wild Lime Dr 3/2.5 now $599K, 433 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $569K, 1978 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $725K, 1271 Par View Dr 3/3 now $899K,

No new sales.

7 closed sales: 1607 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 1/2 duplex $530K; 5297 Punta Caloosa Ct 3/2 $610K, 1410 Albatross Rd 3/3 $745K; 822 Beach Rd 4/4 duplex $775K; 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 $794,208; 599 Lake Murex Cir 4/3.5 $1.225M; 4709 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $2.952M.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 1331 Par View Dr $340K.

Captiva

CONDOS, HOMES, & LOTS

No new listings, 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.

Looking forward, SanibelSusan’s crystal ball says “everything’s gonna be alright”. I bet when this is over, many will want a peaceful vacation, with Sanibel/Captiva preferred over international or cruise travel.

Here’s our ad from today’s issue of the “Island Sun”.

Happy Easter!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

P.S. The Easter bunny may be lost, but look at this little guy munching what’s left of my side lawn last night. The Sanibel bunnies have returned & I love them even if they do a number on any new green shoots.

Washing Hands & Taking Time to Smell the Gardenia


SanibelSusan is operating solo again today. The team and I are following recommendations about staying at home with only occasional exceptions. I haven’t seen their smiling faces in what seems like forever, but thanks to texting and social media, we stay in touch.

Saturday, I made my weekly trip to Bailey’s for groceries. It was heartwarming to see their workers smiling and shelves stocked. Richard Johnson himself was filling the paper goods aisle and handed me a container of Tropical Seas Hand Sanitizer. Said he’d just gotten it in from the other coast. (It’s from Ormond Beach – antibacterial, biodegradable, non-toxic to sea life, and smells wonderful. www.tropicalseas.com.)

Tuesday, right on time, teammate Dave had a closing at Knight Barry Title for a Gulf Harbour condo listing. Heidi at Knight Barry said their office had some busy days with end-of-the-month closings. They also have received a couple of orders for new contracts (encouraging news). I got a chuckle when she said that Jackie did one closing on the hood of a car in their parking lot – keeping socially distanced.

I just made a quick trip to West Gulf Dr to check our listing at Tarpon Beach #207. It really is a shame that the island is closed. Look at how beautiful the gulf is!

A couple of news items below cover how the island is responding to the coronavirus and how FloridaRealtors® has advised its members. After that is the weekly action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Protecting Islanders

Below is the WinkNews.com posting last night from their interview with Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane:

Sanibel mayor talks about how they are protecting island residents

“It’s already quieter on Sanibel. The beaches are closed and you can no longer rent a room at a hotel.

“We asked Mayor Kevin Ruane how else they could be protecting full-time residents and if they would go as far as closing the only way on and off the island. “We’re not opposed to going to a hurricane pass situation like we had during the hurricane,” he said. “Without the pass, you can’t come out on the island.”

“When it came to police being used to stop non-residents from entering the island, Ruane said they’re not looking at that as an option right now. “But certainly, that’s not necessarily something that’s not going to be on the table or under consideration in the future,” he added.

“Ruane says since the average age of full-time residents is 67, he’s trying to educate everyone on how to stay safe. “We’re trying to embrace social distancing or educating our community, working with our local grocery stores, making sure they have the necessary tools, putting x’s on the bottom of their floors when you keep six feet apart. Again, we’re trying to be as proactive as we can. I’ve said to my senior citizens, stay home,” he said.

“So far, he says the three people diagnosed with COVID-19 on the island are doing okay and want to make sure the message of “stay home if you can” really sticks.

“The mayor says they also had to furlough 47 part-time employees and hope to eventually bring them all back.

“For Sanibel’s COVID-19 updates, click here.

Latest Info on Coronavirus for Realtors® in Florida

Below are some excerpts from an article posted today (Apr 3, 2020) at FloridaRealtors® on-line:

“Florida Realtors is monitoring everything regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the real estate industry and Realtors and sharing it here.

Florida stay-at-home order:  Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order calling for all Floridians to stay home except to obtain essential services. This order is effective at midnight April 2 and lasts 30 days. Per the order, residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, are considered essential. Although members may continue to operate, they are not required to do so. A second executive order clarified that the stay-at-home order “shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19.”

Suspension of vacation rentals: In an effort to discourage visitors to the state who may be carrying the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a two-week suspension of new vacation rentals (30 days or 1 calendar month, whichever is less). The order does not apply to current occupants of vacation rentals. The Executive Order can be found here.

COVID-19 extension addendum to contract: Florida Realtors released a new contract extension addendum that allows for time periods and dates to be extended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and contract performance: The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly unprecedented, but is it considered, legally speaking, an “act of God”? Here’s a look at how a court may rule on real estate disputes that arise from transactions during this time. The white paper can also be downloaded as a PDF here.

Remote notaries: On Jan. 1, authorization for remote notarizations became law, meaning buyers and sellers no longer have to be in the same room. Here’s what you need to know.

Open houses: All Realtors are encouraged to follow NAR’s guidance regarding Open Houses found here.

CDC business safety strategies: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance for businesses and employers here.

“NAR guides for Realtors and Realtor Associations: The National Association of Realtors has posted a guide for Realtors in relation to COVID-19 and a guide for Realtor Associations in relation to COVID-19.

Travel guidance: Here is specific information from the CDC regarding travel.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 27 – April 3, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Coquina Beach #5B 2/2 $449K, Sundial #D403 1/1 $529K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: High Tide #A101 2/2 asking $1.295M.

3 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 $475K, Pointe Santo #C2 2/2 $757.5K, Sundial #K103 2/2 $823K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1361 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $535K.

3 price changes: 433 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $569K, 1285 Par View 4/2.5 now $799K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $889K.

No new sales.

7 closed sales: 965 Beach Rd 3/2 $447K; 1458 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 $465K; 1607 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $530K; 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 $794,208; 1333 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $975K; 3358 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 $995K; 4143 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 $4.55M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 486 Ponce De Leon Rd now $219K; 1219 Par View Dr now $284,999.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15146 Wiles Dr 2/2 $2.389M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16151 & 16155 Captiva Dr $3M.

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 Associations.

Until next Friday, stay well, wash those hands, & continue to take the time to smell the roses (at my house now, it’s the gardenias – they are just starting to bloom & smell so good),

If you get too bored give me a call, taking about real estate is way more fun than commiserating about the virus.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Just Another Happy Friday at SanibelSusan Realty


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that it is great to be back from Orlando to the warmth of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. How spoiled one becomes, especially in the winter, living in this tropical paradise. Like in past years, the Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings ended with an uptick in real estate action at home.

With the arrival of February visitors this weekend, there is expected to be a big turnover tomorrow of not just vacation condos but also Sanibel seasonal-rental homes. Rental managers and hotels report few, if any vacancies, next month, so we also expect busy weeks ahead. A report of all that happened this week in the islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

Lee County County Commissioner Approve Funding for Santiva Beach Erosion Project

At its January 21 Lee County Board of County Commissioners meeting, following recommendation from the Lee County Tourist Development Council, commissioners voted to approve funds for the entire cost of Sanibel’s emergency shore protection project along the north end of Sanibel-Captiva Road. The nearly $1.4 million funding request will use money from Tourist Development Tax reserve funds to protect against continued erosion south of Blind Pass in a critical erosion area.

Temporary protective measures were approved by Sanibel City Council in December and already are in place and working. This new permanent project went out for bid in early January, with this work expected to begin in early March and be completed by the start of turtle nesting season, May 1.

Two Florida Destinations Were Named on the 50 Most Beautiful Places in The World List

Posted on January 28 on www.OnlyInYourState.com in an article by Marisa Roman:

“Florida sure does have some breathtaking natural beauty. While it’s true that many visitors to Florida come for the magic of Orlando, or the sunny beaches of Miami, there are a few other hidden pockets of beauty that are a must-see. Recently, U.S. News Travel revealed their list of the 50 Most Beautiful Places In The World, and it’s no surprise that Florida has not one, but TWO islands that made the cut.

“According to U.S. News Travel, both Sanibel Island and Captiva Island made the list as two of the 50 most beautiful places in the world, and we couldn’t agree more. The two stunning islands are right off the coast of Florida but taking a trip to these gems can end up being the perfect tropical vacation.

“Together, Sanibel and Captiva have around 15 miles of stunning sandy beaches, plus there are no stoplights which makes any visit feel more like a secluded paradise. There are so many different ways to enjoy these islands, from collecting seashells to snorkeling to walking the shoreline with family. Sanibel Island is known for having the best seashell beach in America, with a variety of seashells in all different shapes, sizes, and color.

While Captiva has been known to have some crisp, clear views of the Milky Way from time-to-time.

