Sanibel’s White Pelicans, Warm Weather, Special Shells, Real Estate, & Veterans


Happy Friday, FB friends. It was another busy week at SanibelSusan Realty with more listing inquiries, more showings, more open houses, more follow-up on upcoming closings, a nice new listing, and another in the works. As the November snowbirds started arriving, there was a noticeable boost in local traffic too. Speaking of birds, the white pelicans are back! Hundreds have been photographed on-island this week – many in the waters of the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and Clam Bayou. Those are always an indication of a change in the seasons.

There also was a little drop in temperatures with daytimes now in the 80’s. The forecast for the end of next week has even cooler daytime weather coming. Cooler here, meaning in the 70’s – perfect weather for shoveling beach sand and shells. With good shelling reports including two junonias pictured in today’s “Island Sun”, it is a great time to be in Florida.

Below are a couple of news items, followed by the action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Not many new sales were announced at our East-end Realtor Caravan meeting yesterday, but business is picking up.

At the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®, the Christmas tree is up in preparation for our annual “Fall Into Christmas” fundraiser for Friends Who Care which is next Thursday after work. Our members will be donating toys and gift cards for those in need. The Association’s food drive for the F.I.S.H. San-Cap food pantry also is underway and continues until the end of the year.

Weekend Happenings

Island Seniors’ Annual Trash & Treasures Sale – tomorrow, Saturday, Nov 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Center-4-Life on Library Way.

38th Taste of the Islands – benefitting CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) on Sunday, Nov 10 from noon to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty). Music by Private Stock Bank, food samples from 14 island establishments, plus silent auction items and CROW ambassadors inside the Community House. Entry fee is $7/person with children under 12 free.

Annual Sanibel Veterans Day Ceremony – Around the flagpole at City Hall at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov 11. Hosted by the City of Sanibel and Lee Coast Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, featuring music and guest speakers. The City proudly has 24 veterans among their workforce.

Protecting Florida Together

For those near and far, following Florida’s water quality reports is challenging. There are many on-line postings, particularly on social media, that are outdated and inaccurate. On Tuesday, during a conference at Lovers Key State Park on Fort Myers Beach, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the creation of a new website that focuses on state water quality. The website, called Protecting Florida Together, allows members of the public to check water quality status in three bodies of water: the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River. The Governor said that by next year, users also will be able to get info on water in other bodies of water in Florida. With 66 million state visitors during the first half of this year, the website is meant to get meaningful information out to Floridians, their families, and those coming here. The site also offers ways users can volunteer to help improve water quality. There also is a timeline of action the state has taken to improve water quality.

Sanibel to Install Red Tide Signs

In another effort to combat misinformation, James Evans, Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources announced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that the City is getting ready to install signs on island public beaches. The signage will include red tide info with a description of where there is a red tide bloom, what health symptoms are associated with red tide, and websites/phone numbers to get additional info (via the Florida Dept of Health website). The signs also will have an explanation of the differences between a red tide caution and an alert. Evans described the current red tide status as a “patchy bloom” and that “It’s all about being transparent, but it’s also about providing correct information.”

Who’s Buying Rental Vacation Property?

From the Nov/Dec 2019 issue of “Florida Realtor”: “Some 75% of prospective vacation rental buyers have a combined family income of less than $150,000 per year. Over a quarter of prospective vacation rental buyers are in their 20’s and 30’s. This new generation of investors is looking to cash in on the sharing economy-driven vacation rental boom.” Source – Vacasa 2019 Vacation Rental Buyers Profile (FYI, with 5,000+ employees, Vacasa managers 23,000+vacation properties in 17 countries.)

Closing Checklist for Sellers

Good scoop here from homelight.com, the balance.com, Florida Realtors:

“You may already have gathered all the paperwork you need for closing day, but there are a few other tasks to handle before you get to the closing table.

  • Clean the entire house, including inside drawers & cabinets.
  • Close utility accounts & have them shut off or transfer accounts on the day of closing.
  • Place all keys (house, mailbox, pool, etc.), garage remotes, alarm & gate codes, etc. in one place, such as a drawer closest to the refrigerator.
  • Create a packet of appliance manuals, service contracts, written warranties, etc. & place them in the same drawer.
  • Visit usps.com/manage/forward.htm to direct the post office to forward your mail. Also, consider leaving a large stamped envelope that’s addressed to your new home so the buyers can forward any important mail that ends up at your former home.
  • Cancel newspaper subscriptions, if any.
  • Do a final sweep of every drawer, cabinet, & surface to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
  • Lock up the house, turn off the lights, & close the blinds on the way out.
  • Make a note to cancel homeowner’s insurance after the closing is complete & the title has been transferred or the deed recorded.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity November 1 – 8, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sundial #F408 1/1 $499K, Sanibel Arm West #A1 2/2 $534K, Lighthouse Point #211 2/2 $599K (our listing), Oceans Reach #4C1 2/2 $899K.

Lighthouse Point aerial looking toward San Carlos Bay & the causeway

3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #842 2/2 now $579K, Sand Pointe #111 2/2 now $699K, Kings Crown #102 2/2 now $975K.

2 new sales: Sanibel Siesta #108 2/2 listed at $579K, Tarpon Beach #104 2/2 listed at $1,149,555.

2 closed sales: Sundial #J201 1/1 $542K, Sanibel Moorings #1341 2/2 $670K.

HOMES

7 new listings: 1458 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex $489.9K, 5297 Punta Caloosa Ct 2/3 $789K, 1410 Sanderling Cir 3/2 $875K, 966 Kings Crown Dr 3/2 $1.06M, 1333 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.095M, 2477 Wulfert Rd 3/4 $1.375M, 5044 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $2.15M.

7 price changes: 730 Cardium St 2/2 now $579K, 1418 Sanderling Cir 3/3 now $599.5K, 743 Windlass Way 3/2 now $649K, 1410 Albatross Rd 3/3 now $779K, 5422 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 now $975K, 2857 Wulfert Rd 4/5 now $1.298M, 5250 Caloosa End Ln 3/2.5 now $1.389M.

2 new sales: 706 Nerita St 3/2 listed at $774K, 1243 Sand Castle Rd 4/4 listed at $1.05M.

2 closed sales: 1324 Seaspray Ln 3/3 $1.05M, 725 Donax St 6/6 $1.22M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 4334 West Gulf Dr $989K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4212 1/1 now $368.9K, Lands End Village #1608 3/3 now $2.149M.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #11 4/3 listed at $2.35M.

1 closed sale: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 $627.5K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16596 Captiva Dr 6/8.5 listed at $6.499M.

1 closed sale: 15161 Wiles Dr 5/5.5 $2.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 16151/16155 Captiva Dr $7.9M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

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

Enjoy your weekend & don’t forget to honor Veterans on Monday (& every day). If you are on-island, keep an eye out for one of these shells. Painted by Amy Cloud & posted on “Sanibel Shells” Facebook page, Amy created these in honor of her Dad who is a WWII veteran & celebrating his 97th birthday. She said the Sanibel Shell fairies will be sprinkling them here. To all veterans, thank you for your service, & a special birthday thank you to Amy’s Dad. Also thanks to Amy for sharing her photo!

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Things are Hoppin’ On Sunny Sanibel


Susan here, reporting a record-breaking weekend followed by a busy week at SanibelSusan Realty. Before those details, here are a few photos taken after I left the office last night. With no rain for several days, water and waterways surrounding the island are clear. These pictures in order include:

  • Tarpon Bay taken from next to SCCF’s Marine Lab and Tarpon Bay Explorers
  • Turner Beach looking toward the bridge to Sanibel and to the gulf
  • Roosevelt Channel to Pine Island Sound, taken from behind the Green Flash restaurant.

Tarpon Bay Explorers 10-03-19

Turner Beach 10-03-19

Turner Beach again 10-03-19

Green flash to channel 10-03-19

A combination of circumstances kept the SanibelSusan Team hoppin’ with three new sales, including the two properties we just listed last week. Sometimes when a new listing hits Multiple Listing Service (MLS), there are buyers waiting for a property like that. Often their Realtor also is watching new inventory for them.