“While the two islands in Florida may look like they are one giant area, each island has its own set of restaurants, beaches, and activities to partake in. But regardless of which island you choose to visit, you are likely going to get stunning sunsets and tropical vibes no matter what. Visit Sanibel Island & Captiva Island in Florida and see for yourself why they made the list for most beautiful places in the world.

“Have you ever been to either of these islands in Florida before? Share with us your experience in the comments section! Or if you’re looking for more reason as to why Sanibel Island is an absolute must-visit, then check out why it’s the best place in America to hunt for seashells.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service

Though attendance was average at the Association’s weekly caravan meeting yesterday, only a few new sales were announced. Earlier in the week, our MLS Director posted the below graphics of the islands’ 4th quarter 2019 sales statistics.

Island inventory today is plentiful. On Sanibel, there are more condos for sale than sold last year and about a year’s worth of home inventory. Though build-out is looming, there are 75 residential lots for sale on Sanibel, compared to 15 sales last year.

On Captiva, 40 condos, 43 homes, and 5 lots are for sale. Those numbers compare to 29 condos, 17 homes, and just 1 lot sold in all of 2019.

So, for prudent buyers there are plenty of choices. Our hope is that election year politics and water quality worries don’t prevent winter prospects from purchasing. Today, the water remains beautiful with no red tide reported anywhere in Florida. (Photo below taken yesterday (January 30, 2020) by Jim Szabo with SanCap Aerial Photography.)

Some ‘Luxury’ Home Features Becoming ‘Standard’

Posted this week on-line at FloridaRealtors®:

“Builders say some the home elements that were considered upgrades only a few years ago are a standard element of most new home construction today – items such as laundry rooms, walk-in master closets and low-emissivity (low-e) windows.

“LAS VEGAS – First-time and repeat buyers say they’d rather have a smaller home with high-quality amenities than a bigger property with fewer such features, according to a survey the National Association of Home Builders released during the International Builders’ Show last week in Las Vegas.

“NAHB’s report, titled “What Home Buyers Really Want,” identified the following features as being most desired by both segments of buyers.

  • Laundry rooms
  • Energy Star–rated windows
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Patios
  • Ceiling fans
  • Kitchen double sink

“Builders report that designers are including flexible spaces that add greater functionality to laundry rooms. They’re also creating more outdoor spaces to seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor living. The survey also uncovered the most likely features that single-family homebuilders say is becoming standard in most new homes built today, including

  • walk-in master closets
  • low-emissivity (low-e) window
  • laundry rooms

“Builders say they’re also more likely to add energy efficient features, such as lighting, programmable thermostats and Energy Star-rated appliances.

“The open design concept, along with great rooms and 9-plus-foot ceilings on the first floor, is also becoming common in newly built homes, the survey finds.”

Source: National Association of Home Builders

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 24-31, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #A3 2/2 $548.5K, Sanibel Arms West #H6 2/2 $549K, Sanibel Arms West #B4 2/2 $559K, Lighthouse Point #111 2/2 $645K, Pointe Santo #C2 2/2 $765K, Gulfside Place #214 2/2 $1.32M, High Tide #B302 3/2 $2.495M.

7 price changes: Spanish Cay #F8 2/2 now $379K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 now $548.5K, Loggerhead Cay #324 2/2 now $569K, Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 now $570K, Compass Point #222 2/2 now $669K, Island Beach Club #220B 2/2 now $700K, Sundial #K402 2/2 now $1.1699M.

4 new sales: Mariner Pointe #731 2/2 listed at $539K (our buyer), Lighthouse Point #114 3/2 listed at $679K, Signal Inn #18 3/2 listed at $1.175M, La Playa #B1 3/2 listed at $1.299M.

2 closed sales: Sundial #C204 1/1 $460K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #2-5 2/2.5 $683K.

HOMES

9 new listings: 499 Peachtree Rd 2/2 $474K, 970 Palm St 3/2 $569K, 500 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $759.9K, 9421 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $799K, 1199 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $999K, 9019 Mockingbird Dr 4/4 $1.325M, 3851 Coquina Dr 3/2.5 $1.389M, 769 Pyrula Ave 3/3.5 $1.395M, 418 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.195M.

13 price changes: 9195 Dimmick Dr 2/2 now $419K, 1356 Jamaica Dr 2/1.5 now $549K, 730 Cardium St 2/2 now $564K, 743 Windlass Way 3/2 now $599K, 433 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $599K, 1717 Sand Pebble way 3/2 now $619K, 1978 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $732.5K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 4/3 now $799K, 1285 Par View Dr 4/2.5 now $849.5K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $975K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $997.5K, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 now $1.995M (our listing), 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 now $2.749M.

Mama & baby dolphin in the canal at 842 Limpet Dr

8 new sales: 5745 Pine Tree Dr 2/1 listed at $498K, 1925 Roseate Ln 2/2 listed at $639K, 5672 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 listed at $715K, 335 Cowry Ct 4/3.5 listed at $799.9K, 1056 S.Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed at $879K, 911 S.Yachtsman Dr 3/3 listed at $1.195M, 2857 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed at $1.199M, 3757 West Gulf Dr 4/4 listed at $6.499M.

2 closed sales: 1611 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $469K, 982 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 $1M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 9042 Mockingbird Dr $395K.

1 price change: 2372 Wulfert Rd now $148K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 2510 Coconut Dr $668,666.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Tennis Villas #3119 1/1 now $294K, Lands End Village #1667 2/2 now $1.184M, Beach Homes #25 3/2 now $1.995M.

1 new sale: Beach Cottages #1404 2/2 listed at $1.245M.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 $630K.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 41 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $998K, 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 now $2.189M, 1124 Longifolia Ct 4/5 now $2.988M.

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.

Until next Friday, may your Superbowl favorite be a winner, & your February bright!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

September Weather Arrives on the Islands


It’s time for another SanibelSusan Friday update about Sanibel and Captiva Islands. It was a surprise on Tuesday afternoon when Sanibel’s electric service went out.

According to Lee County Electric Coop (LCEC), the outage was caused when an antenna atop a sailboat mast hit the main power line coming to the island. Thank you, LCEC for getting it back up and running in just an hour. With 90+degree temperatures that day, islanders did not want to be without AC for long. Most summers, there are a few minor outages, but this year, there have only been a handful.

Today’s surprise was a noticeable change in the weather. Local forecasters are joking that it is because fall begins on Monday. Little, if any, rain is expected in the upcoming week. With low humidity, temperatures today are expected to only hit 87 degrees F. That is a welcome change. It has been in the low 90’s for weeks.

On Monday, nighttime temperatures are expected to go down into the high 60’s/low 70’s. It has been many months since it has been that cool. Late September usually equates to snowbirds on the move. The SanibelSusan Team hopes that means more sales will follow.

September Island Updates

There is always a flurry of activity just before the snowbirds get back. Here are some changes that I noticed during my travels this week.

Casa Ybel Resort – The new entrance is almost done at Casa Ybel Resort. It was damaged two years ago during Hurricane Irma when their huge specimen tree on the bridge going into the resort came down. Over the last few weeks, landscaping crews have been there working on a new design. This week their new sign went up, work on the bridge and roadway completed, and the new landscaping went in. The design includes stonework with waterfalls now framing the entrance and many tropical plants and palms. What a special welcome it creates!

 

 

 

Dairy Queen – Has been closed and cordoned off with construction tape all week. No word on when it is reopening.

Mariner Pointe – Has a new fresh white sign at their entrance. It must be a temporary one, since their street number actually is “760”.

Saint Kilda – Community is getting water main replacement according to Island Water’s Fall 2019 “IWA Pipeline”. The project is upgrading the original developer-installed water main with higher strength pipe and new fire hydrants. Periodic IWA project updates may be found on their website www.IslandWater.com under “Latest Capital Project”.

SCCF Nature Center Closed for Renovations – The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation Nature Center is closed for educational programs until further notice due to ongoing interior renovations. The administrative offices remain open for meetings and other business activities. The trails behind the Nature Center at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd., also will stay open for visitors. While renovations are underway, SCCF events and educational programs will be held at the Bailey Homestead Preserve.” Detailed information about the open trails at SCCF’s six public preserves may be found at http://www.sccf.org/preserves. SCCF’s Native Landscape and Garden Center is maintaining its regular retail schedule at the Bailey Homestead Preserve, 1300 Periwinkle Way. Call 239-472-1932 for additional information about the Garden Center’s operating hours and upcoming programs.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® September Membership Meeting

In addition to the phones, roadways, beaches, and shops being super quiet, the local Association of Realtors® monthly membership breakfast yesterday, was lightly attended. Before the property announcements, attendees heard from the four candidates running for our three board vacancies. The election results will be announced at our annual meeting in October. Good luck to Realtors Greg Demaras, Pfeifer Realty Group; Mike McMurray, Royal Shell Real Estate; Liz Podolsky, McCallion & McCallion Realty; and Janka Varmuza, VIP Realty Group.