There usually is a jump in interest too whenever an asking price is reduced under the next $100K mark. With most internet search engines having drop-down menus in those increments, once a price is reduced, the listing gets noticed by prospective buyers who may have not considered the property before because the price was out of their budget range.

Sellers sometimes think that their first offer is too soon. But, even in multiple offer situations, it usually makes sense to see the first offer through to the end. Statistics show that the 1st offer often is the best offer. It also is important to recognize that sometimes there are terms as important as the price, like when the closing will occur, how serious the deposit is, Seller repair requirements, and what “outs” the contract has for the Buyer.

Getting a buyer to sign on the dotted line and negotiating the sale are just the first steps in getting a property sold. Working through contract contingencies often may be more challenging. Those may be things like the inspection/cancellation period in the “as is” contract. During that window, a buyer may view the property for the first time, have inspections, do due diligence on costs (like insurance, utilities, repairs), investigate making changes to the property (like adding a pool), or even change their mind.

The team tracks post-contract action items to ensure that they are successfully completed on time – things like escrow deposits, financing applications, applications to homeowners and condo associations, estoppel letter payments, appraisals, loan commitments, utility and service provider changes, etc.

The last seven days also brought us an unexpected and unusual number of hiccups with properties already under contract. I don’t know if that is what makes this business fun, but it certainly makes it interesting – ever changing – and reminds us that flexibility can be as crucial as follow-through.

The action posted since last Friday in the islands’ MLS is posted after a few news items below. We sure hope that this spurt of activity for us is an indication of what “season” will be like this year, but honestly, I think we just got lucky – and we are very thankful for it.

Sanibel’s Tax Rate Adopted – Lowest in Six Years!

Sanibelcityseal logoSanibel City Council recently took less than eight minutes to officially adopt the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. Approved and discussed at earlier budget hearings, the rolled back operating millage rate of 1.8922 mills is the lowest tax rate in the last six years. (A mill is $1 per every $1,000 of taxable valuation. The rolled back rate is the same rate it would take to generate the same amount of revenue in the coming fiscal year as was generated in the previous year.) The budget for the upcoming year is $73,266,546.

Mayor Ruane also noted that the millage rate is down 25% from its historical peak. Ruane explained that during the recession in 2007, the City’s total debt was high, and there were little reserves. In comparison, now, 12 years later, taxes are lower, reserves are replenished, the City has minimal debt that continues to drop off, and funds are available to allocate to large-scale projects like the Donax wastewater project.

Noteworthy from the budget is that Sanibel has received approximately $3.3 million of the $3.9 million expected from FEMA and the State of Florida for reimbursement of Hurricane Irma expenditures. If there are additional disaster needs through the end of hurricane season, the City has secured a $5 million line to use for immediate expenditures.

sanibel-fire-logo-e1539870118355New Website – Sanibel Fire & Rescue District

In compliance with State mandates, Sanibel Fire & Rescue District recently launched its new website at www.SanibelFire.com. It includes meeting dates, agenda, minutes, etc.

Island “Season” Begins & With Annual Events

  • San-Cap Motor ClubThe first Cars & Coffee Cruise-in of the season begins this week. Saturday, Oct 5 at Periwinkle Place Shopping Center from 9 to 11 a.m. with a lineup of classics, muscle cars, antiques, hot rods, and other vehicles on display. The Club usually holds this event the first Saturday of each month through season.
  • Sanibel Farmers Market – begins this week. See you there Sunday, Oct 6, on the grounds of City Hall (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Be sure and bring your recyclable bag – or buy one there. The market is both straw and plastic bag free! More info at www.BuyLocalLee.com
  • BIG ARTS Community Chorus – fall schedule runs from Oct 15 to Dec 9. While the new BIG ARTS building is under construction, chorus meets Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Strauss Theater. Join SanibelSusan who’s been with the group since it began in the early 90’s. No auditions are required, all ages and abilities welcome. Fall performances include: Sunday, Nov 24 at Community Thanksgiving Celebration at The Community House; Friday, Dec 6 at Center-4-Life Luncheon at the Sanibel Rec Center; Friday, Dec 6 at Bailey’s Shopping Center for Luminary caroling; Tuesday, Dec 10 Holiday Concert. The spring schedule runs from Jan 7 to Mar 31, with rehearsals beginning Jan 28 at the new Performance Hall. Spring performances include: Saturday, Jan 25 at BIG ARTS Gala showcasing the new building and performance hall; Wednesday, Feb 19 at Annual FISH Luncheon at The Community House; Thursday, Mar 19 at Center-4-Life Dinner at The Sanibel Rec Center; Wednesday & Thursday, Apr 1 & 2 Spring Concerts at new BIG ARTS Performance Hall.
  • Howl-O-Ween Fundraiser – Friday, Oct 27, 5 to 7 p.m. at Over Easy Café patio. Includes pet costume contest and fundraiser to benefit Flying Fur Animal Rescue. $10 donation includes beer, wine, and yappitizers.
  • 38th Annual Taste of the Islands – CROW’s annual fundraiser featuring local island restaurants is Sunday, Nov 10 from noon to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty). Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving sick, injured, and orphaned native and migratory wildlife. Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education, and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and animals through wildlife medicine. For more info, or to plan your visit, go to http://crowclinic.org . If you find an animal needing help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.
  • SCCF’s Wine in the Wild – Friday, Nov 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Bailey Homestead Preserve. Usually a sell-out, tickets will NOT be available at the door. Five food stations will be set up each featuring a dish from one of Sanibel’s finest kitchens – Catering by Leslie Adams, Cielo, Malia, Sanibel Catering Company, and Sweet Melissa’s Café. Each will be paired with a wine. Dessert buffet by Normal Love confections, followed by live auction. Reservations through Linda Uhler at 239-472-3817.

 

Upcoming at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

  • EveryKidOutdoors LogoEvery Kid Outdoors Program – The U.S. Department of Interior recently extended the Every Kid Outdoors Program (formerly Every Kid in a Park) for another seven years. The program grants fourth-grade students a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas – including J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge — with their families, classmates, and friends. To obtain the free pass, fourth-grade students visit www.everykidoutdoors.gov , participate in a short educational activity, and download a voucher. The voucher is valid for multiple uses between Sep 1, 2019, and Aug 31, 2020, to correspond to the traditional school year. The voucher may be exchanged for a keepsake pass at “Ding” Darling or other participating federal lands. The voucher or pass allows free entry for fourth graders, all children under age 16 in the group, and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in public lands like “Ding”) to most federally managed lands and waters. The pass does not cover amenity fees such as kayak rentals or boat rides.
  • Ding Darling DayDing’ Day Combines Art with Family Fun – Two-time Federal Duck Stamp winner Scot Storm will travel from Minnesota to headline the “Ding” Darling Day Duck Stamp Presentation on Sunday, Oct 20, from 1 to 1:45 p.m. He will sign stamps following his presentation. Florida Junior Duck Stamp winner Anna Grace Swanson from Titusville will also be on hand to meet and greet. “This year, we have folded Conservation Art Day together with ‘Ding’ Darling Day Family Fun Day,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. Go to www.dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/ding-darling-days  for a full schedule of activities. Duck Stamp
  • Merit Badge University – On Oct 26, the Refuge will host its second annual Merit Badge University for registered Boy Scouts of America. Support for the program comes from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, LCEC, and Tarpon Bay Explorers, the Refuge’s recreation concession. Scouts from around the nation will have the opportunity to earn up to two out of six badges being offered that day. Ding Merit BadgeThey include Bird Study, Photography, Cycling, Kayaking, Fishing, and Fly Fishing. Class sessions run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 27 – October 4, 2019

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Shores #A2 2/2 $459K, Sanibel Arms West #H5 2/2 $559K.

5 price changes: Sundial #A306 2/2 now $729,999; Sanctuary Golf Villages #5-1 2/2.5 now $754.5K; Heron at The Sanctuary II #2B 3/3.5 now $778K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #3B 3/2.5 now $850K, Sundial #K103 2/2 now $889K.