Meeting speaker was Angela Melvin, founder and CEO of Valerie’s House. Angela like her family before her, grew up in Fort Myers. Her mother, Valerie, died in a car accident in 1987 when Angela was just 10 years old, sparking her passion to find a place that could help children in similar situations. After college and working as a broadcast journalist around the country and then a Communications Director on Capitol Hill, Angela spent several years working for and sitting on boards for various non-profits including the Wendt Center for Grief and Loss in Washington, DC. She returned to Fort Myers in 2013 and shortly after, founded Valerie’s House.

Valerie’s House is the first and only organization in Southwest Florida with its sole mission to help children grieve the loss of a loved one. With locations now in Fort Myers, Naples, and Punta Gorda, Valerie’s House is a place where children connect with one another and learn the tools to heal after they have experienced the death of someone they love. At Valerie’s House, children know others their own age, and they learn that loss doesn’t have to limit their dreams. In addition to a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, Valerie’s House is a family of others grieving. More info at http://www.ValeriesHouseSWFL.org.

Upcoming Event Reminders

International Coastal Cleanup is tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 21, from 9 a.m. until noon. Thirteen clean-up locations will participate throughout Lee County. The island Realtors® team will be working on Causeway Island B. Last year, the cleanup attracted 1,546 volunteers who removed 3,358 pounds of litter and debris from waterways. To participate, please register at www.klcb.org/coastal-cleanup.html

USTA Southwest Florida Clay Court Championships for the 4th year will be at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, September 27-29. Age Divisions: Open, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, singles & doubles. Registration deadline is Sep 25 at www.USTA.com using tournament ID 150046619.

Farmers Markets are beginning soon. Local Roots has updated their website with the market start dates. Wondering which is open when? Here’s a quick summary.

  • Sundays on Sanibel – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Oct 6 to May 31 (including Easter Sunday) on the grounds of Sanibel City Hall. This will be the 12th season for the Sanibel market. It has something for everyone: fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, honey, meats, cut flowers, prepared meals, mini-donuts, cupcakes, bagels, guacamole, pickles, cheeses, baked goods, native plants, artisan foods, local crafts, organics, and more. Shoppers are encouraged to bring dry and canned foods to the market booth. They are donated each week to F.I.S.H., the islands’ food pantry. The market is a plastic-straw-free zone, is a non-smoking area, and only service dogs are allowed in the vendor areas. New to the market this season, vendors will not use single-use plastic bags. Reasonably price reusable bags are for sale at the market booth or bring your own. Follow the signs for parking. All handicap parking is at City Hall. For more information on this and other SWFL Farmers Markets, go to BuyLocalLee.com
  • Mondays at Fenway South – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Jan 6 to Mar 30 at Jet Blue Stadium
  • Tuesdays on Captiva – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Nov 5 to Apr 28 at South Seas Island Resort
  • Wednesdays at Lakes Park – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Oct 2 to Apr 29 at Lakes Regional Park
  • Thursdays at Coconut Point – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Oct 3 to Apr 30 at Coconut Point Mall
  • Thursdays at River District – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-‘round at Centennial Park
  • Fridays at Boca Grande Farm & Fish Market – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Dec 20 to Apr 24 at Wheeler Rd ball field
  • Fridays at Sanibel Outlets – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Dec 13 to Mar 27 at Sanibel Outlets
  • Saturdays in Bonita Springs – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. from Oct 5 to Apr 25 at The Promenade

Seems like yesterday when Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura started Local Roots and organized their first market in the parking lot at Tahitian Gardens shopping center. Talk about success! What wonderful contributions they have made to us living in Southwest Florida. Did I mention, they are summer pickleball stars too!

Island Beaches & Red-Drift Algae

As much as social media today keeps us connected, I swear sometimes it is our own worst enemy. There were so many differing reports about beach conditions following Hurricane Dorian and so many local reporters only talking about the bad stuff (ugh), that I did stops at a few beaches yesterday as I was on my real estate rounds. East-end and mid-island beaches were beautiful. This morning, I stopped at the bayside beach at the end of Bailey Road and it likewise is clear and breezy. Some of my photos below.

Beach at the Donax Street access on 9/19/19

Overlooking Sand Carlos Bay at the end of Bailey Rd on 9/20/19

To clear up misconception and confirm conditions often change, below is the report posted online yesterday by the City.

Large Sections of Sanibel Beaches Currently in Excellent to Very Good Conditions

Frank Spinuzza. 09/19/2019 05:58 pm

Spot Locations Remain Dynamic & Ephemeral

Update on Algae Pilot Project

At this time large stretches of Sanibel beaches are in excellent to very good conditions.  Algae deposits continue to be dynamic and ephemeral, likely driven by wind conditions, currents, tides, and/or other factors.

Residents & visitors are reminded that paid beach parking meter receipts are not restricted to the beach parking lot in which purchased.  Paid, unexpired beach parking is transferrable to any other of the other City of Sanibel’s public beach parking lots.

Status of In-water Algae Removal Pilot Project:

City staff is currently compiling the results of the in-water algae removal pilot project conducted on Tuesday 9/10/19. The project, authorized for 4 days, was discontinued after 1 day due to insufficient algae at both permitted locations. Equipment remains staged on-island in the event conditions at one of the two currently permitted locations (Lighthouse Beach Park & Gulfside City Park) as warranted and are suitable to continue the pilot.

Results will be presented to City Council at a future meeting as well as the upcoming Tourism Development Commission meeting for reimbursement.

We are presently experiencing very dynamic changes to our beaches based upon changing wind directions, even the course of the same day, conditions earlier today were observed as:

  • Excellent conditions with little to no algae deposits are present at Sanibel’s east end beaches from Lighthouse Beach Park to Gulfside City Park and at Blind Pass Beach Park on Sanibel’s west end.
  • Light to moderate deposits are present Beach Accesses 1, 2,5 & 7 on West Gulf Drive.
  • Moderate to heavy deposits are present at Tarpon Bay Beach, Bowman’s Beach and Turner Beach (Captiva).

Even at locations with heavier algae deposits, little to no odor is currently present.

While shorebird nesting season is officially complete, numerous shorebirds are present and actively foraging in algae deposits.  Seabirds and wading birds are also present.

Sea turtle nesting season continues through Oct 31st.  As of 9/15/19, 60 active nests remain.

Numerous baitfish were observed at several locations…

(The City report contains photos taken from various island locations, check them out at www.MySanibel.com. The City’s 9/19 report ends with the below info.)

“Florida Department of Health–Healthy Beaches Program

The Florida Department of Health samples 4 Sanibel beach locations weekly for fecal indicator bacteria. Samples collected on Monday 9/16/19 were all in the “good” range for enterococcus bacteria. Weekly testing results are posted here:  http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/county-detail.html?County=Lee&Zip=33916-2205

For more information on Sanibel and other Lee County beach conditions, click on these links:
Florida Healthy Beaches
Mote Marine Lab Beach Conditions Map

END”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 13-20, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

2 price changes: Sundial #E108 3/2 now $1.275M, La Playa #1B 3/2 now $1.399M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Sundial #I104 1/1 $456K (our buyer, under contract last week, closed this week), Mariner Pointe #1041 2/2 $468K.

(Our Sundial buyer went under contract last week & closed this week. It’s not often that a closing can happen that quickly, but thanks to Stacy at Sundial West & Michelle at Barrier Island Title, it got it done! The SanibelSusan Team thanks them!)

HOMES

2 new listings: 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $550K, 5757 Baltusrol Ct 3/3 $1.579M.

1 price change: 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $755K.

3 new sales: 970 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $429.9K, 9401 Beverly Ln 3/3 listed at $675K, 1136 Golden Olive Ct 4/4.5 listed at $2.59M.

4 closed sales: 513 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $628.5K, 534 N. Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $825K, 845 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1.1065M, 844 Lindgren Blvd 3/3 $1.205M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5118 1/2 now $377.9K.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2426 2/2 listed at $537.5K.

1 closed sale: Ventura Captiva #2A 3/3 $900K.

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.

Until next Friday, enjoy a “cool” September!

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

If School Begins Monday, Is Summer Over? Noooo! Summer & Vacations Go On Forever Here!


It’s already another Friday with the islands quiet. When there is no traffic director at the Causeway Road 4-way stop at both noon and 5:30 p.m., you know Sanibel/Captiva traffic has slowed.

Though The SanibelSusan Team was short one teammate this week, we had some nice accomplishments – a great new listing, a nice price reduction on another, an offer in the works, a great turnout yesterday at our Isabel Dr listing on Realtor Caravan, and though our photographer has dealt with many rain and cloud interruptions, I think he will deliver some special marketing photos this weekend. The full team is back to work on Monday (the same day that Lee County schools are back in session). Yikes! Does that mean summer is over?

At our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday recognition was given to the donors and helpers that contributed to the 20,300 meals that were packed in record time at last Friday’s Meals of Hope benefit event. Thank-yous also went to Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, his wife Doreen, and City Councilor Holly Smith for their hands-on help. It is fast fun work often with competition. Part of the giggles relate to the required hair coverings. If packers don’t bring a hat, they are blessed with a hairnet. I’m sure the Mayor loved that. (Two photos compliments of JMA Photography below: First the packers. 2nd photo has the Mayor rocking his hair net at the end of the table. That assembly-line begins with his wife Doreen (on left in baseball cap) & Councilor Holly Smith(on right).)

Only two properties, including our listing, were open for the Caravan that followed yesterday’s meeting. The details of the action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System are after a couple of news items below.

Vacation Home Hot Spots Across the Country

Much of SanibelSusan’s business is with buyers who also own in another resort or 2nd home market area, usually one they visit in the summer. When owning here, if retired, they often claim Florida residency for the estate and tax benefits. Many island owners have properties in several resort & 2nd home market areas.

Holding the national RSPS (Resort & 2nd Home Specialist) designation, I follow our group newsletter for tidbits that will help not only in our business, but in the curriculum for the RSPS class that I teach each summer at our local Association of Realtors®. Here are some interesting excerpts from the July 2019 “RSPS Newsletter”. The article linked to http://www.IPX1031.com .

“Whether it’s a cabin in the woods or a beachside bungalow, vacation homes come in all shapes, sizes and locations. We took a closer look at vacation home destinations across the country to find which cities and towns have the most vacation homes. We also analyzed the overall percentage of vacation homes in every state. We researched vacation home data from more than 29,000 different census designated places across all 50 states and ranked the top three locations with the most vacation homes in every state.

“Before we analyze the top three locations with the most vacation homes in every state, let’s look at the overall percentage of vacation homes in each state. When you think of a popular vacation home hot spot, images of sandy beaches in Florida might come to mind. While Florida ranks high in terms of its number of vacation homes, it doesn’t beat out Maine, which is No. 1 in the country. Surprisingly, 19% of all homes in the Pine Tree State are vacation homes. Vermont and New Hampshire round out the top three states with 17% and 12%, respectively. Florida comes in at No. 6 with 10% of its homes categorized as vacation homes, according to the Census Bureau.

“Apparently, the Midwest isn’t a hot spot for vacation homes. Maybe it’s the brutally cold and long winters, but Midwest states rank low on our list. In fact, Illinois ranks dead last on our list with just 1% of its homes categorized as vacation homes. Other Midwest states like Ohio (1.1%), Iowa (1.6%), Indiana (1.7%) and Kansas (1.4%) are at the bottom of the list as well.

“However, there is one Midwest state that ranks within the top 10. With its more than 15,000 lakes, Wisconsin is a haven for fishing, boating and vacationing, which explains why the state ranks No. 8 among states with the most vacation homes.

“After we looked at the percentage of vacation homes in every state, we analyzed the top three places with the most vacation homes within those states. While familiar vacation locations such as Copper Mountain in Colorado and Fire Island in New York are among the top vacation home destinations, there are also smaller towns that make the list as well. For example, the top 3 destinations in California all have less than 300 vacation homes. However, every home within those three places are classified as vacation homes. Atlantic City and Boudurant, Wyoming as well as Yellow Pine, Idaho and McCarthy, Alaska are the only other locations on our list where every home is classified as a vacation home.”

After reading their article, I checked their infographic which shows by state what three towns/cities have the most vacation homes. If you are wondering what it reports for Florida. They are Captiva, Horseshoe Beach, and North Key Largo. (If you are like me, you now may be wondering, where is Horseshoe Beach? Google says, it’s on the Gulf, about 315 miles north of Sanibel and west of Gainesville. With an area of less than 2/10 of a mile, the population is only about 200.

Turner Beach Project Into Permitting

As reported in this week’s “Sanibel-Captiva Islander”, “The final design for the Turner Beach shoreline stabilization project was recently completed.

“Coastal Engineering Consultants was hired by the City of Sanibel, in partnership with Lee County, to address two main issues at the site: erosion within the parking lot and riprap along the shoreline….The project aims to re-enforce or stabilize the shoreline without making changes to it…The City has submitted permit applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and South Florida Water Management District…The work is expected to take place in 2020. As the City manages the Turner Beach site as part of an interlocal agreement, the project is being funded through the Lee County Tourist Development Council. The City is requesting $580,000 to cover the design and construction. It has already secured $280,000 and plans to submit a request for the remaining $300,000 at the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.”

More Shoreline Project Applications Filed

In the same “Sanibel-Captiva Islander” issue, it reports that “The City of Sanibel recently submitted applications for the design work and a request for financial assistance on the emergency shore protection project south of Blind Pass, along Sanibel-Captiva Road…” Once a Construction Control Line permit is issued by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, work there can begin, hopefully as soon as sea turtle nesting season is over at the end of October. In addition to the permit application, “the City submitted an application… for funds through the DEP’s Florida Beach Management Funding Assistance Program, which accepts local funding requests for beach projects…The City applied for just over $300,000 in state assistance as part of 50-50 cost share. It would cover the cost of the beach re-nourishment or fill placement and dune restoration…It would not include the structure itself – revetment, sheet piping, riprap – to protect the roadway…The total project may cost approximately $612,000. The City intends to request funds from the Lee County Tourist Development Council to help cover the remaining costs of the project…The beach accumulates sand in the summer and loses it in the winter because of the wind direction. If the project is finished before winter, sand can accumulate on top of the new sand the City deposits…That is why the City wants to get the project done by fall, early winter….”

“Earlier this year, the City had brought in Humiston & Moore Engineers to look at the area near Pine Avenue and Castaways Beach and Bay Cottages and come up with concepts to better protect the nearby road and properties from erosion. Later on, at a City Council meeting, the firmed reported the following:

“”Recent storms and cold fronts in 2018 and 2019 have resulted in increased sand loss and vulnerability…It is the intent of the City to design improved protection along this section of roadway and extend the protection further north and south of the existing buried (rock) revetment to provide high frequency storm protection to the most vulnerable 400’ section of the evacuation route for the island of Captiva and the north end of Sanibel.

“”The concept plan involves the addition of a larger armor stone layer along the existing buried revetment and installation of a steel sheet pile wall with a concrete cap upland of the revetment along the edge of the right-of-way, for the approximate 400’ section of vulnerable highway….”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 2-9, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Coquina Beach #3E 2/2 $529K, Sundial West #K103 2/2 $920K.

2 price changes: Mariner Pointe #642 2/2 now $589K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 now $759K.

3 new sales: Sundial West #I103 1/1 listed at $465.9K, Mariner Pointe #1041 2/2 listed at $484K, By-the-Sea #C102 3/2 listed at $1.595M.

2 closed sales: Coquina Beach #2A 2/2 $595K, Pine Cove #C 2/2 $999K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1536 Bunting Ln 3/2 $613.5K, 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 $3.595M.

7 price changes: 9195 Dimmick Dr 2/2 now $444K, 6103 Starling Way 2/2 now $699K, 760 Cardium St 3/2 now $725K, 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $749K, 1223 Par View Dr 3/2 now $775K, 1305 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $998.5K, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 now $2.195M (our listing) (a few photos below, including mama & baby dolphin swimming by the 90′ dock)

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0791.JPG

4 new sales: 1441 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $649K, 1677 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 listed at $699K, 844 Lindgren Blvd 3/3 listed at $1.395M, 5723 Baltusrol Ct 4/4.5 listed at $1.849M.

4 closed sales: 785 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $335K, 693 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $485.5K, 1159 Golden Olive Ct 3/2 $1.35M, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 $2.2M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 5737 Baltusrol Ct $299K (our listing) (some drone aerials below, it overlooks 9th fairway & has conservation land across the street), 3945 West Gulf Dr 3.995M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Tennis Villas #3120 1/1 now $324K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 11509 Chapin Ln 4/4 now $1,899,999.

No new sales.

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.

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Packing Food, Watching the Water, Island Scoop, Plus Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate


It’s an early Friday blog today as the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 2019 Meals of Hope food packing event is this afternoon. Our Association-sponsored events have packed over 50,000 meals the last two summers and aim to add another 20,000 to the tally today.

There is no denying that the water woes of last summer affected island real estate sales, but as we carefully watch the weather, it is great to be able to report now that the view driving across the causeway is as good as I remember it this late in the summer. Here are some aerial photos taken for the City just three days ago.

With a rainy few days ahead, that sparkling blue may get stirred up this weekend, but it sure is different from a year ago at this time.