3 new sales Breakers West #A5 2/2 listed at $499.9K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 listed at $739K. Pine Cove #201 3/2 listed at $1.395M (our listing, view below).

Lanai d

1 closed sale: Sundial #I103 1/1 $435K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 9440 Cotten Ct 3/2 $650K, 749 Cardium St 3/2 $689K, 4397 Gulf Pines Dr 3/3 $795K, 9094 Mockingbird Dr 4/3.5 $895K, 1345 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.12M, 1081 Captains Walk St 4/2.5 $1.195M, 1717 Venus Dr 3/2.5 $1.299M, 747 Windlass Way 4/3.5 $2.45M.

3 price changes: 9448 Begonia Ct 3/2.5 now $599K (our listing, pictured below), 1973 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 now $599.9K, 911 Almas Ct 3/2.5 now $1.375M.

Image 3 c.jpg

6 new sales: 1365 Tahiti Dr 2/2 listed at $449K (our listing, pictured below), 1695 Serenity Ln 3/2 listed at $499K, 1731 Serenity Ln 4/3 listed at $639K, 1586 Century Ct 3/2.5 listed at $665K, 4080 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $995K (our buyer), 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 listed at $1.189M.

default

1 closed sale: 980 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $509K.

LOTS

3 new listings: 1872 Middle Gulf Dr $495K, 2299 Starfish Ln $549K, 1874 Middle Gulf Dr $979K.

1 price change: 1048 Fish Crow Rd now $394.9K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 0 Dinkins Lake Rd $240K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Homes #11 4/3 $2.35M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 listed at $638K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 10 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 $995K.

1 price change: 15819 Captiva Dr 5/5 now $9.1M.

1 new sale: 14981 Binder Dr 3/3 listed at $995K.

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.

Until next Friday! If you are thinking about wintering on Sanibel, please don’t delay buying or making reservations.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

 

Island Life – Getting Back to Normal


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

Post Irma Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel Approves Budget; Irma Plays Big Role

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water Quality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump Signs NFIP Extension Into Law

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

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

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

36th Annual Taste of the Islands

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

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

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

SanibelSusan Realty Scoop

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

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

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

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

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

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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

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

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

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

HOMES

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

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

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

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

LOTS

1 new listing: 6411 Pine Ave $363.5K.

No price changes.

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

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

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

No price changes or new sales.

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

HOMES

No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Woohoo…Sanibel/Captiva Island Real Estate Activity Has Picked Up!


dolphins-with-baby

It has been another busy real estate week on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Several SanibelSusan Realty listings had excellent showings and we also had several good meetings with owners considering selling. One new listing is effective this week and another will be posted in a few days, and another a few days after that. I was out showing to several parties, several times, while Teammates David and Lisa also were showing yesterday. It’s great to see almost as much action as the November dolphins jumping in the above photo. (Note the Mama with baby on the right.)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday’s Realtor® Caravan Meeting was not as well attended as last week, but the National Association of Realtors annual convention, being held in Orlando this year, may have something to do with that.

This wek the Sanibel/Captiva Caravan of new listings was for West End properties. Next week, when it rotates to East End, we will have two new listings open (from 9 a.m. until noon).

The activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

Interest Rates Stay Put, But Door Open For December Hike

Florida Realtors logoYesterday, FloridaRealtors® on-line posted the following:

“The Federal Reserve held its key interest rate steady Wednesday and left the door open to a December rate hike amid an improving economy. In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed said it decided to keep its federal funds rate at a historically low 0.4%.

2000px-US-FederalReserveBoard-Seal.svg“The Fed said “the case for a rate increase strengthened,” but policymakers decided, “for the time being, to wait for some further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives.” That largely mirrored the September statement, except the Fed added that only “some” advances are needed, suggesting a rate hike may be at hand. The statement added that “inflation has increased somewhat since earlier this year” and removed its previous assertion that “inflation is expected to remain low in the near term.”

“The Fed’s preferred measure of annual inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, is still below its 2% annual target, but it has edged up steadily this year, reaching 1.7% recently. That could pave the way for a rate hike as soon as December.

“Stocks, already on pace for a seventh day of losses, fell further after the statement but shortly began staging a recovery. Some economists said the Fed was unlikely to send an explicit signal of a December rate increase similar to a reference in October 2015 to a possible hike at the “next meeting.”

With markets already pricing in an increase anyway, Fed officials would prefer not to close off their options, economists said. “Absent substantial shocks, they’re set on December,” says UBS economist Drew Matus.

“Among potential shocks are a contested presidential election next week or a victory by Republican Donald Trump that roils markets, economist Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics says.

“After Wednesday’s statement was released, fed fund futures reckoned there was a 72% chance the Fed will lift its benchmark rate at a Dec. 13-14 meeting, up from 68% a day earlier.

“It was unlikely the Fed would act just days before the election, potentially disrupting markets and coloring perceptions of the economy and presidential candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton.

USATodayLOGO“The Fed has stood pat since raising its federal funds rate in December for the first time in nine years, citing factors such as China’s economic slowdown, the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote, volatile markets and a spring slump in U.S. job growth.” Copyright © 2016, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson

Upcoming Island Events

bait_box_new_logoTomorrow – Saturday – Esperanza Woodring Memorial Cast Net Rodeo – beginning at 8:30 a.m. at The Bait Box, 1041 Periwinkle Way.

Nov 6 – Sunday – Sanibel Blues & Jazz Festival – 1 to 7 p.m. at Bailey’s Center.veterans-day

Nov 11 – Friday – Veterans Day Ceremony – beginning at 11:45 on the grounds of Sanibel City Hall.

Nov 13 – Sunday –  CROW’s 35th “Taste of the Islands” 12 to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty). SanibelSusan will be working with the front door open (to attract some business & hear the music).

TASTEoftheISLAND-4c-B

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 28-November 4, 2016

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Blind Pass #A205 2/2 $449K, Sundial East #P201 2/2 $789K, Sandpiper Beach #504 2/2 $789K, Gulf Beach #102 2/2 $799K, (our listing, photos below), Surfside 12 #A4 3/2 $869K, Nutmeg Village #100 2/2 $1.195M, Compass Point #192 2/2 $1.295M.

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1 price change: Sundial West #F103 2/2 now $459.5K.

2 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #B8 2/2 listed at $529.9K, Villa Sanibel #2G 2/2 listed at $589K.

4 closed sales: Tennisplace #D21 1/1 $212.85K, Casa Blanca #8 1/1 $255K, Sundial West #F105 1/1 $385K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 $437K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1411 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $439K, 743 Elinor Way 3/2 $695K, 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 $725K, 5306 Umbrella Pool Rd 4/4 $895K, 941 Pecten Ct 3/2 $975K, 6494 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 $2.495M.

7 price changes: 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 now $574.9K, 4215 Old Banyan Way 3/3 now $699K, 1809 Bowmans Beach Rd 3/2 now $799.9K, 5757 Pine Tree Dr 3/2.5 now $850K, 660 Oliva St 3/3 now $899K, 1724 Bunting Ln 3/4 now $995K, 6129 Starling Way 3/2.5 now $1.39M.

1 new sale: 1150 Schooner Pl 2/2 listed at $599K.

2 closed listings: 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $399K, 988 Beach Rd 3/3 $850K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 602 Boulder Dr $459K.

1 price change: 9426 Sage Ct now $269K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1242 Anhinga Ln $495K.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $315K, Beach Homes #18 4/3 $3.495M.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #4102 1/2 $277.5K, Bayside Villas #5240 1/2 $320K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5/5 $2.599M.

2 price changes: 14980 Binder Dr 4/3 now $1,377,991; 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 now $2,343,981.

1 new sale: 11537 Laika Ln 4/3 listed at $1.575M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, when hopefully we have more real estate action to report, here are a few more dolphins showing off!

Happy weekend! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

more-dolphins

Columbus Day Weekend 2015 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


As another week comes to a close, SanibelSusan reports that although many new listings are coming on the market for “season”, there was not much sales action again this week.

Here is a quick summary of the Sanibel and Captiva real estate sales since the first of the year compared to last year and the year before. Also included is inventory today. Note these prices are averages.