Below are the islands’ real estate statistics as of today (August 2, 2019). Inventory is low, with many island Realtors® looking for listings. Now really is the best to list for those wanting a sale during the upcoming “season”. (There are more closed sales last quarter and first quarter which often means contracts are written beginning in August so new owners will benefit from winter ownership.)

Sanibel Condos Homes Lots
# Avg Price # Avg Price # Avg Price
For Sale 99 $820,294 145 $1,360,835 64 $657,673
Under Contract 11 $731,709 17 $987,647 4 $233,000
Sold/Closed Year-to-Date 85 $662,618 147 $956,029 10 $419,900
Sold/Closed in 2018 155 $720,617 218 $1,112,748 21 $602,095
Sold/Closed in 2017 140 $728,793 186 $1,004,237 32 $327,229

 

Captiva Condos Homes Lots
# Avg Price # Avg Price # Avg Price
For Sale 38 $1,115,343 34 $2,884,556 3 $1,929,667
Under Contract 6 $681,317 2 $2,112,500 0 N/A
Sold/Closed Year-to-Date 14 $1,201,857 12 $3,181,963 0 N/A
Sold/Closed in 2018 27 $797,532 25 $2,127,352 0 N/A
Sold/Closed in 2017 34 $671,551 22 $2,457,023 2 $2,312,500

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.

There was no Realtor® Caravan yesterday, but the changes in the islands’ Multiple Listing Service this week are after a few news items below.

Island Scoop

Lee County Emergency Management – AlertLee – The county recently released AlertLee which is an emergency notification system where the public can sign-up to receive notifications. This system replaces CodeRed.  Both the City of Sanibel and county use this popular tool to send targeted emergency alerts. You can receive alerts on multiple devices in your home and/or on your cell phones.  Even if you were enrolled in the old system, to continue receiving alerts YOU MUST SIGN-UP for alertLee.  Go to the city website mysanibel.com (in the Quick Links on the right side).

Noah’s Ark Annual Bag Day – is Friday, August 9 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bag day marks the end of summer season for the Ark which after this event closes for cleaning and repair – reopening on October 1. Deep price reductions lead up to the sale, when on Bag Day customers may buy marked bags in the parking lot for $4 each, fill them with store goods and walk away with as many items as the bags will carry. Any items not fitting in the bag are 80% off the regular price. Operated by the Women of St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal for more than 50 years, Noah’s Ark offers all kinds of merchandise from clothing to housewares, to furnishings, and books. Proceeds go to local, regional, and global charities and agencies. (Note: Noah’s Ark begins accepting donations again on September 1.)

San-Cap Road Vegetation Trimming – from Rabbit Road to Bowman’s Beach Rd on the north side, now through August 7.

Sanibel’s Annual Street Resurfacing Project – will begin August 5 with paving done during normal daytime hours. Access to residences and businesses will be maintained at all times.  The public is reminded to use caution when traveling through a construction zone. The following streets are included in this project:

  • Wulfert Rd. (from Wildlife Dr. to Sanctuary Entrance)
  • West Rocks Dr.
  • Coquina Dr.
  • East Rocks Dr.
  • Emeril Ct.
  • Durion Ct.
  • Chert Ct.
  • Agate Ct.
  • Boulder Cir.
  • Palm Lake Dr.
  • Donax St (repairs to northbound lane)

Every year the City resurfaces selected roads based upon a time schedule and existing condition.  This year’s road resurfacing contract amount is $534,000 including full-width resurfacing of the ten streets above, and repairs to Donax Street.  The project is expected to be completed within 30 days.

SCCF’s Nature Center Closed for Minor Renovations – The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s administrative offices and trails remain open to the public, but the Nature Center on San-Cap Road is closed for two months – reopening September 16. During this time, the educational displays and exhibits will be updated,  new TV screens added, and videos will be replaced. The Nature Center will be turned into a multi-use space including an update of the education for the trail system. During the closure, the on-site trails and observation tower may be accessed from the parking lot rather than through the building. The trails are free and open to the public. The Bailey Homestead Preserve on Periwinkle Way remains open. More info at www.sccf.org.

Home Inspection Myths & Misconceptions

The August 2019 issue of “Florida Realtor®” magazine ends with a “share this” info graphic. It says:

“The inspection is pass/fail. Home inspectors do not determine whether a house passes or fails. They evaluate the condition of a home and report on defects. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether to buy the house.

Home Inspectors determine if a house is up to code. Inspectors are looking for defects that could affect the safety of your family or the value of your home. Code inspections, on the other hand, look for compliance with certain building standards. Just because something is not up to code, does not inherently make it a home inspection defect.

The seller will repair every defect the home inspector finds. While the inspector’s report can be used as a negotiating tool, sellers are not obligated to make any repairs if your agent is using an as-is contract. Note: If negotiating over repairs, focus on issues that could be costly to fix.

New construction homes don’t have to be inspected. New construction homes can have serious defects that could be costly to repair. Problems occur when a builder cuts corners, manufacturer’s recommendations are not followed or workers simply make mistakes.

Home Inspectors determine the value of a house. The focus of the home inspection is the condition of the home; an appraiser determines a fair market value.

“Home Inspectors check for termites. In Florida, termite inspections have to be performed by a pest control company.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 26 – August 2, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sanibel Inn #3514 2/2 $760K.

6 price changes: Sanibel Arms #B7 1/1 now $395.9K, Mariner Pointe #321 3/2 now $569K, Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 now $597K, Lighthouse Point #111 2/2 now $634K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 now $649K, Loggerhead Cay #192 2/2 now $750K.

2 new sales: Seashells #12 2/2 listed at $395K, Cottage Colony West #117 1/1 listed at $625K.

2 closed sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $230K, White Caps South #5 1/1 $470K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 1890 Farm Trl 3/2 $565.4K, 9436 Yucca Ct 3/2 $839K, 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 $3.595M.

4 price changes: 9465 Coventry Ct 3/2 now $597K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $765K, 1305 Eagle Run 3/2.5 now $998.5K, 5842 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $1.049M.

5 new sales: 513 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed at $648K, 1060 White Ibis Dr 3/2 $749K, 1324 Seaspray Ln 3/3 listed at $1.35M, 2719 Wulfert Rd 4/4/2 $1.499M, 1035 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $1.539M.

6 closed sales: 705 Rabbit Rd 3/3 $520K, 1175 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $714K, 4460 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 $747K, 556 Chert Ct 4/3 $785K (our listing), 9224 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $840K, 1101 Schooner Pl 3/2.5 $1.245M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2431 Shop Rd $249.9K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Homes #21 3/3 now $3M.

4 new sales: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 listed at $754.9K, Sunset Captiva #103 2/2 listed at $800K, Beach Villas #2436 3/2 listed at $825K, Ventura Captiva #2A 3/3 listed at $919K.

1 closed sale: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 $950K.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 $950K.

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.

Until next Friday, Happy August!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Scoop, Realtors Packing Meals, & Other Island Stuff


It’s quiet on the islands now – the usual annual lull before local schools begin again on August 12. Even after living on Sanibel for close to 30 years, I still shake my head when schools restart so much earlier here than up north. When the weather is like summer, seems only right that the kids are off enjoying it.

Below are some photos of our listing at 1238 Isabel Drive in Sanibel Harbours. Filmed Monday by JMA Photography, a close look will show that the new landscaping is in, with exterior almost complete. The final interior punch-list items are being finished now. Looking for a new owner for this bay-front beauty which has just undergone months of renovations! It includes a lot with dock and lift in the nearby boat basin too!

Next week at this time, island Realtors®, families, and friends will be participating in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 2019 packing event for Meals of Hope. As one of the Super Sponsors, we helped the Association raise the $5K needed to buy the supplies, now the goal is to pack at least 20,000 meals in 3 hours. We have done it before (photo below from our event last year), so should be able to do it again.

This time of the year, the local food banks are low, yet the need is high. The SanibelSusan Team is thankful that we again can help! If you want to participate, just let us know. All helpers are welcome.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Also this week at the Association of Realtors®, our new Multiple Listing Service (MLS) went live. It will be run in parallel with the old system while final program kinks are worked out and our membership is fully trained. The final cut-over date is August 26. The new system has plenty of new bells and whistles, so the team and I are practicing with the new system and watching on-line webinars before some upcoming training sessions at the Association Office.

If you receive listing notifications through the old system’s automatic emails, those will continue, though beginning August 26 when the system cuts over, your saved listings will disappear. We are revisiting each prospect’s search criteria, so if your preferences have changed, please let me know. It’s a good time to update them.

Yesterday was the Association’s July Membership Meeting. Not a single new sale was announced and just five new listings were open during the 3-hour Caravan that followed. There were a handful of new sales though as detailed in the week’s MLS summary that follows some other news below.

The meeting speaker was Jeannine Joy, President & CEO of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee United Way. Here are some takeaways.

Each United Way organization is independent, so donations stay in the community. With this organization, 92.3% of each dollar donated is given to the 82 local agencies and 245 programs they support and provide. F.I.S.H. of SANCAP is one of these agencies. Mention was made of the additional emergency funding provided to F.I.S.H. after Hurricane Irma and again last summer after local water woes affected island business and livelihoods.

The United Way provides help from early childhood development through senior life. Below is info on a couple of their programs.

  • Dial 211 – United Way 211 is a free 24-hour non-emergency helpline for referral to health and social services that provide food, housing, child care, and veteran services in Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties.
  • VITA – United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax preparation by IRS certified volunteers for household incomes of $66,000 or less. Dial 211 or 239-433-3900 to schedule an appointment.

2019 Lee County Market Report for June

On Wednesday, the Royal Palm Coast Realtor® Association’s Florida Gulf Coast MLS emailed their June Market Report for the county. It reported that overall, Lee County sales slipped a bit in June. It further says: “June showed Medial Sale Prices were up slightly at 2.0% for Single Family, while Townhouses and Condos showed a decrease of -5.0%. Broken down by cities, Single Family in Pine Island (30.0%), North Fort Myers (29.2%), Fort Myers Beach (28.0%), and Estero (10.0%) had double-digit increases for June over 2018. There was a significant drop in sales for Sanibel/Captiva at -30.8% over 2018. All other cities showed slight increases or decreases for the month.”

5 U.S. Beaches to Visit

I saw a blog posting this week by The Discoverer Blog. The actual posting title is “5 U.S. Beaches to Visit and 5 to Avoid”. It begins by saying:

“From the pristine sandy shores of Sanibel Island to the calm cool azure waters of Kapalua Bay, a trip to the beach is always a good idea. The United States has some of the most amazing beaches in the world. That doesn’t mean that all beaches are trip-worthy. There are some beaches around the country that are either overrated or just places you need to stay away from. So, we’ve put together a list of the five best beaches to add to your must-see list and five that you need to avoid like the plague.”

Since I prefer the positive, here are their five “best” beaches. Read their blog yourself to find the others.

  • Sanibel Island, Florida
  • Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii
  • Key West, Florida
  • La Jolla Beach, California
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

Potential Title Insurance Pitfalls When Transferring Property into a Trust or LLC

In an email this week from the Legal Scoop Blog of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Hold, P.A. by Caleb Hinton on July 23, 2019:

“As a real estate attorney, one request I often receive from clients is to prepare a deed to transfer their real estate into either a trust (such as a revocable trust for estate planning purposes) or an LLC (for liability purposes). At first glance, this may appear to be a simple request with no adverse effects or consequences. However, depending on when the property was acquired, transferring your property may have adverse effects on your owner’s title policy that you received when you purchased the property.

“Florida Title Insurance Policy Forms – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“Florida OIR”) governs the title insurance industry in several ways, including the rates charged and the title insurance policy forms issued by attorneys and title agents to purchasers of real estate.

“In 2011, OIR approved a new title insurance policy form for both owner’s and lender’s policies that is known as the ALTA 2006 Form (“06 Form”). The 06 Form includes an expanded definition of “Insured” under the policy, including transfers by the Insured listed on Schedule A (“Named Insured”) of the policy into a trust if the grantee is a trustee or beneficiary of a trust created by a written instrument established by the Named Insured of the owner’s policy.

“The 06 Form also expands the definition of “Insured” under the 06 Form to include the grantee of the Named Insured if the Insured on Schedule A wholly owns the stock, shares, membership, or other equity interests of the grantee.

“Potential Pitfalls – Before 2011, title insurance agents were using the ALTA 1992 Form (“92 Form”) which contained a narrower definition of “Insured.” More specifically, the 92 Form defined “Insured” as the Insured on Schedule A of the owner’s policy (which is the name in which you took title) and those who succeeded to their interest by operation of law including heirs, distributees, devisees, personal representatives (of an estate), or corporate fiduciaries or successors. Simply stated, your title insurance coverage would pass to your heirs in the event of death.

“Under the 92 Form, the definition of “Insured” does not expressly include entities (such as LLCs) where the Named Insured on the policy conveys the property to an LLC of which they are the sole member. Also, the 92 Form does not expressly include transfers from the Named Insured to a trustee of trust such a revocable living trust used in traditional estate planning.

“Accordingly, if you took title to your property prior to 2011 and subsequently convey the property to your trust or a LLC, you may lose your coverage under your owner’s title policy.

“Take-Away – There are many factors to weigh when transferring real estate and it is essential to understand the consequences of any potential transfer being considered. It is important, therefore, to have an attorney review your individual situation, including whether or not any proposed transfer would potentially create coverage issues with the title insurance company that issued your owner’s policy. If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact me at caleb.hinton@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1125.”

Help the Sea Turtles

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) posted this yesterday on Facebook:

“Early Sunday morning 7/21/19, a very familiar face visited Sanibel. Jane, a green sea turtle we first met in 2017, came ashore to nest. Our sea turtle team had already seen her six times this 2019 season, and Sunday marked our seventh encounter and her fifth nest!

“When she finished nesting, Jane attempted to return to the ocean but quickly became disoriented. Lost in the dune vegetation, Jane began to crawl in circles and away from the water, likely mistaking the light from nearby cities for her natural lighting cue of moonlight reflecting off the water. Our team stayed with Jane until she was able to safely find her way back to the beach and return to the sea.

“On Sanibel we are very fortunate to be designated a “dark beach” with ordinances focused on minimizing light pollution. Nevertheless, we are seeing an increase in sea turtle disorientation events every year.

“But how can sea turtles become disoriented if every place on the island has their lights off? Light from nearby cities that do not have lighting ordinances spills across the sky, brightening the horizon from inland, a phenomenon we call “skyglow”. Skyglow is the leading cause of disorientation for Sanibel’s nesting females and hatchlings. Sea turtles are born with the instinct to crawl towards the brightest light. Skyglow disorients turtles causing them to end up in dune vegetation, swimming pools or even roads where they are struck by vehicles.

“SCCF is reaching out to local governments to combat skyglow. Recently, a member of the Cape Coral City Council joined our nighttime survey to observe skyglow on Sanibel and learn about the effects on sea turtles.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 19-26, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Cottage Colony West #117 1/1 $625K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Seashells #42 2/2 listed at $379.9K.

3 closed sales: Tennisplace #D22 1/1 $220K, Sundial #C310 1/1 $442K, Loggerhead Cay #562 2/2 $560K.

HOMES

No new listings.

8 price changes: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 now $518.5K, 9401 Beverly Ln 3/3 now $675K, 1558 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $699K (our listing) (some aerial photos below), 1559 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $749K, 707 Cardium St 3/2 now $750K, 9393 Peaceful Dr 3/2.5 now $799K, 534 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $899K, 599 Lake Murex Cir 3/3.5 now $1.299M.

2 new sales: 3386 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.199M, 4014 West Gulf Dr 4/3 listed at $3.699M.

2 closed sales: 993 Fish Crow Rd 3/3 $654.9K, 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 $835K.

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: 5821 Pine Tree Dr now $439K, 5251 Indian Ct now $649K, 2510 Coconut Dr now $749.9K.

1 new sale: 486 Ponce De Leon Rd listed at $199K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Villas #2436 3/2 $825K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 11509 Chapin Ln 4/4 now $1,974,999.

No new sales.

3 closed sales: 16825 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $2,316,055; 16814 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 $4.9M, 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $6M.

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.

Until next Friday, when this will be posted earlier!

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Come to Sanibel & Captiva to Cool Off


It’s another mostly-sunny Friday on Sanibel. Weather again this week has been a typical Florida summer pattern with warm bright days and occasional showers popping up – usually late day. The residual clouds continue to contribute to some gorgeous sunsets.

 

With disbelief, the team has watched up-north forecasts for high temperatures. If you are wondering about here, daytime highs next week are expected to be 87 to 89 degrees F; then, down to 79 degrees most nights, with 40% chance of daily showers.

Meanwhile, if  you are wondering, the gulf waters still are great and shells continue to roll in, particularly after the mini-storms.

Island Real Estate Happenings

There hasn’t been much Sanibel/Captiva real estate action this week. I got a surprise visit from a prospective buyer looking to purchase our near-beach lot listing. It’s always fun to help a young family achieve their dream of raising their family on the island. A summary of the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below. Next Thursday morning is the local Association of Realtors® July Membership meeting.