SANIBEL   CONDOS # Average Price HOMES # Average Price LOTS # Average Price

For sale        84      $763,929                 101      $1,365,647           65         $462,128

Sold/closed Jan 1 to Oct 9:

2015            133     $674,347                 205         $876,028           36          $392,344

2014            132     $672,330                 174         $821,266           20          $452,903

2013            138     $563,493                 175         $922,938           18          $450,364

CAPTIVA   CONDOS # Average Price HOMES # Average Price LOTS # Average Price

For sale         37      $743,454                  36       $3,798,014           4        $2,234,750

Sold/closed Jan 1 to Oct 9:

2015              30      $1,112,050              19       $3,269,079            2          $2,847,500

2014              17           $660,471            23       $2,826,717            0           N/A

2013              27           $665,630           15       $2,642,267             1             $650,000

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

Here are a few news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

Island Weather, Happenings & Upcoming Events

Farmers Market Girls 10-4-2015Between some occasional showers, the opening of Sanibel’s Farmers’ Market last Sunday morning was a great success. Lots of locals were in attendance with a terrific variety of goods available for those looking for fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, prepared food, and much more. Big thank you to the market organizers, Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura.

Farmer Market bagsThis year they have some new recyclable shopping bags too, I bought a few to hold some future closing gifts!

Sanibel Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April. See you there!

Since last weekend, island weather has been pretty nice. Temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s, the humidity is down, and sunshine is expected every day for at least the next week.

Theater-in-SanibelTonight through Sunday – BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater – With a cast of 35 children, the debut of “Flat Stanley”, the 1st children’s theater show from Creative Theater Workshop is being performed at Strauss Theater.

Touring-the-Sanibel-Historical-Village-MuseumOctober 20 – Sanibel Historical Museum and Village reopens with new expanded hours. Opening two weeks earlier than last year and adding an additional day to their schedule, the Museum will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with guided tours from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

November 8 – 34th Annual Taste of the Islands – from 12 to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. This is CROW’s largest fundraiser of the year. Volunteers are needed, forms available at www.crowclinic.org

2015 Tast of the Islands

Through 2017, Market Should Stay Strong

More positive indicators in Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

Urban Land Insititute logo“You can expect at least three more years of favorable real estate conditions, with the overall housing market projected to continue expanding at steady levels from this year through 2017, according to a new survey from the Urban Land Institute Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate, based on 49 of the real estate industry’s top economists and analysts.

“Still, compared to previous forecasts, the latest ULI forecast is less bullish on its outlook. Overall, real estate indicators are expected to be better than their 20-year averages this year, except among the following indicators that are forecasted to perform worse: commercial property price growth, equity REIT returns, retail availability rates, and single-family housing starts.

““The latest Consensus Forecast has picked up on recent growth concerns and stock market corrections around the world,” says William Maher, ULI leader. “The U.S. economy and real estate markets are in much better shape than most other countries, but global economies and capital markets are increasingly inter-related. Still, the vast majority of indicators in the forecast indicate favorable economic and capital markets in the U.S., as well as moderately strong real estate fundamentals and investment returns.”

“Additional highlights from ULI’s Consensus Forecast:

  • Commercial property transaction volume is predicted to rise for another two years and then level off to $500 billion by 2017.
  • Commercial real estate prices are forecasted to rise by 10% in 2015 and then slow to a 6% increase in 2016 and to 4.5% in 2017 – below the long-term average
  • Vacancy rates are projected to decrease slightly for office and retail over the next three years. On the other hand, industrial availability rates and hotel occupancy rates are projected to improve in 2015 and then basically plateau in 2016 and 2017.
  • Single-family housing starts are projected to increase to 745,000 in 2015; 842,000 in 2016; and 900,000 in 2017. Despite the increases, starts are expected to remain below the 20-year average.
  • Home prices are expected to moderate to 5% this year; 4.3% growth in 2016; and 3.9% in 2017.”

What Zillow Doesn’t Want You To Know

buildzoom logoPosted on BuildZoom.com on Monday, this was written by their Chief Economist, Issi Romem:

“Almost every home buyer begins searching for his or her dream home online. Today, that largely means looking for listings on Zillow Group portals, Zillow and Trulia, or on Realtor.com.

“But which one is the best place to begin that search?

“Depending on where you happen to reside — and especially if you intend to relocate — the portal you choose to search may be more important than you realize.

“The crucial point for homebuyers, realtors and investors to take away is that the number of listings being provided still varies widely from city to city.

realtor.com“According to comScore, Zillow and Trulia combined attract far more web traffic than Realtor.com. However, since News Corp. acquired Realtor.com the number of unique visitors to that site has steadily grown, and notably has now surpassed Trulia to become the second most popular portal.trulia-logo

“But Realtor.com has a different advantage. Before its recent acquisition by News Corp., Realtor.com operator Move, Inc. had a 10-year head start, backed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This advantage has translated into the Realtor.com site having more timely, accurate and comprehensive nationwide listings. This is a result of receiving and updating data from almost all of the 800+ multiple listing services (MLSs) in the U.S. every 15 minutes.

Zillow logo“The discrepancy between the number and quality of listings available on the Zillow Group portals and on Realtor.com attracted a great deal of attention in April, when ListHub — a key aggregator of MLS data, now controlled by News Corp. — terminated the contract, and stopped providing listing information to Zillow Group.

“In anticipation of the event, Zillow Group scrambled to negotiate its own agreements with individual MLSs to obtain listings which it had previously obtained from ListHub. By mid 2015 Zillow Group had signed agreements with just over 300 MLSs.

“In April, we tracked the overnight change in the number of listings on the different portals after ListHub’s agreement with Zillow Group expired. Although the number of listings on Zillow and Trulia fell markedly overnight, we gave Zillow Group the benefit of the doubt by expressing our belief that it was well poised to obtain many more MLS agreements.

“Nevertheless, we soon faced a string of cease-and-desist letters from Zillow Group’s counsel, ordering us to retract the blog post on the grounds that we collected the information therein in an automated fashion that violated the portals’ terms of service. Fearing the implications of a lawsuit by a large corporation — regardless of the ultimate outcome — we obeyed the order by retracting the blog post.

“Since then, we have recorded the number of listings on Zillow.com and Realtor.com for the core cities of the 51 largest U.S. metro areas. So as not to violate Zillow.com’s terms of service we have done so manually (hence the limited number of cities). On Friday, Zillow Group issued us a new order to cease-and-desist….

“As of September 21, Zillow.com has fewer listings than Realtor.com in 42 out of 51 cities. The discrepancy is often quite substantial: in 30 of the 51 cities, Zillow.com has more than 20% fewer listings, and in 15 of the 51 cities Zillow.com is behind by more than 60%!

“In a handful of cities, notably Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Detroit, Zillow.com provides more listings than Realtor.com. While this may indicate the absence of some listings from Realtor.com, it may also reflect data quality issues in Zillow’s database, such as incorrect listing details, or duplicate or expired listings. We encourage readers to compare listings in these cities and form their own opinions. Here is a link to the guidelines for comparing apples-to-apples on the Zillow.com and Realtor.com websites.

“At least superficially, the numbers appear to support Realtor.com’s claim of having superior data, but does Realtor.com’s advantage matter for Zillow Group?

“As long as Zillow Group continues to draw substantially more traffic than Realtor.com, agents and brokers will continue to feel compelled to advertise on its portals. As a result, Zillow Group revenue is less sensitive to its listing coverage than one might think. Yet the danger remains that consumers will eventually recognize the discrepancy and flock to Realtor.com or elsewhere in search of more comprehensive and accurate listings. If this happens, agent and broker dollars will follow.

“Going forward, Zillow Group has the ability to close the listing gap as it continues to sign additional local MLS agreements, but will it succeed? Judging by its limited progress on this front between April and September…it is destined for an uphill battle. The nature of relationships between the MLSs and Zillow Group’s portals are the subject of passionate disagreement, and it appears that Zillow Group is finding it difficult to win over “multiple” hearts and minds.”

San Cap LogoFYI – The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service does not syndicate its listings through Zillow or any third party site. Through the islands association of Realtors, listings are on-line to members at SanCapMLS.com and to the public on SanibelRealtors.com and Realtor.com.

Since SanibelSusan also belongs to the Southwest Florida Regional MLS (SWFLRealtors.com), our listings are posted twice on Realtor.com. Because the regional MLS also offers syndication. Our listings also are on Zillow, Trulia, and other real estate search sites. Additionally through the regional MLS, our listings are shared with other participating Florida MLS’s, through a cooperative agreement called MLS Advantage.

The 8 Biggest Concerns for Realtors®

realtor logoGood write-up in the October issue of “Florida Realtor®” which says:

“Realtors® are strongly confident about the housing market’s outlook although confidence has eased since the beginning of this spring, according to a recent Realtors® Confidence Index, a monthly survey…about local market conditions. The Realtors® Confidence Index survey stressed these concerns:

  1. The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure regulations, which took effect October 3, and concerns that they could delay closings.
  2. Tight inventory with a limited number of homes for sale.
  3. Affordability issues: Fewer affordable homes so sellers are also hesitant to move.
  4. Financing issues, such as difficulty in qualifying for a mortgage due to higher FICO credit and down payment standards, a protracted mortgage approval process and condo-financing issues.
  5. Appraisal issues: conservative estimates, out-of-town appraisers, and slow turn-around.
  6. Rising interest rates.
  7. Declining demand from international buyers due to a strong U.S. dollar.
  8. Uncertainty about flood insurance rates and reform.”

Casa Ybel Sets the Bar High for Sanibel Island Resorts

Thistle Lodge View USA TodayNice article about Casa Ybel and Thistle Lodge on Monday’s USA Today’s “10Best.com”. (Both of these photos came from that web site.)

I had lunch at Thistle Lodge a couple of weeks ago and the food and view continue to be magnificent. Some don’t know that most of this resort is comprised of timeshare units, but the five westerly buildings of eight units each are privately-owned 1-bedroom condominiums called Cottage Colony West. None are currently available, but there always are buyers for these income-producers. I got a request just yesterday. There have been three sales there this year with prices back into the 6’s. Here’s the recent article from 10Best.com:

Thistle Lodge USA today“To get the story of one of the most historic beachfront resorts in the Fort Myers area, you’ll have to go back to the late 1800s. That’s when former missionary George Barnes homesteaded nearly 500 acres on Sanibel, building the island’s first church, a cottage that evolved into the first inn and eventually the award-winning Casa Ybel Resort.

“When one of the missionary’s daughters married a resort guest, the two built a Victorian home on the property, naming it Thistle Lodge. Celebrities and dignitaries the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford visited the lodge.

“Recreated in 1979, today it is home to a beloved restaurant for both resort guests and locals. Diners not only love the view of the beach from its big windows, but also the partnership between Thistle Lodge and winemakers at Rutherford Wine Company in Napa Valley, Calif.; they’ve created a private label Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. The rest of the wine list spans the globe, offering valuable tasting notes and affordable pricing.

One menu item not to miss is the Lobster and Lump Crab “Diver” Scallops. In this signature dish, scallops are topped with lobster and crab, encrusted and baked. The dish is finished with a citrus buerre blanc and served with baby field greens and jasmine rice. The Pecan Seared Salmon is another hit.

“While the menu leans heavily on seafood, the lodge serves succulent steaks, hand carved in house, along with an herb-crusted lamb and a veal tenderloin in a smoked pomodoro romesco.

“Besides at Thistle Lodge, guests can dine around the pool bar at Coconuts. The smell of the grill is hard to resist, as the resort has a popular grilling station every weekend and almost every day during season (winter and spring).

“As for the rest of the resort, managers are constantly upgrading its amenities and accommodations. The one- and two- bedroom suites are spacious and well equipped. Their screened lanais face the water, creating the perfect space for your morning coffee or evening cocktails. New this season are upgraded kitchens in all of the units.

““Some of the same people have been coming here for decades, so we are always trying to enhance their experience,” says Casa Ybel’s General Manager Froilan Ramirez. Casa Ybel has it all; it’s perfect for romance, while still accommodating to families. The Kids Club offers daily themes and activities that range from lizard hunting to arts and crafts. The resort even offers babysitting services to allow parents a date night. If you must do some work during your vacation, the resort Wi-Fi has been shored up enough to reach the beach, for your office under an umbrella.

“Other amenities include tennis and basketball courts, along with clinics to improve your skills. Less strenuous activities include horseshoe and croquet, to name a few.

“However, some of the best things to do are on the beach. Casa Ybel’s striking, white-sand beach is full of shells and beautiful blue water. It’s also host to some of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see.

“The grounds here are gorgeously landscaped, providing a calm, inviting atmosphere. Many guests like the fact that Casa Ybel is slightly off the beaten path, yet still a quick bike ride to shopping, nature preserves and other sites. One getaway here, and you’ll understand why visitors return year after year.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 2-9

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Captains Walk #B8 2/2 $335K, Sanibel Arms #B1 1/1 $369K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 $559.9K, Compass Point #111 2/2 $1.159M, Sunset South #5A 2/2 $1.224M, Gulfside Place #203 2/2 $1.295M, Sanibel Seaview #1 2/2 $1.349M.

3 price changes: Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/2.5 now $625K, Sundial #T302 2/2 now $729K, Seascape #301 3/3 now $1.195M.

1 new sale: Sundial #F201 2/2 listed at $729K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $995K.

1 price change: 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 now $2.795M.

2 new sales: 1148 Shell Basket Ln 4/2 duplex listed at $699K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 listed at $749K.

3 closed sales: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 $315K, 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 $462K, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2501 Wulfert Rd $249K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 2142 Starfish Ln $383.5K

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 $649K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 11490 Old Lodge Ln 3/3.5 now $1.298M, 16697 Captiva Dr 5/4 now $8.05M.

1 new sale: 15172/174 Wiles Dr 7/5.5 multi-family listed at $7M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 16297 Captiva Dr now $1.595M.

No new or closed sales.

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

christopher-columbus-day-clip-art-661308Best wishes for a terrific Columbus Day weekend 2015!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

P.S. Lots of new things to do have been added to the list under “Upcoming Island Events” above. Some get sold out early, so be sure to check the list often.

Sanibel Weekend Weather Forecast in Degrees F – Saturday 75 & Sunday 79 – WhoooHooo


SanibelSusan is back at her post this week where it is always great to get home and back to business even after a wonderful fun-filled vacation. Island traffic is noticeably heavier now than it was three weeks ago, while the weather remains mostly the same – sunny and picture perfect, unlike those nasty photos we are seeing on the news with snow and cold weather elsewhere.

Now through Easter is always a great time to be enjoying winter in Southwest Florida. I had lunch today with a colleague in the vacation rental business and he said that their phones are ringing off the hook with folks looking for last-minute holiday reservations.

Our listings had a few showings this week and our local Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan meetings have changed to the “season” schedule of every week. Following a few news items below is the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

On teammate David’s travels this week he took the following bird photos. I thought you might enjoy them too – from osprey to sandpiper to eagle. (Bet you notice the mono-filament line wrapped around the osprey too. It’s a good reminder to always be careful with that stuff.)

osprey fishing line

 

Sandpiper

Eagle

On the real estate front, the number of units available still is down, though business is picking up, albeit is slowly. Homes and larger-sized condos continue to be in most demand. All indications are that it will be a terrific winter with prices continuing to rebound – we sure hope so!

Island Sales Stat Summary

Sanibel                         Condos                        Homes                         Lots

                                     #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price

For sale                        112      708,608           149      1,308,066         90        503,335

Closings pending         16        634,519           21         948,452           5          305,180

2014 sold thru 11/12    145      661,379           183      823,155           22         453,957

2013                             161      573,557           197      910,321           26         416,502

2012                             151      551,244           183      823,598           33         487,687

Upcoming Island Events

Shell MuseumNov 16 – tomorrow – Sat – 19th Birthday The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum – so free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.shellmuseum.org

taste of the island logo_2014Nov 16 – Sun – 33rd Annual “Taste of the Islands” at The Dunes from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. (postponed from last week)

BIG Arts logoNov 21 – Fri – BIG ARTS Strauss Theater reopens for the 2014/2015 season with “Divas” which includes hits by some of the most successful female vocalists including Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, & Whitney Houston. “Divas” runs until Dec 4, www.bigarts.org/theater

Sanibel Community HouseNov 23 – Sun – Sanibel Thanksgiving Celebration at The Community House at 6:45 p.m. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus (& your favorite (I hope) alto) will be performing.

Luminary SantaDec 5 – Fri – 30th Annual Sanibel Luminary from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. (rumor has it that there will be another flash mob at Bailey’s this year)

Dec 6 – Sat – Captiva Luminary from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Captiva Boat paradeDec 13 – Sat – Captiva Holiday Village 5th Annual Lighted Boat Parade at 6 p.m.

 

 

It’s Final: News Corp Acquires Realtor.com®

Realtor.com logosToday’s announcement from “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“Media giant News Corp has officially completed its acquisition of Move, Inc., firming up its stake in the online real estate arena and tying its name to the REALTOR® brand. Move, Inc. is a leading provider of online real estate services and the operator of realtor.com®. News Corp says the merger will extend the media company’s global and digital operations as well as “bolster the real estate pillar of its business.”

“In partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® and its one million members, we look forward to turbo-charging realtor.com® and making it the most popular and profitable property site in America,” Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement.

“News Corp, a media and publishing business of which Rupert Murdoch serves as the executive chairman, owns such titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s. It also has a majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd., a leading Australian residential property website. The Move network of websites reaches more than 30 million online visitors per month.

““We provide people with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to make the best and most informed real estate decisions, and we work to uphold the indispensable role of the professional in the real estate experience,” Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, told REALTOR® Magazine in late September after the merger was announced.   “News Corp shares our vision, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such good news for our customers, consumers, and the industry as a whole.”

“National Association of REALTORS® President Chris Polychron praised the deal.  “The National Association of REALTORS® is excited about NewsCorp’s successful acquisition of Move, Inc.,” Polychron said in a statement released this morning. “REALTORS® are about making consumers’ real estate dreams a reality, and the unique strengths of News Corp, Move, and our REALTOR® members will enhance our ability to do that. NAR looks forward to its new partnership with News Corp and is committed to working with both companies to seek and develop new opportunities that help REALTORS® and consumers flourish in today’s real estate marketplace.””

The Next Big Home Feature Buyers Want?

Here’s some info from Wednesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on-line:

houses-clipartfree-christian-clip-art--image-of-a-house-a-home---cropped-image-xoshp3ls“Home owners are showing a bigger appetite for smart home technology. Nearly half of consumers — 46% — say it’s important their current home or the next home they purchase have smart home technology, according to a survey conducted by ERA Real Estate and HGTV of nearly 2,500 consumers who recently participated in an HGTV national focus group on smart home technology.

“Home owners and buyers say they see the value in smart home technology for comfort, safety, and cost savings, and 51% surveyed say they would consider installing smart home technology in their home to make their home more marketable to future home buyers.

“The younger segment of the millennial generation is the most likely age group to spend money on smart home technology — 10 times more likely than the percentage of generation X members who say they’d consider adding smart home technology to their homes, the survey reported. “While still a growing trend, smart home enhancements have the potential to increase savings, safety, and resale value,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “As we have seen through this survey and our one-on-one interactions with buyers and sellers, a smart home is one that is well positioned for the future and aligns with a growing reliance on mobile technology.”

“Indeed, 70% of millennials say it’s important that smart home technology integrate with their smartphone.

While smart home technology has often been thought to be driven by mainly security, survey researchers did not find security as the main motivation for adding smart home technology. Instead, home owners say they’re using or wanting smart home technology mainly because of the money-saving potential, such as through automated climate control, energy management, remote home monitoring, and lighting control systems. What’s more, consumers of all generations said they’d automate their thermostats before their lighting or security systems, and one in 10 Americans say they’d automate their TV over their lighting or security systems.”

Life Doesn’t Rise or Fall With Interest Rates

realtor logoAs a long-time fan of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, here is his article from the November “Realtor®Mag”:

“Housing market can weather the effects of expected mortgage spikes.

“Mortgage rates haven’t budged, remaining at historic lows throughout the year amid economic growth that has generated 2.5 million net new jobs over the past 12 months and a record high stock market. But uncertainty looms in light of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s announcement that the economic stimulus program known as “quantitative easing” will halt by year’s end. Moreover, an increase in the short-term Fed funds rate is expected by the middle of 2015. The course of U.S. monetary policy, in short, will be less accommodating going forward.

“In the meantime, perhaps because of geopolitical risks in the Middle East and Ukraine, or because of weaker economic conditions in Europe, a plentiful amount of money has flowed into the safe U.S. bond market, thereby holding interest rates down. Inflation has been low so far, too, rising only by 2%, another factor behind the low rates.

“Sooner or later, though, interest rates will have to rise. From the low 4% rate that prevailed for most of this year, the average mortgage rate will likely cross over the 5% threshold sometime in 2015 and probably rise to near 6% by 2016. Such a change makes homes less affordable, a clear negative for residential sales. But job creation and the accompanying rise in consumer confidence, along with some loosening of underwriting standards, might more than compensate for the rising rates.

“But what will be the impact on home owners who have locked in super low rates? How resistant will they be to giving those up? That’s something we’ll be tracking. But if past behavior is a guide, most home owners won’t stay put just to hang onto a low mortgage rate.

“Our own research supports this. Nearly half of recent buyers indicated the desire to have a different-sized home or live in a different neighborhood as the key reason for moving. Having kids and selecting a school district they like makes people move. Another third of recent movers cited changes in a job or ­marital status. Retirement was a factor for ­others. Only 3% mentioned changes in mortgage costs as a reason for moving.

“Low interest-rate lock-ins seem to matter far less than life cycle events. Even as rates move up, life moves on.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 7-14

Sanibel
CONDOS

4 new listings: Spanish Cay #C5 2/2 $379K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $520K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $795K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $895K.

4 price changes: Colonnades #51 1/1 now $179K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $459K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 now $694K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 now $849K.

3 new sale: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 listed for $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #301 2/2 listed for $449K, Sayana #103 2/2 listed for $715K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #I103 1/1 $314K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 $710K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 548 Chert Ct 2/2 $585K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 $589K, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 $2.995M.

4 price changes: 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $649.9K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.149M, 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.589M, 4265 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 now $4.395M.

2 new sales: 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 4/3 listed for $829K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $999.9K.

1 closed sale: 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 $975K.

LOTS

3 new listings: 707 Emeril Ct $319K; 5633 Baltusrol Ct $349,555; 4334 West Gulf Dr $959,959.

3 price changes: 6411 Pine Ave now $335K, 6486 Pine Ave now $399.9K (foreclosure), 4988 Joewood Dr now $529K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5230 1/2 listed for $309K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Whether selling or buying, please call The SanibelSusan Team.

Susan, David, Elise, and Lisa are island experts and ready to help you!

SANSLogo

November Real Estate & More on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


imageAs SanibelSusan has been moseying across the Atlantic, the rest of The SanibelSusan Team has been covering things on the islands. Big thank you to David, Elise, and Lisa for making that vacation possible. Now for the week’s Sanibel and Captiva scoop also penned by Elise and Dave:

It has been another beautiful weather week. Dave had a closing off-island and below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Multiple Listing Service this week. First a photo of the private fishing pier at Mariner Pointe. We still have two terrific listings there!

MPFishingPieraREALTOR® Party Allies Win Key Races

Posted by Realtor®Mag Wed, November 5th:

“Real estate issues stand to be well represented in Congress over the next two years as REALTOR® Party-backed candidates on both sides of the aisle won closely watched races in yesterday’s national midterm elections.

NAR-backed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is poised to become Majority Leader in 2015 with the Republican takeover of the Senate, has been a strong supporter of the mortgage interest deduction, rural housing development, and other top real estate issues throughout his 30-year career.

“NAR congratulates Sen. McConnell and looks forward to working with him on real estate–related policies important to REALTORS® and to all home and commercial property owners,” NAR President Steve Brown says.

McConnell had been in a tough race with Alison Lundergan Grimes, a business attorney in Lexington, but, as in several closely watched races throughout the country, the Republican ended up on the winning side.

On the crucial House Financial Services Committee, several real estate champions on both sides of the aisle retained their seats with strong support from the REALTOR® Party. These include Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz). In addition to receiving support for their campaigns from the REALTORS® Political Action Committee, they also benefited separately from independent expenditures from the REALTOR® Party. These independent expenditures include mailings and other types of outreach that are undertaken separately from, and without coordination with, the candidates’ campaign efforts.

In the Senate, Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who sits on the important Finance Committee, retained his seat with help from the REALTOR® Party independent expenditure program.

In all, the REALTOR® Party, which has been recognized as one of the most bipartisan national political operations in the country, charted a more than 90 percent win record in the elections, with wins coming on both sides of the aisle.”

Congratulations! Florida Voter Mandate Delivered on Amendment 1

Florida voters delivered the only mandate in the midterm election -in support of Amendment 1. Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment passed by a statewide vote of 75% well beyond the 60% needed. This is a great bipartisan victory that reflects residents understanding that protecting our natural resources protects our economy.

SCCF reports they plan to bring this mandate forward with them to the upcoming legislative session to fund restoration projects and protect and advance Florida’s award willing parks and wild places.

2014 Taxes

The Lee County 2014 real estate tax bill are out and posted at http://www.leepa.org.

City of Sanibel Marks 40th Anniversary of Incorporation

Saluting the city’s founding fathers as well as the citizens who were part of the push toward independence, more than 50 people gathered at MacKenzie Hall on Tuesday morning to mark the 40th anniversary of the historic vote to incorporate Sanibel as a city. The 45-minute celebration, attended by several former council members and mayors of the city, included personal remembrances, a display of historic photographs and artifacts as well as the singing of “Happy Birthday” To Sanibel. On November 4, 1974, an incredible 84.6% of all registered voters on Sanibel went to the polls, with 63.6% casting their ballots in favor of incorporation.

Free “Ding” Darling Kid’s Fishing Derby

Kids who are able to hold their own fishing pole can participate in the free 2nd annual “Ding” Darling Kids Fishing Derby to be held on the Sanibel Causeway Islands Park (Island A) on Saturday, November 8. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) co-sponsor the event. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on the causeway, and ages 15 and younger start fishing at 9 a.m. and finish at 11 a.m. An awards ceremony is at 11:30 a.m. Judges will record catches during the session. After the results are tallied, they will award winners in two age groups: 10 to 15, and 9 and younger. Based on total inches of fish caught, the refuge will award first, second, and third place prizes, plus awards for the largest and smallest fish hooked in both age categories. Participants should bring fishing poles, but Tarpon Bay Explorers will provide a limited number of loaner poles for those who don’t have their own equipment. Shallow Bait and Dale Shirley will be supplying the bait. Throughout the day, volunteers and staff will teach fishing skills and safe, ethical fishing practices and will engage children in fish crafts.

Taste of the Islands Postponed

Due to 90% chance of rain on Sunday, CROW’S Taste of the Islands at Dunes Golf and Tennis Club is being postponed until next Sunday, November 16, 2014 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Come out next weekend & support CROW.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 31-November 7

Sanibel
CONDOS
3 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #412 2/2 $499.9K, Nutmeg Village #307 2/2 $749K, West Shore #3 3/3 $1.795M.
3 price changes: Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 now $259.7K, Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 now $433.3K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 now $479.9K.
2 new sales: Sundial #C307 1/1 listed for $339K, Nutmeg Village #107 2/2 listed for $659.9K.
3 closed sales: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 2/2.5 $500K, Nutmeg Village #308 2/2 $725K, Sundial #E108 2/2 $780K.

HOMES
5 new listings: 1710 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 $699K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 $715K, 248 Daniel Dr 2/2 $749K, 251 Daniel Dr 3/2 $824.9K, 5424 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 half-duplex $899K.
6 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $439K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $539K, 857 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 now $1.029M, 190 Violet Dr 3/2.5 now $1.15M, 842 Limpet Dr 4/3.5 now $1.645M, 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 now $1.695M.
3 new sales: 2615 Tamarind Rd 2/2 listed for $37y9K, 1238 Par View Dr 3/3 listed for $799K, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 listed for $1.625M.
3 closed sales: 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $495K, 2735 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1M, 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 $1.165M.

LOTS
3 new listings: 3013 Poinciana Cir $250K; 1310 Par View Dr $379,555; 6419 Pine Ave $899K.
3 price changes: 1820 Farm Trail now $249K, 1429 Albatross Rd now $269K, 1311 Par View Dr now $279K.
1 new sale: 218 Violet Dr listed for $352K.
No closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
4 price changes: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 now $299.5K, Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 now $639K, Gulf Beach Villas #2031 2/2 now $670K, Lands End Village #1610 3/3 now $1.865M.
1 new sale: Beach Villas #2511 2/2 listed for $575K.
1 closed sale: Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 $850K.

HOMES
No new listings.
1 price change: 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 now $9.95M.
No new or closed sales.

LOTS
Nothing to report.

Until next weekend, SanibelSusan!

Labor Day Weekend 2014 on Sunny Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Summer weather abounds on the islands and The SanibelSusan Team is gearing up for the holiday weekend. There still are not many visitors here, but we started to see more action both at the beach and at restaurants yesterday with families arriving for the long weekend.

Palma

 

Even with the limited traffic, we had listings shown this week, with others scheduled over the weekend. It is the time of the year when lower price range properties tend to get more action, so we have our fingers crossed that some of these showings will be productive.

With temperatures in the low 90’s most days, it was a welcomed relief when the humidity dropped midweek giving way to bright sunny days with just occasional showers some evenings.

Sun

Dave and I were both out showing this week, homes by me, off-island investment condos by Dave. I also responded to several emails from prospective island condo buyers just beginning their search and we had a nice closing today!

Below are a couple of news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week.

Where to Have Lunch?

We always get inquiries this time of the year about what restaurants are open and which ones are closed. Here’s the latest from our travels this week:

Doc Fords SanibelDoc Ford’s was already closed for a few days for their pre-season work and have reopened.

Over Easy logoThe Over Easy Cafe will close for their deep clean and employee vacations from September 8-18.

Blue Coyote Supper Club logoThe Blue Coyote is closed on Sundays and Mondays through September.

Traders Store & CafeTraders Cafe will close after dinner service tomorrow night and be closed through September.

Sanibel Island Farmers Market

Sanibel Farmers MktWow, time is flying! I saw a posting this week that the Sanibel Island Farmers Market will be reopening for “season” on October 5. It also had a reminder that it was established in 2007.

That was the fastest summer and fastest seven years, I can remember! That’s my Sunday morning stop before the office, so see you there in a just a few more weeks! There’s nothing like eating fresh and buying local.

Taste of the Islands

taste of the island logo_2014Speaking of future events, if you enjoy CROW’s annual “Taste of the Islands”, mark your calendar for Sunday, November 9, when it will be held at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is the 33rd year for this fun event for the whole family that benefits CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) www.CROWClinic.org.

FISH is Moving

FishAs reported today in the “Island Sun”: “FISH, the 32-year-old non-profit, non-sectarian human services organization, will relocate from its current 2,192-square-foot space – at 1630B Periwinkle Way – to the

building currently occupied in the front by The Sangria Grill, at 2430 Periwinkle Way. The planning commission unanimously approved an application for conditional use approval that will allow FISH of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc. to move its headquarters to a new 3,500-square-foot office space.”

Sanibel Sprout Relocating to Bailey’s Center

Sanibel sproutAlso as reported in the “Island Sun” and at Tuesday’s Sanibel Planning Commission Meeting: “The owners of The Sanibel Sprout received conditional use approval to relocate their business to an approximately 1,000-square-foot space within the Bailey’s Shopping Center, which provides the health food store and juice bar with 20 indoor dining seats….Currently, the business operates from a space in the Palm Ridge Place Shopping Center, located at 2330 Palm Ridge Road.”

3 Reasons Mortgage Demand Is Dropping

loan approvedFrom “Daily Real Estate News” on Monday:

“Fixed-rate mortgages sank to the lowest average of the year last week, yet mortgage origination activity remains lackluster. Why aren’t more home buyers taking advantage of the lower borrowing costs? In a recent blog post, Freddie Mac analysts point to three main factors behind the decrease in mortgage originations:

  1. The refinancing boom has ended. From 2013 to 2014, mortgage applications for refinancings have fallen about 60%. Freddie Mac projects refinance applications will drop by another 50% from 2014 to 2015. When mortgage rates rise—as they are expected to soon—borrowers will have less incentive to refinance. Applications for home purchases are not expected to be able to fill the void from the refi boom.
  2. Home sales are down. Sales of existing and new homes have fallen about 5% during the first six months of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013, according to Freddie Mac. “A period of higher mortgage rates, a harsh winter, and slower economic growth compared to a year earlier contributed to the slowdown,” researchers explain.
  3. More buyers are paying cash. The number of borrowers who took out a mortgage to purchase a home is down compared to last year, but that could be due to more buyers using cash. In the first six months of this year, all-cash home sales were up slightly from 31% to 33%, according to National Association of REALTORS® data. Yet, “with rising home values and fewer distressed homes coming the market, expect the available inventory for all-cash buyers to trend down in the coming year,” researchers note.

“Freddie Mac researchers say the key to an increase in mortgage origination activity will be “sustained economic growth and jobs.” “Overall, recent economic and employment improvements should help bolster household formation and contribute to gains in construction, home sales—and also mortgage originations,” Freddie Mac researchers note. “However, even with these improvements, expect new and refinance mortgage origination volume for this year to be the lowest since 2000 at about $1.15 trillion.””

Strategies for Setting a Price for Your Home

wall street journalI love it when clients share articles they have seen that they think apropos for my blog. This one comes from “Wall Street Journal” Real Estate on line last week (thank you, Scott):

” What’s the perfect price when selling your home? Nobody knows. List too low and watch your investment slip away. List too high and drive potential buyers away.

BLINDED BY LOVE Sellers often overestimate the value of their homes for emotional reasons. To get top dollar for his Portland, Ore., home, Alex Hickman played lowball. He set his asking price below that of comparable homes nearby—and got six offers in four days. “We strategically listed it under market and tried to create kind of a frenzy,” says Mr. Hickman, a 26-year-old credit union examiner. Mr. Hickman purchased the home in 2005 for $325,000 and listed it for $497,000. He says a $505,000 asking price would have been more reflective of the market, especially since the property’s first-floor apartment could generate rental income. Mr. Hickman had also finished the basement of the home, which is in desirable Southeast Portland, an older neighborhood with few new construction projects. So his go-low pricing strategy was a gamble, one his real-estate agent initially counseled against.

PRICED TO THE NINES Research has found that pricing at $999,900 rather than $1 million influences buying decisions on a subconscious level. The home ‘seems way cheaper,’ one professor says. “It creates a havoc that doesn’t serve anyone well,” says Rebecca Walter, Mr. Hickman’s agent at Redfin. A low asking price doesn’t necessarily increase what buyers offer, she says, since they are more willing to compete on other terms of the contract, such as paying all cash for the purchase or waiving the inspection to speed the sale. “In residential real estate, the asking price is often as much about psychology as it is reality. Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., said that most home buyers don’t realize that setting an asking price is primarily a negotiating tactic. “When you set a list price, you’re sending a signal to the market,” he says.

Mike McCann, a real-estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Fox & Roach in Philadelphia, says pricing can be “a delicate balance.” Most sellers overestimate the worth of their home, he says, and some agents will start with a too-high price to avoid hard feelings. Others agents may start high just to get the seller’s business or, conversely, they’ll price too low for a quick sale and commission, he adds.

NOT BUDGING A precise asking price, such as $795,475, indicates that the seller is less open to negotiation. Most agents say that getting sellers to start with a realistic asking price is one of their biggest challenges. Steve Beckman spent $150,000 on renovations to his 100-year-old farmhouse in Ojai, Calif., which he purchased for $325,000. When selling five years later, Mr. Beckman, a 61-year-old retired landscape designer, asked $500,000—with both financial and emotional factors coming into play. It sat on the market for almost 1½ years, eventually selling for $242,000, far less than he and his wife, Mary, had wanted. “We didn’t even get a nibble at the asking price,” says Mr. Beckman. “Nobody cares what you paid for it.”

“Large gaps between the asking and sale price are somewhat uncommon, says Stan Humphries, chief economist at real-estate website Zillow. In May, median sale prices were only 3% lower than asking prices in 35 metro areas across the U.S., according to a Zillow analysis. Separately, real-estate agents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said that only 3% of homes sold for less than 23% below the asking price in 2013; and only 2% of homes sold at 12% or more above asking price.

“Homes without comparable sales data often see the widest price gaps, says Prof. Seiler. If the property has historic value, for example, is set on a unique plot of land or has a one-of-a-kind design, it can be more difficult to price. Without comparables, “an appraiser will have no clue what a property is worth and a buyer wouldn’t know either,” he said.

GOING LOW Asking below market price can generate a ‘frenzy’ of offers—but doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher sale price. Comparable prices become less relevant when inventory in a desirable neighborhood is unusually low. “This creates a real feeding frenzy for real estate,” Mr. Humphries says.

No one claims to fully understand the psychology of pricing. But some common practices have emerged. For example, research has found that an exact asking price, such as $795,475, often indicates that the price is less negotiable than a round number, such as $800,000, Prof. Seiler says. “Those using precise pricing show confidence in the price,” he says. Additionally, pricing at $999,900 rather than $1 million influences buying decisions on a subconscious level. The home “seems way cheaper,” according to Prof. Seiler. And even when a home sells above asking price, the initial lower asking price can make buyers feel like they are getting a great deal. “The goal is to make it stick in your head that you’re getting a bargain,” he says. “It’s the way our brain looks at numbers.”

“Developer Sebastian Rein took that approach when he priced a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles at $2.995 million—just $5,000 less than the intended $3 million price tag. The strategy got the property “a wider audience,” he says. The 4,400-square-foot home sold within a week at $3.1 million. “When you come to market, you have a month or six weeks before it starts to fade in people’s minds,” said Mr. Rein, who listed the property with L.A.-based Partners Trust. “There’s a velocity you have to achieve when you come to market.”

“Of course, unplanned events can sometimes trump price. This January, Karen and Curtis Spillers put their five-bedroom, 1910 home in Wilmette, Ill., on the market for $835,000, a price they considered aligned with the market. Then, a winter storm dumped close to a foot of snow on the ground during the open house. Despite the weather, over 100 people showed up, says Ms. Spillers, 53, a technology public-relations executive who bought the home almost 25 years ago. Within 24 hours, the couple had five offers, eventually accepting a $900,000 bid. They credit the timing: Coming on the market in January meant there was only one other home for sale in their Chicago suburb, which has highly rated schools. The couple, now living in St. Louis, didn’t expect to get a premium on their asking price. “We couldn’t have been happier with the results,” she said.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 22-29

SanCapAssnLogoSanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $450K.

3 price changes: Sundial #C301 1/1 now $315K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 now $479.9K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $499K.

1 new sale: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 listed for $349,555.

2 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #711 3/2 $535K (our listing), Sundial #D101 3/2 $765K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 228 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 $799K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: 989 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 listed for $595K, 1504 Angel Dr 4/3 listed for $745K, 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.595M.

2 closed sales: 1434 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $543K, 1225 Junonia St 3/2 $610K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 971 Main St $219.9K.

1 price change: 2411 Blue Crab Ct now $479K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2511 2/2 now $575K.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 listed for $699K.

No closed sales.

HOMES
Nothing to report.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Best wishes for a great Labor Day weekend! If you want to talk Sanibel or Captiva real estate, please call The SanibelSusan Team (Susan, Dave, Lisa, & Elise)