It’s a Sea Turtle Highway

SCCF photo

That was part of the description of a Facebook post this week by SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) which also said “Sanibel Island has surpassed 700 nests so far this season! Combine that with over 1,000 false crawls and our beaches are basically a sea turtle highway! It is also an interesting time of year because while we still have nesting mothers coming ashore, we have nests hatching too!

Please remember if you happen to be on the beach at night to always use red filters on any source of white light so none of our turtles become disoriented! For more information about sea turtle disorientations, please visit: http://myfwc.com/…/wild…/sea-turtle/lighting/disorientations”.

Scoop from Sanibel City Council Meeting, Tues July 16

At their Tuesday meeting, Sanibel Council considered the draft City budget for 2020 (FY 2020). It proposes a $70,443,258 budget with a 1.9139 operating millage rate (which is the same rate assessed to taxpayers since 2016). The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office preliminarily assessed the City of Sanibel’s taxable property value at $5,279,612,650, a historic high and 1.6% higher than last year. The first public hearing on Sanibel’s tentative budget and tentative operating millage rate will be Mon, September 9 at 5:01 p.m. The second will be Mon, September 23 at the same time. Both meetings will be at MacKenzie Hall at 800 Dunlop Road.

Council’s action on a proposed draft ordinance that would prohibit use of motorized scooters on Sanibel’s shared use path system was delayed until the August meeting. Also postponed was their action on the proposed ordinance regarding gas-powered leaf blowers.

On a positive note, Council voted to adopt a resolution in support of reducing plastic litter. It calls for individuals and businesses to voluntarily use “environmentally friendly” alternatives to disposable plastic bags, to include those made from paper, cloth, canvas, and other natural products. (Florida statutes do not allow local governments to rule or regulate disposable plastic bags, so this resolution is an alternative.)

Marketing to 55+ Buyers?

Older buyers aren’t much different than younger ones. Most now rely on social media and the internet for information, with print ads increasingly less effective. Since the islands of Sanibel and Captiva continue to be a destination that is like a step back in time, our weekly “Island Sun” still brings inquiries. The print edition delivered to island households and mailboxes is read as often on-line, while our social media advertising (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and internet advertising have hugely increased this year.

The below article from Florida Realtors® on-line this week addresses the subject. Sourced to “Online Preferences of 55+ Homebuyers,” Immersion Active (July 2019), © Copyright 2019 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

“NEW YORK – Home-buyers over age 55 rely on technology to find their home, just like their younger counterparts. They say internet searches and social media greatly influence their home-buying decisions, according to a new survey of home buyers 55 and older conducted by Immersion Active, a marketing solutions agency.

“Of the 55-plus consumers surveyed, 89% said they intend to purchase a new home in the next five years and nearly 70% of respondents said they used online real estate directories for sources of information, with Realtor.com, Zillow, and Redfin among the most popular. Online community directories that target the boomer market, such as Ideal Living and 55Places.com, were also frequently used, according to the survey.

“Many older home-buyers said they checked communities’ or developers’ social media channels. Social media and community websites allow prospective buyers to get a sense of the community’s lifestyle through photos and videos. Social media also allows consumers to see comments and feedback from current residents.

Facebook was the top social media channel for 55-plus buyers: 89% of consumers who used social media used Facebook, while 38% used Instagram and 31% used Pinterest.

““Social media has become a leading source of word-of-mouth recommendations,” the survey found. “It’s where consumers go for recommendations and referrals from friends and even strangers.”

10 highest-rated features on community websites

  • Downloadable floor plans (52%)
  • Interior photos of fully furnished homes (51%)
  • Exterior photos of available homes or lots (49%)
  • HOA Information (47%)
  • Information about amenities (34%)
  • Community benefits and amenities (pool, trails, golf, boating, etc.) (32%)
  • Photos of community life (26%)
  • Local area information (schools, restaurants, shops, etc.) (17%)
  • Content on community social lifestyle and activities (14%)
  • About the builder (13%)

“On the other hand, traditional marketing methods were ranked as least popular by older home-buyers. Only 13% of the 55+ buyers said they found information through print publication or direct mail, and only 3% reviewed welcome packets or brochures.

““This should be a reality check for community developers and builders who rely heavily on print ads, billboards and other traditional marketing methods,” says Joe Ford, president and senior digital strategist at Immersion Active. “Internet marketing – including websites and social media – is more vital than ever to 55-plus home-buyers as they search for the perfect home. For the best leads, developers and builders need to optimize their online presence and ensure their content depicts what life is like for the consumer if they purchased a home in the community.”

“They also need to be readily available to respond to inquiries. However, the survey found that most home-buyers don’t expect an answer to their social media or website inquiries immediately, but they do expect some kind of response, usually within 24 hours or one business day.”

Off-Season Closing

Sanibel Historical Village will close Wed, July 31 and reopen Tues, October 15.

Summer Freebies – National Park & Recreation Month

Lee County Commissioners signed a resolution designating July as National Parks & Recreation Month. In recognition, Lee County Parks & Recreation will offer free pool admission and free parking on July 27 and 28 at the following locations:

  • Regional parks: Lakes Park, Manatee Park, Hickey Creek Mitigation Park, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, and Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve.
  • Beaches: Bonita Beach Access No. 1 & 10, Bonita Beach Park, Bowditch Point & Lynn Hall Memorial Park, Bunche Beach, Bowman’s Beach, & Turner Beach (north side of Blind Pass).
  • Boat ramps: Punta Rassa, Matlacha, Alva, Davis, Pine Island Commerical Marina, & Imperial River.
  • Pools: Leigh Community Pool, North Fort Myers Community Pool, Pine Island Community Pool, & San Carlos Community Pool.

More info at www.leeparks.org .

Europe Completes Its First Ever Blockchain Real Estate Sale for €6.5 Million

The July issue of ePro®’s newsletter had a link to the following article from Forbes, June 30. It is amazing how real estate business is changing with technology. Sanibel/Captiva Realtors® are looking forward to the advanced features that will be provided next month after conversion to our new Multiple Listing Service provider, while in Europe, the sale described below likely foretells the future of real estate sales. It will be interesting to see this evolve.

“Last week, the AnnA Villa in Paris made history by becoming the first ever European property to be sold entirely via blockchain transaction. The luxury building, located in the city’s Boulogne-Billancourt district, was valued at €6.5 million, and was sold to French real estate companies, Sapeb Immobilier and Valorcim. The process involved first transferring ownership of the building to a joint-stock company (SAPEB AnnA), then dividing the company into 100 tokens to be distributed to the owners respectively. Each token can be further broken down into 100,000 units, meaning individual shares of the building can be bought and sold for as little as €6.50.

“The deal – which was managed by French blockchain investment platform, Equisafe -was powered on the Ethereum token, and was the latest of several worldwide efforts to bring real estate sales onto blockchain technology. Last year, a $30 million Manhattan property was also tokenized on Ethereum, and in January of this year, a luxury resort in Aspen, Colorado raised $18 million through a security token offering.

“Real estate has often been touted as an industry ripe for tokenization, as its low liquidity and high barrier to entry deter many potential investors. Breaking real estate into fractional ownership would allow the general public easy access to small shares, enabling property to be traded similar to other exchange-based securities.

A search for real estate tokens reveals dozens that are already trading on secondary markets. For instance, digital equities group, Elevated Returns, plans to tokenize $100m of real estate in Thailand this year, while UK-based BRIKCOIN hopes to use blockchain technology to build affordable housing.

“Beyond the advantages of liquidity, tokenizing the real estate process provides many other advantages over a traditionally antiquated process. For instance, in the sale of the AnnA Villa, much of the cumbersome legal documentation involved with selling property (such as notarized deeds and proof of identity), was all encrypted and recorded on the blockchain. If scaled effectively, the time and cost saved from not having to manually verify this information could prove to be enormous. Equisafe is going as far as to claim individuals will be able to create investor profiles and access offers in less than half an hour.

“While the real estate industry is still very new to blockchain, it appears there is sustained interest in what the technology could provide moving forward. With precious few experiments to glean insight from, it’s likely this deal will have many eyes observing the outcome.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 12-19, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 $559K, Sanibel Arms West #I1 2/2 $569K.

2 price changes: Mariner Pointe #952 1/1 now $419K, Sandals #A 3/3.5 now $1.987M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $700K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 1684 Bunting Ln 2/2 $505K, 1060 White Ibis Dr 3/2 $749K, 1230 Bay Dr 3/3 $1.749M.

2 price changes: 547 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3.5 now $989K, 725 Donax St 6/6 now $1.295M.

4 new sales: 785 Rabbit Rd 3/2 half-duplex listed at $379K, 1520 Centre St 3/2 listed at $432.5K, 6047 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2.5 listed at $1.095M, 1159 Golden Olive Ct 3/2 listed at $1.59M.

7 closed sales: 1886 Farm Trl 3/3 $600K, 4779 Rue Helene 3/3.5 $674K, 3284 Twin Lakes Ln 4/4 $765K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $770K, 5240 Caloosa End Ln 3/3 $775K, 947 Cabbage Palm Ct 3/3.5 $878.75K, 955 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $920K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2510 Coconut Dr $749K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: 898 Rabbit Rd listed at $170K (our listing), 0 Dinkins Lake Rd listed at $268.5K, 1817 Longpoint Ln listed at $294.5K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Homes #21 3/3 $3.5M.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #103 2/2 now $800K.

1 new sale: Tennis Villas #3217 1/1 listed at $320K.

No 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.

Until next Friday, stay cool!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Let’s Continue to Celebrate the U.S.A.


It was another wonderful July 4th on sunny Sanibel. Or at least sunny most of the day. We had a big turnout at the office at 9 a.m., ready for parade viewing.

Then 12 hours later, right at 9 p.m., as scheduled, the City fireworks show over San Carlos Bay was spectacular. How they coordinated it between downpours was amazing. Thanks to all who made it such a special island holiday!

Here’s hoping yours also was a fun festive one.

Sanibel Susan Realty Associates

A holiday week sometimes means it’s a slow one for island real estate and this was no exception. Beyond the holiday festivities, there is not much local news to report, but since it is beyond the ½-year mark, it is a good time to revisit the Sanibel and Captiva real estate market. Off-island, the local news stations and papers have been reporting what the county Tax Assessor expects for annual appreciation in each city. I shake my head every July when this occurs, because what happens in the first half of the year doesn’t always reflect what will happen in the 2nd. Last year was a good example of that.

Another twist with island sales, is that more high-end closings usually occur early in the year, just a factor in their usually being two to three times more qualified buyers here all winter than during the summer.

This year sales lagged a little in getting started, but with gulf and bay waters still glistening and many clean water initiatives underway, my crystal ball says 2019 will turn out better than 2018. With the economy strong and plenty of nice inventory available, I predict good sales all summer. At SanibelSusan Realty, our June and July closings already far exceed the first five months of the year.

Below is a snapshot of the today’s Sanibel and Captiva inventory, compared to sales during the same period last year. The statistics also are shown comparing sales year-over-year. (Info from Sanibel/Captiva MLS, disclosure below applies.)

Average Sanibel sale prices lag 2018 for condos, homes, and lots. The number of Sanibel condo and home sales also are less than last year.

On Captiva, average condo and home prices are up, but the samplings are small, with fewer Captiva condos and homes sold than during the same time last year.

 

Property Type

Sanibel Captiva
Condos Homes Lots Condos Homes Lots
# Avg $ # Avg $ # Avg $ # Avg $ # Avg $ # Avg $
For sale 107 815,088 168 1,351,489 68 647,077 44 1,026,318 37 2,890,240 3 1,929,667
Under contract 15 654,837 28 870,916 1 149,000 1 469,000 6 3,360,832 0 N/A
Sold 1/1-7/5/2019 78 683,609 125 983,314 9 451,222 14 1,201,557 8 3,002,188 0 N/A
Sold 1/1-7/5/2018 96 743,571 158 1,214,614 9 478,556 17 912,933 12 2,163,442 0 N/A
Sold 2018 155 720,617 218 1,112,748 21 602,095 27 797,532 25 2,127,352 0 N/A
Sold 2017 140 728,793 186 1,004,237 32 327,229 34 671,551 22 2,457,023 2 2,312,500
Sold 2016 143 717,768 181 979,576 25 487,095 22 873,636 27 3,195,000 2 3,150,000

50th Anniversary of RPAC

As the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC), their biggest supporters were recognized with a surprise to represent their commitment to promoting and protecting real estate ownership and this milestone in NAR’s history.

In Washington, DC, in May for the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, their special guest speaker Phil Hansen unveiled an incredible piece of artwork that showcases all of the nation’s 2018 RPAC Major Investors – within the iconic image of the NAR building in DC overlooking the U.S. Capitol.

You too can see the image at https://realtorparty.realtor/rpac50#art. It was an honor in 2017 to be the first island Realtor® inducted to NAR’s Hall of Fame (those plagues are atop the same NAR building in DC). To then find my name on this amazing piece of art is exciting too. Either search for my name or zoom into frame “H3” and you will find it.

Commitment to RPAC equates to caring about real estate, personal property rights, and home ownership. Congratulations RPAC on your 50th anniversary.

Sanibel Bunnies

The July/August 2019 issue of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) member update includes info about island rabbits. Since last summer, their population here has increased dramatically. At Sanibel Square, I see at least two each evening when I close up and often make a game of counting how many I see driving home at night. My record count for that short drive (less than 3 miles) is 54 bunnies. At home in the evening just before sunset, at least one is munching my grass. They sure are cute! Below are some excerpts from SCCF’s article:

“The marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) is a native species in Florida and can be found throughout the state. Throughout most of their range they are considered a species of least concern for conservation purposes, but the Florida Keys subspecies, the Lower Keys rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) is both state and federally endangered. Though they are from the same family as cottontails, marsh rabbits lack the signature white fluffy tail of their relatives.

“Marsh rabbits are strong swimmers and tend to walk using all four legs rather than hop like most rabbits. Their predators include alligators, owls, hawks, bobcats, and coyotes. In addition to threats from predators, flooding and hurricanes can take a toll on rabbit populations by flooding out their nesting habitat.

“Rabbits breed year-‘round in south Florida, but the peak of breeding takes place between December and June. The marsh rabbit’s preferred home is in wetland habitat, especially freshwater marshes. Over time, the landscape of Sanibel has changed significantly, leaving much less acreage of freshwater marshes and cordgrass swales. In the absence of natural fire regimes, many of these marshes have begun to fill in with hardwoods like buttonwood. Our freshwater marshes are not only important for our rabbits, but also for our only endemic animal species: the Sanibel Island rice rat (Oryzomys palustris sanibeli). Both of these small mammals are also important prey species for our native hawks and owls, who also suffer the loss of this important habitat type.

“SCCF and other agencies on the island conduct occasional prescribed burns to maintain healthy marshes and swales for the benefit of all our native wildlife. In addition to prescribed burns, SCCF mows some of these areas during the dry season and engages in mechanical removal of buttonwood.

“As our city’s vision statement says: “Sanibel is and shall remain a barrier island sanctuary, one in which a diverse population lives in harmony with the island’s wildlife and natural habitats.” Our native rabbit population is currently experiencing a natural boom, which will eventually subside. Below is a list of plants for your landscaping consideration. If you have questions about landscaping to attract or to naturally deter rabbits, please stop by our Native Landscapes and Garden Center at the Bailey Homestead Preserve….”

Plants that rabbits like to eat:

  • Firebush (Hamelia patens)
  • Gaillardia/Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)
  • Dune Sunflowers (Helianthus debilis)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Grasses-Muhley Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Fakahatchee Grass (Tripsacum dactyloides), Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata), Dwarf Fakahatchee (Tripsacum floridanum)
  • Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) • Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii)

“Plants that rabbits don’t like to eat:

  • Red Salvia (Salvia coccinea)
  • Southern River Sage (Salvia misella)
  • Bahama Cassia (Senna mexicana var. chapmanii)
  • Cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco)
  • Coontie (Zamia pumila)
  • Quailberry (Crossopetalum ilicifolium)
  • Walter’s Viburnum (Viburnum obovatum)
  • Several aqautics: Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica), Canna Lily (Canna flaccida), Lizard’s Tail (Saururus cernuus)
  • Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa)
  • Gopher Apple (Licania michauxii)”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 28-July 5, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Seashells #12 2/2 $395K, Sundial West #I405 1/1 $435K, Sundial West #J201 1/1 $550K.

2 price changes: Sanibel Arms West #M1 2/2 now $511K, Pine Cove #202 3/2 now $1.4M.

1 new sale: White Caps #5 1/1 listed at $499.9K.

1 closed sale: Captains Walk #F4 1/1 $315K (our listing).

HOMES

2 new listings: 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $499K, 1119 Seagrape Ln 2/1 $800K.

3 price changes: 632 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $725K, 4339 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 now $750K, 1520 Angel Dr 5/5.5 now $1.595M.

3 new sales: 1175 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $738K, 6406 San-Cap Rd 3/3.5 listed at $899K, 5313 Punta Caloosa 4/3 listed at $899K.

2 closed sales: 1311 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $875K, 2303 Troon Ct 3/3.5 $1.085M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 2486 Wulfert Rd $139K, 933 Strangler Fig Ln $495K.

2 price changes: 0 Island Inn Rd now $750K, 1800 Woodring Rd now $2.695M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 5618 Baltusrol Ct $305K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2417 1/1 now $510K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16813 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $2.25M.

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.

May your holiday fun continue right through the weekend,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan