Fall Is In The Air on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Beach (Medium)Fall is definitely in the air – or as fall-ish as it becomes on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. A cool front arrived Wednesday night which brought a drop in humidity and lower evening temperatures. Whenever the humidity is under 70%, it is a wonderful thing in Southwest Florida.

toll boothIsland traffic is slowly increasing as snowbirds return. Local TV news last night reported that the total number of visitors to Southwest Florida has increased considerably over the last year. In August alone, nearly 8,000 more vehicles crossed through the Sanibel toll booth.

Below are a few news items, followed by the week’s activity in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

2014 Annual Meeting – Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoThe islands Association of Realtors® had no caravan meeting this week, but last night was the annual meeting and election.

Yours truly, the 2014 Nominating Committee Chair, is happy to report that two new directors have been elected to our nine-member board. Congratulations to Dustyn Corace and Deb Smith.

Upcoming Events

Ding Darling Society logo“Ding” Darling Days – at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge from Sunday, Oct 19, through Saturday, Oct 25. www.DingDarlingDays.com

Island PawsHowl-o-Ween – Island Paws Costume Contest & 10th anniversary, on the patio of Over Easy Cafe Friday, Oct 24 5-7 p.m.

(Judging at 6:30 p.m.) Proceeds benefit Gulf Coast Humane Society. This is great fun to watch even if you don’t have a pet!

SanibelCityHall40th Anniversary of Sanibel’s Incorporation – reception (hosted by Sanibel Historical Preservation Committee) at City Hall at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov 4.

Record-Setting Year for Sea Turtles

SeaturtlehatchlingsSCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) recently reported that 411 Sanibel nests (110 on the east end and 301 on the west end), shattered the island’s previous high marks of 358 sea turtle nests established in 2000. In addition, the previous record of nests on the east end was 69 in 2012. Captiva had 124 nests this year.

SCCF logoIn addition to SCCF employees, more than 130 volunteers patrol the islands’ beaches every day throughout sea turtle nesting season (May to October).

Sanibel Land Development Code Subcommittee Report

Sanibelcityseal logoAs reported by the “Island Sun” today, “following Tuesday’s planning commission session, the Land Development Code Review Subcommittee (LDCRS) heard the annual report on amendments made to the City’s codes made during the past two years”….According to City Planning Director, Jim Jordan, “amendments made during the two-year span included:

  • Inter- and intra-connectivity standards for providing access between properties and to the shared use path.
  • The phasing of preliminary plats approvals for major subdivisions.
  • Legislation to regulate floating dock platforms preempted from permitting by the Sate of Florida.
  • Legislation requiring the installation of reflective tape wrapping on telecommunication towers greater than 75 feet above ground.
  • To allow pervious brick pavers installed within the driveways and parking areas of single-family, duplex and triplex to be treated as 100% pervious.
  • To allow for an increase in the room size of one-bedroom resort housing unit to develop up to 600 sq. ft. of habitable floor area.
  • Update the list of permitted uses within the commercial district and providing a process to consider new uses that are similar in nature and intensity to those uses that are listed in the code.
  • A new provision allowing minor nonstructural alterations and modifications to the rooflines of lawfully existing structures devoted to a nonconforming use.
  • Requirements, procedures and standards for maintaining and securing distressed buildings and structures.”

Recent Appointments

KevinThe City of Sanibel announced on Wednesday that Mayor Kevin Ruane as been appointed by Florida Governor Rick Schott to serve on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The Task Force is composed of 14 members including federal, tribal, state, and location representatives, developing policies, strategies, plans, programs, projects, and activities that address the restoration, preservation, and protection of the South Florida Ecosystem. The success of the Everglades restoration will have a tremendous economic impact on the coast communities of South Florida, including Sanibel. Congratulations, Kevin!

Chris HeidrickToday’s “Island Sun” reports that Chris Heidrick, Association of Realtors® affiliate and “principal of Heidrick & Co. Insurance on Sanibel has been appointed as Chairman of the National Flood Insurance Task Force for the Independent Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA). In this new position, he also will serve on the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee which is dedicated to improving the National Flood Insurance Program through consultation, cooperation, and regular communication with the Federal Insurance Administration/FEMA.” Congratulations, Chris!

In Feb, both Kevin and Chris joined a Lee County Commissioner and several local mayors in DC to present suggestions for reasonable flood insurance reform. Most of the ideas were included in The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, signed by the President in late March. The Act successfully removed the most harmful provisions of Biggert-Waters, which threatened the local economy. I got rebates from both my home and office flood insurance premiums just this week.

“In the coming year, Chris’s primary focus will be on a smooth re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 2017.”

3 Industry Trends to Watch This Fall

BankRate.com logoHere’s a recent article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” and sourced to BankRate.com (October 2014):

“The housing market is expected to heat up this fall, despite buyers showing greater signs of being conservative in their home purchases. Bankrate.com recently highlighted some of the following trends to watch this fall in the nation’s real estate market:

“1. An overall pick up in housing activity. Low inventories of homes for sale in many markets have been blamed for cooling the summer months more than expected. However, more inventories are hitting U.S. markets, which could unleash some pent-up demand among buyers. At the end of August, housing inventory was at 2.31 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.5-month supply of homes, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That’s 4.5% higher than a year ago.

When buyers have greater options in their home shopping, they may be more likely to finally jump off the sidelines, says Jonathan Corr, president and chief operating officer for Ellie Mae. “The housing market is going to be a function of the economy,” Corr says. “I think we are going to see steady growth in the coming months.”

“2. Buyers are more cautious. In what most housing experts describe as a “seller’s market,” buyers are showing signs of getting more conservative with their spending, Pava Leyrer, director of training for Northern Mortgage Services in Grandville, Mich., told Bankrate.com. “They are sticking to their budgets,” she says. The past housing crisis has prompted buyers – particularly the younger generation — to be more cautious, as they’ve learned that home prices don’t always appreciate. The younger generation views a house as a place to live and not the great investment that their parents once considered, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Forty percent of the millennial generation believes buying a home is a safe investment with great potential, compared to about 50% of boomers, according to a survey by Fannie Mae National Housing Survey.

“3. Mortgage rates will climb – really. Housing experts warned that mortgage rates would rise this year, but those forecasts have largely been wrong to this point. However, the Mortgage Bankers Association expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to start its climb to 4.5% by the fourth quarter, and continue to gradually climb and reach 5% by mid-2015. That’s prompted some lenders and real estate professionals to urge their buyers to lock in a mortgage rate now, while they are still at yearly lows.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 10-17.



1 new listing: Compass Point #111 2/2 $1.169M.

4 price changes: Sundial #H411 1/1 now $272.5K, Seashells #33 2/2 now $319K (short sale), Seashells #36 2/2 now $325K, Sundial #I103 1/1 now $337.5K.

1 new sale: Colonnades #1 1/1 listed for $195K.

Beach Walk2 closed sales: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 $325K, Island Beach Club #310F 2/2 $450K (our listing & sale).


6 new listings: 2621 SanibelCaptiva Rd 3/2 $299K, 1452 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $379K, 735 Donax St 3/2 $479K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 $910K, 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 $1.149M, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 $1.625M.

6 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $369K, 4636 Buck Key Rd 2/2 now $449K, 317 East Gulf Dr 2/2 half-duplex now $449K, 315 East Gulf Dr 3/2 half-duplex now $449K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 now $1.295M, 2514 Blind Pass Ct 4/3/2 now $1.425M.

No new sales.

4 closed sales: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 $280K, 989 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $550K, 981 Main St 4/2.5 $562K, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 $1.7M.


1 new listing: 1182 Sand Castle Rd $199.9K.

2 price changes: 1336 Eagle Run Dr now $245K, 1311 Par View Dr now $285K.

1 new sale: 3338 West Gulf Dr listed for $410K.

No closed sales.



1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas 2/2 $$575K.

1 price change: Lands End Village #1610 3/3 now $1.885M.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #4212 1/2 listed for $275K.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $2.375M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.

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

flip-flopsHappy Friday, everyone! SanibelSusan

It’s Been a Summer-Like Week on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Island Traffic & Real Estate Activity

SanCapAssnLogoThough the traffic on Sanibel and Captiva Islands noticeably picked up over the last few days (mostly with service/contractor vehicles and winter residents coming back early), there do not seem to be buyers here this week. SanibelSusan had the only sale announced at our Association of REALTORS® Caravan Meeting yesterday. See the report at the bottom of today’s blog for all of the activity posted in the island Multiple Listing Service this week.

Island Beach ClubI continue to visit our listings to get new photos as some of them get pre-season improvements. I visited Island Beach Club this afternoon where the work is progressing albeit slowly on the window replacement work.

While his morning, in-between tenants and cleaners, I also got into our listing at Loggerhead Cay in time to snap a few photos of the new carpet and living room sofa/love seat. This condo earns excellent income, if you are an investor looking for a condo where the numbers make sense. It is unit #353, 3rd floor looking down the courtyard to the gulf. Priced at $499,000, it also grosses nearly $40K/year in rental income!

Island Happenings

After a teaser day of low humidity and cooler temperatures, weather has been back to bright sunny summer temperatures for most of the week.

FruitOpening day of the Sanibel Farmers Market last Sunday, though a whole month earlier than past years, was packed. Almost all of the previous vendors are back as well as some new ones. I checked it out late morning and found it to be as busy as it usually is in high season. Some new finds for me were with the smoothie makers and the exotic fruit vendor (samples included dragon fruit & lechees.)

Upcoming Events

With “season” just around the corner, this week I received lots of organization emails and calendars touting events scheduled in the upcoming months. So many, in fact, that if you know when you will be enjoying the islands, you may want to plan ahead and check out the link above to “Upcoming Events“. Some events have limited seating and require advance tickets or reservations. I will continue to post new events as we hear about them. It’s gonna be a fun busy winter!

News Corp Bets on REALTORS®

realtor logoThere are varying opinions on the below article. However, at a group meeting this afternoon with some of the brokers, leaders, and movers/shakers of the Sanibel/Captiva real estate community, there definitely was a consensus that the real estate consumer (buyer or seller) is best served by a REALTOR®.

A special guest who drove across the state to chat with us is someone also passionate about the REALTOR® remaining at the center of the transaction. Big thank you to our friend and colleague from Miami, Moe Vessi, for sharing his thoughts with us. Moe was 2002 President of Florida REALTORS® and 2012 President of the National Association of REALTORS®, and is a working REALTOR® like the rest of us.


L to R, Martha Smith (Director, SanCap Assn of Realtors), David Schuldenfrei (2014 President, SanCap Assn of Realtors), Robin Humphrey (Past President, SanCap Assn of Realtors), Moe Vessi (Past President, National Assn of Realtors & Florida Realtors), Peggy Hummel, CEO SanCap Assn of Realtors), Susan Andrews (Past President, SanCap Assn of Realtors), Shane Spring (Director, SanCapAssn of Realtors)

Particularly on these unique and small islands where our MLS is not syndicated, we often hear about third party web sites that offer incomplete or inaccurate information – all the more reason to rely on a REALTOR® and realtor.com® where cooperative sales occur. Here is the article about the future of realtor.com, posted Wednesday on REALTOR®Mag.

“The global media and information services company that owns such venerated titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s announced Monday its intent to purchase Move Inc., operator of realtor.com®.

The company is News Corp, a top-in-class media and publishing business with experience in real estate through its newspapers and its majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd, the leading Australian residential property website, which also has a presence in Europe and Asia. With Monday’s announcement, News Corp made clear its intent to plant a major stake in the U.S. online real estate space. And the company is putting its considerable weight behind the REALTOR® brand.

““This partnership will help shape the future of real estate,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown. “News Corp’s ability to reach and engage consumers, combined with realtor.com®’s quality content and the real insights REALTORS® provide will transform the current landscape.”

“In 2013, News Corporation separated into two distinct, publicly traded companies—News Corp and 21st Century Fox. Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp, a multinational news and information company headquartered in New York. The company reported more than $8.5 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. “We intend to use our media platforms and compelling content to turbo-charge traffic growth and create the most successful real estate website in the U.S.,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “We are building on our existing real estate expertise and expect to leverage the potential of Move and its valuable connections with REALTORS® and consumers around the country.” (See the presentation News Corp shared in an investor call this morning.)

“Move, Inc. draws nearly 35 million visitors each month to its network of real estate sites for consumers and real estate professionals. The company’s flagship site is realtor.com®.  “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,” said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move. “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.”

“The realtor.com® domain is owned by the National Association of REALTORS®, and the site is operated by Move through an agreement between the REALTORS® Information Network, a NAR subsidiary, and RealSelect, a Move subsidiary. NAR leadership and the RIN board, meeting over the weekend, voted to approve the acquisition, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. News Corp and Move are both traded on the NASDAQ. On Monday, September 29, Move’s stock closed at $15.29 and News Corp closed at $16.80.

“NAR has posted a FAQ at realtor.org and will continue to communicate with its members as information becomes available. But one thing is certain, according to NAR CEO Dale Stinton. This change in ownership will only strengthen realtor.com®’s core mission: to serve consumers with the best, most accurate real estate data while keeping REALTORS® central to the real estate transaction. “Throughout the 20th century, NAR worked to ensure that REALTORS® were indispensable to consumers and the real estate transaction,” Stinton said. “This partnership is yet another 21st century example of this effort.  NAR will continue to seek opportunities such as this for REALTORS® to flourish in today’s marketplace by remaining first and foremost in the consumer’s mind.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 3-10



2 new listings: Colonnades #1 1/1 $195K, Compass Point #101 3/2 $1.169M.

3 price changes: Seashells #33 2/2 now $329K (short sale), Lighthouse Point #323 3/2 now $899K, Clam Shell #C 2/2 now $1.195M.

View3 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 listed for $449K, Sayana #202 2/2 listed for $859K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 listed for $990K (our listing & buyer).

2 closed sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 $230K, Tarpon Beach #203 2/2 $659K.


2 new listings: 3251 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $629K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 $827K.

3 price changes: 490 Christine Rd 2/2 now $569,555; 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 now $749K; 749 Pyrula Ave 3/3 now $1.225M.

5 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $439K, 1221 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $758K, 1329 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $849K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 listed for $1.2472M, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 1332 Eagle Run Dr $255,555.

1 price change: 6486 Pine Ave now $444.9K (foreclosure).

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1504 Angel Dr $679K.



No new listings.

1 price change: Land’s End Village #1660 3/3 now $1.535M.

No new or closed sales.


1 new listing: 16897 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $3.49M.

1 price change: 15891 Captiva Dr now $2/949M.

No new or closed sales.


1 new listing: 16915 Captiva Dr $1.39M.

No price changes, 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.

Until next Friday, TGIF, SanibelSusan

Colorful Leaves, Temperatures Dropping, & Snow – NOT HERE!



Islander Realtors® usually can tell when the weather changes up north by an increase in the number of real estate inquiries. This week was no exception. Leaves must be turning, temperatures dropping, and/or snow falling somewhere as SanibelSusan Realty all-of-a-sudden had busy days both yesterday and today with buyer inquiries.


Island weather has been exceptional for the last few days too, mostly summer temperatures mid-80’s and sunny. Enough clouds sometimes for some beautiful Sanibel sunsets too!

SanibelSunset 02-01-12

SanCapAssnLogoThe local Association of Realtors® again had no weekly caravan this week. Business activity has not picked up enough for that yet, but the caravan schedule will change back to weekly in early November.

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

Upcoming Island Events

Farmer MarketSanibel Farmer Market – October 5 – Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., every Sunday through April on the grounds of Sanibel City Hall. See you there!

US Power SquadronsU.S. Power Squadron Safe Boating Class – October 25 – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Public Library. More about the Sanibel-Captiva Power Squadron at www.usps.org/localusps/sancap/

Bailey's merchant assocBailey Fest – October 26 – Sunday – from noon to 4 p.m. at Bailey’s Shopping Center featuring live entertainment, games, raffles, give-aways, face painting, pony rides, food & refreshments, local service organization info, & more. The opening singers again this year are with the Sanibel BIG ARTS Community Chorus.

SCCF logoWine in the Wild – November 8 – Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. at SCCF, on the grounds of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Nature Center.

Children center of islands logoBeach Ball – November 16 – Sunday at The Dunes from 5 to 9 p.m. This is the ninth year for this Children’s Education Center of the Islands fundraiser for facility improvements and to benefit local families for scholarships.

Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida

Florida Realtors logoFlorida REALTORS® Research Division just released its 2014 Report (dated September 2014) showing the profile of International Home Buyers in Florida. For this report, foreign buyers are defined as non-resident foreigners – individuals who are citizens of another country and who purchase property in the U.S. but live in the U.S. only part of the year, typically using the property as a rental unit, vacation unit, or both. International sales are sales to these non-resident foreigners. Here are a few interesting excerpts from the report:

“Florida is one of the major U.S. destinations of international residential real estate buyers. Approximately 25% of foreign home buyers in the U.S. purchase property in Florida…Nationally, internationally home buying activity of non-resident foreigners was estimated at $46.7 billion during the period April 2013-March 2014…Florida’s sales to non-resident foreigners are estimated at $7.97 billion, accounting for 17% of total non-resident foreigner sales.

“The increase in international home buying activity was driven by the continued recovery of the world economy and the affordability of the U.S. properties. Both U.S. and Florida residential prices remain affordable to most international buyers. In fact, international clients continued to purchase properties that are on the average above the mean price paid by domestic buyers.

canada flag“Canadian buyers accounted for the largest share of international clients (32%), followed by buyers from Western Europe (24%; primarily from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany); buyers from Latin America/Caribbean (23%; primarily Brazil, and Venezuela), and buyers from Asia (10%p primarily from China).

Florida_state_map2“Florida’s location has been cited as the most important factor affecting the home purchase. Suburban areas appear to be gaining favorability with foreign buyers with an increasing share of buyers locating in suburban areas. Resort areas accounted for about a fourth of reported purchases, down from about a third in 2008.

“About half of foreign buyers in Florida bought a detached single-family home. Foreign buyers are more likely to purchase condominiums and townhouses/row houses since the owners are not staying at their property year-round….About 82% of Florida REALTORS® respondents reported all cash sales to foreign buyers….

“The top destinations for international homebuyers in Florida were Miami-Miami Beach, Orlando-Kissimmee, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples-Marco Island, Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater, and Palm Beach.

Cape Coral Ft MyersIn the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, the origin of the reported international home buyers include:

Canada (45%), Germany (14%), United Kingdom (6%), Mexico (6%), Columbia (4%), Israel (4%), Norway (4%), and Switzerland (4%).

In the Naples-Marco Island area, the reported origins differ a little: Canada (55%), United Kingdom (7%), Germany (5%) and Russia (5%).”

TRC LOGOIcrea logoThe good news for SanibelSusan Sellers is that as a Realtor® with the TRC designation (Transnational Referral Certified), SanibelSusan listings are featured prominently on WordProperties.com which promotes and advertises properties through an international consortium of real estate associations and translates the listings into the languages of the member organizations. I am one of only ten Realtors®) on Sanibel/Captiva with this designation.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 27 – October 3



No new listings.

1 price change: Sundial D307 1/1 now $239K.

2 new sales: Coquina Beach #4F 2/2 listed for $429.9K, Sanibel Inn #3425 2/2 listed for $664.9K.

1 closed sale: Compass Point #112 2/2 $1.11M.


5 new listings: 1238 Par View Dr 3/3 $799K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $989K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.2472M, 2400 Los Colony Rd 3/3 $1.595M, 3911 West Gulf Dr 5/5.5 $5.295M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 listed for $759K, 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 listed for $1.099M.

5 closed sales: 667 Nerita St 3/2 $719K, 529 Lighthouse Way 3/3 $965K, 785 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 $1M, 766 Sand Dollar Dr 4/5.5 $1.312M, 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 $1.6M.


1 new listing: 201 Robinwood Cir $759K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 223 Robinwood Cir listed for $195K, 1246 Sand Castle Rd listed for $225K.

No closed sales.



1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2417 1/1 $525K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.


2 new listings: 16861 Captiva Dr 5/5 $1.99M, 17101 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $3.198M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.

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

2013 StarsUntil next Friday, happy weekend to all!



Almost-October Real Estate Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It has again been quiet on the islands this week – few phone calls, only a handful of showings, no real estate caravan, and no new listings or closings for us. What are we doing you might ask? Yesterday, my pals and I had to make three stops before we found a restaurant available for lunch! We sure are looking forward to October!


The islands had several cloudy/rainy days early on in the week, but nothing like the flooding reported on the other side of the state. Here we have had blue skies and sunshine for at least two days in a row now with the weekend weather expected to be much of the same. They have been not so lucky in inland Lee and Collier counties where afternoon and evening showers continue to prevail.

Island Beach ClubLots of deep-clean and maintenance/repair action continues at plenty of island properties, gearing up for “season”. Work around the floor-to-ceiling windows in a few Island Beach Club units is expected to be completed in early October. That has made for interesting showings at our new listing there.

sundial-logoAt Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, the second phase of their renovation is well underway with completion expected sometime in early November of a new state-of-the-art Fitness Center, Pizza Kitchen, on-site market and deli, and new soft tennis courts, as well as changes to the pool bar and main pool deck area.

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

Some New Openings

The “Island Sun” reported this week that City permit approval was given for a new business going in at The Bailey Center. In the location formerly occupied by “Nick’s Yogurt” and next door to “Billy’s Bikes” new rental spot, will be “Beach Piez” featuring pizza for take-out and delivery.

Another eatery soon to open in the former location of “Island Barbeque” on Palm Ridge Road, next door to “Subway”, is “The Pecking Order” which will feature comfort and soul food.

lobster rollSanibel Farmers MktOpening next Sunday, Oct 5 (a whole month earlier than in previous years) is “Sanibel Island Farmers Market“. On the grounds of City Hall from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Sunday through April, it is my favorite stop on the way to the office!

farmers mkt lobsterThis is beyond fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meats, baked goods, and more.

We are talking Maine lobster and lobster rolls!

The Scoop on Sanibel Homes as of 9/26/14

In doing some file clean-up this week, I found the below tables with data from mid-summer 2013. Always a fan of statistics, I updated them with today’s info. Divided by the same geographic areas as our Multiple Listing Service, this illustrates low Sanibel home inventory.

Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 7 1,995,000* 648
Under Contract as of 9/26 1 1,795,000* 955
2014 Sales to 9/26 5 1,695,000 183
2013 Sales 7 2,190,000 679
2012 Sales 8 2,144,500 335


Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 6 1,470,000* 1,193
Under Contract as of 9/26 0 N/A N/A
2014 Sales to 9/26 10 860,000 425
2013 Sales 6 990,500 267
2012 Sales 5 1,649,000 472


Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 19 1,273,500* 373
Under Contract as of 9/26 8 990,000* 365
2014 Sales to 9/26 30 912,000 272
2013 Sales 28 864,000 312
2012 Sales 37 749,000 275


Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 6 4,042,500* 311
Under Contract as of 9/26 1 3,900,000* 234
2014 Sales to 9/26 4 3,095,000 342
2013 Sales 16 3,245,000 335
2012 Sales 11 2,350,000 309


Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 28 599,000* 198
Under Contract as of 9/26 4 527,250* 208
2014 Sales to 9/26 41 499,000 281
2013 Sales 52 512,497 252
2012 Sales 32 493,000 168


Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 65 829,000* 267
Under Contract as of 9/26 8 744,000* 621
2014 Sales to 9/26 72 676,950 201
2013 Sales 79 685,000 269
2012 Sales 86 567,000 330

DOM = days on market

* Asking price

Citizens Put an Early End to Storm Tax

Florida Realtors logoYesterday, Florida Realtors® posted an article sourced to “The Palm Beach Post” and distributed by MCT Information Services:

Citizens nixes storm tax, may expand clearinghouse

Citizens_logo“A 1% assessment or “storm tax” to pay off 2005 losses is ending two years early at state-run insurer Citizens, under a plan reported by The Palm Beach Post last week and approved by its board Wednesday. That will save customers of Citizens and other property insurers 1% on their bills starting July 1, 2015. The assessment, with a total cost of $1.38 billion, originally was scheduled to run until July 2017 but was collected from a broader base of customers than initially planned, making its early retirement an option.

“Meanwhile, executives turned to goals for 2015. Among them: put commercial properties including condos and apartment buildings into a clearinghouse designed to steer policies to private insurers. The clearinghouse, a computer system used by agents, began processing homeowner policies this year.

Citizens President Barry Gilway said he intends to work with state legislators to expand the system. The clearinghouse is intended to block new customers if a private insurer is offering coverage priced up to 15% more and kick out renewing customers if a private carrier is offering policies priced the same or less.

Twelve private insurers are in the clearinghouse for new customers and eight for renewing customers, counting two companies coming on board Wednesday.

“Another goal Gilway cited: Eliminate all risk of assessments from a 1-in-100 year storm, which Citizens has already reduced from more than $11 billion several years ago to about $2.3 billion now. Assessment risk has been falling in large part because Citizens has shrunk from 1.5 million customers three years ago, swelled by a pullback of large national insurers, to about 933,000 now. Transfer offers from private insurers, mostly small Florida-based companies, and clearinghouse activity are expected to reduce that to about 825,000 customers by year’s end and 750,000 by the end of 2015, Gilway projected.

“Smaller size alone reduces risk exposure, but one debate is whether to expand the purchase of private reinsurance, or back-up coverage, from firms in Bermuda and other places abroad. That is controversial in part because of foreign trips company officials say are necessary to buy reinsurance. The oversight of such travel has been criticized in an inspector general’s report and was the subject of Florida Cabinet scrutiny last month in the wake of reporting by The Post.

“But it’s also a question of whether big sums of money should go offshore or stay in the state-run company’s $7.6 billion surplus at home, where it can grow and remain available to pay claims year after year.

“Citizens, backed by its own surplus and a state hurricane fund, bought no private insurance at all as recently as four years ago, but has spent more than $1 billion on it since, including $311 million in 2014. The coverage it buys would reduce possible future assessments if historically rare storms hit. But there’s a slim chance it is needed in any given year and if not used in short-term contracts, it represents a transfer of $1 billion from its ratepayers to private hands.”

Jumbo Mortgages Are Cheaper, Easier to Get

CNN MoneyFrom “Realtor®Mag” on Monday and sourced to Sunday’s “CNNMoney” article titled “For Rich People, Mortgages are Getting Cheaper and Easier”:

“Wealthy home buyers are paying lower average rates on high-dollar loans (known as jumbo mortgages) and in some cases, they don’t even have to worry about a large down payment or mortgage insurance,

“For the last several months, interest rates on jumbo loans—mortgages that are $417,000 or more (or $625,000 or more in high-priced markets—have been lower than what average borrowers pay. For example, the average rate on jumbo loans last week was 4.24% compared to 4.36% for a 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgage, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“In some cases, lenders also have reduced their down payment requirements as well, requiring as little as 10%, which is about half the normal rate. Some lenders are waiving the private mortgage insurance requirement, too.

“Many banks have lowered their credit standards for jumbo loan originations. For example, many jumbo borrowers used to need at least a 700 credit score to qualify, but now lenders are considering applicants with credit scores of 650, says John Walsh, owner of lender Total Mortgage Services.

“Banks are on the hunt for jumbo customers in order to win them over as clients for other banking services too such as retirement planning, says Malcolm Hollensteiner, head of retail lending for TD Bank. Jumbo borrowers tend to have better track records in repaying their loans and have lower default rates, so more banks are willing to take the gamble on them.”

Household’s Net Worth Hits Record High

Here is an interesting tidbit from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday. It says:

2000px-US-FederalReserveBoard-Seal.svg“Recent gains in the stock market and higher home prices helped Americans’ net worth soar to a record high in the second quarter, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve. Net worth was up 1.7% during the quarter, reaching a record high of $81.5 trillion.

“American’s gains in wealth have helped to lift consumer confidence and allowed them to ramp up their borrowing, which could soon prove a boon for the economic growth too. During the second quarter, household debt rose to its fastest pace since 2007, increasing at an annual rate of 3.6%, compared to 2.2% in the first quarter.

wall street journal“Most of the nation’s largest wealth gains have gone to the affluent, who tend to own stocks, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose about 5% in the second quarter, while Americans also benefited from more modest gains in the real estate market. Home prices ticked up for the 12th consecutive quarter, rising 0.8% in the second quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price index.”

Source: “U.S. Household Net Worth Rises to Record $81.5 Trillion,” Reuters (Sept. 18, 2014) and “U.S. Household Wealth Hits Fresh Record,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 18, 2014)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 19-26



4 new listings: Colonnades #51 1/1 $184K, Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 $449K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 $478.5K, Sanibel Inn #3425 2/2 $664.9K.

3 price changes: Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 now $259.5K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $505K, Sandalfoot #4D2 2/2 now $619K.

2 new sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 listed for $239K, Poinciana #2C 3/2 listed for $1.1M.

2 closed sales: Sundial #D407 1/1 $227.5K, Sundial #H102 2/2 $425K.


No new listings.

4 price changes: 4606 Brainard Bayou Rd 2/1 now $399K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $559K, 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 now $1.595M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.625M.

1 new sale: 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

1 closed sale: 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 $2.45M.


No new listings.

3 price changes: Lot 27, Leisure Acres now $179.9K, 2933 Wulfert Rd now $399K, 5830 SanCap Rd now $399,555.

1 new sale: 861 Birdie View Pt listed for $339K.
No closed sales.



No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $679.9K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 $667.5K, Captiva Shores #7B 3/2 $1.2M.

Nothing to report.


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.

Until next Friday, here’s another picture of my favorite birds…


Girls love those pink Roseate Spoonbills!


Counting Our Blessings at SanibelSusan Realty

Banyan BeachIt sure was fun yesterday to be recognized again at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® September membership meeting for my “big” closing on Monday.

At nearly $8.5M, “Banyan Beach” it is the record year-to-date sale on Sanibel and Captiva. The team and I are very thankful for it, as well as our other closings Monday and today.

After posting the new sales of two condo listings last Friday, it was a wonderful surprise to also find the paperwork for another terrific condo listing in my email on Friday night. It’s the top-floor west-corner unit at Island Beach Club, so the views of the gulf and the beach are spectacular. Even though much of the complex, including this unit, is not fully accessible this month because the association is doing their annual exterior repair work, this condo already has had a showing of the rooms that can be seen and a couple of Realtor® viewings.

Luckily the photos that we borrowed from their rental organization, Select Vacation Properties, show it in total. Big thank-you to their employee, Patience, for sharing! If you want to see this one-of-a-kind income-producing condo, here are her photos.

Below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands MLS since last Friday.

Where Buyers Face Steepest Competition

CashSometimes island buyers and sellers are surprised when we tell them how high the percentage of cash buyers is on the island. Here is an article posted yesterday in “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to “24/7 Wall Street. Looks like the islands are not the only place in Florida where cash sales prevail.

“All-cash transactions remain high, but they are showing signs of dropping, which could be good news for traditional home buyers with financing who find they are unable to compete against cash buyers.

Nearly 38% of home and condo purchases in the second quarter were from all-cash transactions, according to RealtyTrac’s data. That marks a drop from the first quarter, when all-cash transactions reached a three-year high of 42%.

“However, the share of all-cash purchases varies widely in markets across the country. For example, in the Miami metro area, more than 64% of home sales were cash in the second quarter, but in Madison, Wis., that figure was only 18.5%.

“Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, explained to 24/7 Wall St. that some of the highest number of cash sales are occurring in recovering markets that have the highest activity of institutional investors. Also, all-cash sales tend to be highest in areas with still-elevated levels of foreclosures and short sales. Blomquist further notes that all-cash sales are higher for both low-end and luxury properties. Cash sales make up two-thirds of home purchases for up to $100,000 and 45% of purchases for more than $2 million.

“24/7 Wall St., using RealtyTrac data, reviewed the cities that had the largest percentages of all-cash sales in the second quarter of this year. The following metros showed the highest concentration of all-cash transactions:

  • “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL – Percent of cash sales: 64.1%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL – Percent of cash sales: 62.1%
  • Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL – Percent of cash sales: 61.5%
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL – Percent of cash sales: 54.6%
  • Lakeland, FL – Percent of cash sales: 53%
  • Orlando-Kissimmee, FL – Percent of cash sales: 52.2%
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX – Percent of cash sales: 52%”

There’s An App for That – Discover Ding Game App Premieres for “Ding” Days

Discover DingHere’s info from a recent press release from “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge:

“If you noticed a giant cell phone walking around the island recently, don’t have your bifocals checked. It’s just the latest costumed character at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. “Happy Appy” is helping to promote the unveiling of the Discover Ding app on Sunday, Family Fun Day, Oct 19, 2014 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Ding” Darling Days.

“A collaboration among the refuge, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and app developer, Discover Nature Apps (DNA), the Discover Ding app is designed to adapt to the public’s expanding reliance on smart devices by creating a positive interaction experience that encourages smart-phone users of both Apple and Android products to immerse themselves into their natural surroundings.

“DNA is developing similar apps for other refuges and national parks, but “Ding” Darling will be the first to go live.

“”The first-of-its-kind Discover Ding app will offer the public a few new way to experience the refuge, further enhancing our effort to integrate new technology and social media into our interpretive programming,” said Paul Tritaik, refuge manager.

“The refuge will host a public unveiling and “download-in” to kick off the three Family Fun Days and weeklong eco-festival at 10 a.m. on Oct 19 in the Visitor & Education Center Auditorium. The first 250 people to show staff their download get a special free T-shirt. Happy Appy will be on hand throughout the day to give free tutorials on downloading and using the app which combines nature, gaming, social media, and GPS technology for an entirely new experience. Throughout the week, the costumed character also will be in the Education Center parking lot each morning at 9:25 a.m. to offer help and instruction….”

To support DDWS and the refuge, go to dingdarlingsociety.org.

There’s An App for Real Estate Too

GoMLSLogoThe Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® announced this week that they are taking the next step forward in Multiple Listing Service mobility with a new App too. Within the next few weeks, the new GoMLS mobile app will be available for island Realtors® and their clients. With this app, there will be access to real-time MLS data with listing search capability by city, zip code, address, MLS number, geo-location, or by drawing a search area on a map; multiple map views including street, satellite and hybrid; driving directions; ability to schedule a viewing or contact the listing agent; share listings via text, email, Facebook® and Twitter®; and more!

Flood Insurance Overview

SanCapAssnLogoThe speakers at our monthly Realtor® membership meeting yesterday were a panel of affiliate-member professionals in the insurance business.

They were there to update us on recent Flood Insurance changes. Panelists were:

  • David Arter with Private Client Insurance Services
  • Chris Heidrick with Heidrick & Co.
  • Angie Larson with Rosier Insurance

To understand flood insurance lingo, here are a few definitions.

The most hazardous flood zones are V (usually first-row beachfront properties) and A (usually, but not always properties near water.) According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the National Flood Insurance Program, any building in A or Z zones are considered to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

V zones generally include the first row of beachfront properties. The hazards in these areas are increased because of wave velocity – hence the V designation. If your home is in a “V” zone, adhere to the following recommendations:

  • The bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the lowest floor elevation must be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Enclosed areas below the lowest floor cannot be used for living space. The building must be elevated on piles, piers, posts or column foundation.
  • Electrical, heating ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment and other service facilities must be elevated to or above the BFE.

The next most volatile of the Special Flood Hazard Areas is the A zone. These areas are subject to rising waters and are usually near a body of water with a high potential of flooding. If your home is in an A zone, follow these important recommendations:

  • The lowest floor elevation must be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Enclosed areas below the lowest floor cannot be used for living space.
  • Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment and other service facilities must be elevated to or above the BFE.

On Sanibel and Captiva, the flood zones that apply are either the VE Zone or the AE Zone, with the AE zone being a place with potential for a 1%-annual-chance flood event.

In the flood insurance business, it also is important to know if Pre-FIRM insurance rates apply. Pre-FIRM properties on Sanibel were those permitted prior to April 1979. On Captiva, Pre-FIRM properties were permitted before September 1984.

What else is important for these professionals to know is whether a property will be used as a primary residence or non-primary residence. The definition of a “primary residence” for policy rating purposes is: The property must be occupied by the insured and/or the insured’s spouse more than 50% of the 365 days following the policy renewal date.

If you have more specific questions about flood insurance, be sure to talk to an insurance professional.

Economist Calls for National Policy to Reinforce Home Ownership

realtor logoIn a recent column for “HousingWire”, Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at Realtor.com®, breaks down the good and the bad of the housing recovery. In the article titled “Economist: Here’s Why Mortgage Supply & Demand Isn’t Normal”, he notes:

“Certain areas are close to a complete recovery, such as employment, home prices, distressed existing home sales, multifamily new construction, and rents. On the other hand, Smoke says the recovery is far from normal levels in terms of single-family new-home construction, mortgage applications and originations, household formation, and home ownership.

“The most negative sales signal comes from the new-home market, where new-home sales came in at an estimated annualized rate of 412,000 in July, the second lowest rate in the last 10 months,” Smoke notes. New-home permits and starts have failed to reach a pace that economists consider healthy for the sector, which is generally above one million.

Smoke points to another troubling area: Mortgage applications, which fell to the lowest level in 14 years at the beginning of September. Mortgage applications remain low despite the fact that rates are hovering near yearly lows. “Mortgage applications are considered a leading indicator for future home sales, but I believe the decline is not so much a signal of another downturn in demand but rather an indication of a seriously hobbled housing credit market,” Smoke writes. He says many buyers are being sidelined due to a very “small credit box,” where only consumers with easily documented incomes, strong credit scores, and large down payments are able to qualify for financing on a home.

“Another housing hurdle Smoke notes is the abnormal levels of supply and demand. “Affordable homes aimed at the first-time buyer segment are not being built,” he says. “Hedge funds bought up most of the affordable distress inventory over the last three years and have turned them into rentals. Home values have recovered the least in affordable price points, resulting in higher numbers of existing owners with negative equity and therefore unable to sell.”

“Smoke says that the continuing declines in areas of home ownership will portend to bigger problems ahead for the overall economy. “Without a strong housing policy, the mortgage market is incapable of adequately addressing risk-appropriate access to credit that supports home ownership,” Smoke writes. “Fundamentally, we need new directions for national housing policy to address the broken credit market, find solutions for affordability housing across all income levels, reinforce home ownership as the cornerstone of financial security, and fulfill the housing needs of older households.”

Priced to Sell at $30M? & Even $68M?

Realtor.com logos“Daily Real Estate News” last Friday posted the following. It was sourced to a “The Wall Street Journal” article from Sept 10, 2014, titled “Luxury Homes: Priced to Sell at $30 Million”. Just after I read that article, I heard on the news about the $68M mansion just listed for sale in neighboring Naples.

“Luxury homes are selling faster than last year, and the homes fetching some of the heftiest price tags are spending less time lingering on the market, according to new data from Realtor.com®. An uptick in the stock market and improving economy may be helping to boost the luxury market in recent months.

“The High-End Market is Booming: For homes listed less than $1 million, the median age of listings ranged from 80 days to a median of 180 days for homes just under $30 million, according to Realtor.com®. But for homes above $30 million, the median time to market dropped to 139 days.

Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com®’s chief economist, says the faster times are often because these high-ticketed homes are marketed quietly before hitting the open market. This market segment is attracting a more engaged group of buyers lately, he says. For example, in Vail, CO., homes above $15 million used to sit on the market for more than two years, but now are selling in “months, not years, and sometimes in weeks,” Tye Stockton, a real estate professional with Ascent Sotheby’s International Realty, told The Wall Street Journal. In Greenwich, CT, Tamar Lurie with Coldwell Banker told The Wall Street Journal that she is expecting about 20 sales above $10 million this year – double the number sold last year. A $2 million listing in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles sat on the market last year before it was removed after never hooking a buyer. But this month, the owners put the home back on the market and sold above the asking price in just one day, says Billy Rose, co-founder of the Agency, a real estate brokerage in Beverly Hills, CA.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 12-19



5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 $449K, Nutmeg Village #107 2/2 $659.9K, Sandalfoot #5A3 2/2 $849K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 $925K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 $990K (our listing).

2 price changes: Sundial #I103 1/1 now $345K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $425K.

5 new sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 listed for $239K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 listed for $499K, Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 listed for $749K, Nutmeg Village #308 2/2 listed for $769K, Pointe Santo #D45 2/2 listed for $799K (our listing).

6 closed sales: Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 $283.25K, Sundial #G407 1/1 $325K, Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 $325K (our listing), Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $510K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 $590K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $597K.


No new listings.

4 price changes: 1825 Ardsley Way 3/2 now $538K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 now $749K, 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 now $759K, 501 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 now $889K.

1 new sale: 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 listed for $849.9K.

5 closed sales: 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $470K, 620 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $570K, 4500 Waters Edge Ln 2/2 $769K (our buyer), 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 $887K, 466 Sea Oats Dr 4/3.5 $937.5K.


No new listings.

3 price changes: 1246 Sand Castle Rd now $225K, 6411 Pine Ave now $345K, 1048 Fish Crow Rd now $415K.

No new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.


1 new listing: 0 on Captiva-Village Area 4/4 $1.799M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16682 Captiva Dr 10/12.5 $8.48M (our buyer).


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.

Here’s to another great week!

Weekend good wishes from the team at SanibelSusan Realty

September Real Estate Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

The SanibelSusan Team has been surprisingly busy again this week. Who said that September is the slowest month of the year? We had several listings shown, some multiple times. We got one condo listing under contract (sold by SanibelSusan) and are working an offer on another one. The team and I too are now ready for three closings coming up next week. This business is always full of surprises and we are thankful for any and all action, particularly as summer winds down.

That rainy season weather continues with bright blue skies and wonderful popcorn clouds most days until late afternoon and evening when the rain and lightning storms roll in. Sounds like we are in for a rainy weekend, however, with earlier storms expected beginning today. Yesterday when Dave and I stopped for a quick lunch at Normandie (West Wind Inn) the storm clouds were just rolling in. See photo below.

WW Beach

A report of the Multiple Listing Service action is below; but, first a couple of news items.

Sanibel City Council Approves Rolled-Back Rate of 1.9995

Island Sun logoToday’s “Island Sun” reports that:

Sanibelcityseal logo“During last Saturday’s first budget hearing, Sanibel City Council unanimously approved lowering the operating millage rate for fiscal year 2015 to the rolled-back rate of 1.9995 mills, with Sanibel’s revenues estimated at $50,480,097. The tentative budget presentation, delivered by the city’s Finance Director and City Manager offered council members and about a dozen local residents gathered at city hall an in-depth analysis of Sanibel’s property values (which increased 4.82% to $4,300,931,329)…. The rolled-back rate is the millage rate that will bring in the same amount of dollars as the current millage rate after adjusting for new construction. Approximately $19.9 million in new construction occurred on Sanibel in fiscal year 2014…. At the approved rolled-back millage rate, the average residential taxpayer will pay $1,255.23 for all city services, $45.02 less than the previously budgeted millage rate. The average residential taxable property value on Sanibel for fiscal year 2015 is $519,871….The city’s final budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 16 at 5:01 p.m. at MacKenzie Hall.

2014 Galloway Captiva Triathlon This Weekend

south seas logoThe spring triathlon tomorrow and Sunday is a family fun fitness weekend held at South Seas Island Resort. The first day includes children fun races: the 6-8 and 9-10-year olds complete a 100-yard swim, 1.5-mile bike, and 0.5-mile run, while the age 11-13 racers face a 200-yard swim, 3-mile bike, and 1-mile run. The next day, adults will swim .25 miles, bike 10 miles, and run 3.1 miles. Elite amateur athletes (who posted qualifying times at a USAT sanctioned event) will be sent off first in their own wave. The triathlon which is sanctioned by USA Triathlon is organized by Southwest Florida Events, a tax-exempt Florida not-for-profit corporation. Info is available online at wwwCaptivaTri.org or on Facebook under Captiva Tri.

Billy’s at Bailey’s Now Open

Billy's-logo-bikesThose who have enjoyed renting bikes from Billy’s on Periwinkle over the last 15 years may find it more convenient to now rent from his new expanded location in the Bailey’s Center, 2437 Periwinkle Way. The new location offers almost everything available at their original location, including may sizes and styles of bicycles, bike trailers, helmets, and even Fat Boy cruiser bikes. Certain rentals – like scooters and surreys – will still need to be arranged through their original location at 1470 Periwinkle Way.

Additionally, Billy’s at Bailey’s now offers customers the opportunity to rent YOLO stand-up paddle boards through partnership with YOLO Board Adventures of Sanibel (www.yoloboardadventuressanibel.com).

BIG ARTS 2014-2015 Ticket Brochure

BIG Arts logoAs a big supporter of BIG ARTS, it was great to get their new brochure this week. Whether you fancy classical, dance, forum, family entertainment, visual arts, jazz/pop/contemporary, theater, film, or community creations, BIG ARTS really is your home for all the arts!

Herb Strauss Theater productions coming up include: The Divas, Holiday Spectacular 2014, Freud’s Last Session, The Fourth Wall, Godspell, and A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia.

The Monday Night film series runs from October 20 through April 27 with a variety of other films too, include the BIG ARTS Film Academy’s Not-For-Monday-Night Series, “Great Themes” Film Discussion Groups, and a Critically Acclaimed Documentary Series Wednesdays in March.

Classical music performances include: Kinga Augustyn, The Merling Trio, Amphion String Quartet, Emalie Savoy, Third Coast Percussion, Svetlana Smolina, and The Souothwest Florida Symphony.

The Forum Lecture series features: Arthur Brooks, Ph.D., American Enterprise Institute; Kevin Carey, M.P.A. from New America Foundation; Andy McAfee, Ph.D., MIT Sloan School of Management; Ivo H. Daalder, Ph.D., Chicago Council on Global Affairs & U.S. Ambassador; Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize – Journalism; Dennis Ross, Ph.D., The Washington Institute for Near East Policy & U.S. Ambassador; Karen Tumulty, M.B.A., The Washington Post; Nicholas Burns, M.A., Harvard University & U.S. Ambassador.

Jazz/Pop/Contemporary performances include: Riders in The Sky, Jack Jones, So Good for the Soul, and Tom Chapin. There also is a National Geographic “Live” family program and “The Second City” comedy.

Visual Arts include a variety of exhibits right through “season”, plus the Photography Scavenger Hunt that SanibelSusan sponsored last year. I will be the sponsor again this year too, with proceeds to benefit the BIG ARTS scholarship programs.

Community Creations include poetry events, play readings, a Wendy Webb concert, and the BIG ARTS Concert Band concerts. I still sing with the BIG ARTS Community Chorus which also has Holiday and Spring Concert performances. There is more info at www.BIGARTS.org. If you want tickets, do not delay, one of the Forum events already is sold out.

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer

House logic logoHere is an article with some good advice from “HouseLogic” on-line. The author, G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

“Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers. You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

“1. Understand the process

All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

“2. Set baselines

Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash buyer.

“3. Create an offer review process

If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

“4. Don’t take offers personally

Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

“5. Review every term

Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures—such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments—to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?
Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.
Have the buyers attached a prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?
Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?
With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

“6. Be creative

If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 5-12



1 new listing: Kings Crown #108 2/2 $695K.

2 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $239K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $699K.

5 new sales: Sundial #D407 1/1 listed for $230K, Sundial #H102 2/2 listed for $440K, Island Beach Club #310F 2/2 listed for $474K (our listing & sale), Sanibel Siesta #502 2/2 listed for $595K, Compass Point #112 2/2 listed for $1.135M.

2 closed sales: Blind Pass #D204 3/2 $375K, Seascape #204 3/3.5 $1.735M.


No new listings or price changes.

5 new sales: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 listed for $280K; 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 listed for $499,995; 981 Main St 4/2.5 listed for $599K; 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 listed for $749K, 1021 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 listed for $749K.

No closed sales.


No new listings.

1 price change: 592 Sea Oats Dr now $339K.

No new or closed sales.



No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 listed for $965K.

1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2313 1/1 $520K.


1 new listing: 11520 Laika Ln 2/2 $2.75M.

1 price change: 15747 Captiva Dr 5/6.5 now $6.495M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 $2.668M (short sale).


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.

Even if it rains on the islands, it’s still paradise! Weekend wishes to all!

September Real Estate Scoop on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It is SanibelSusan reporting that the holiday weekend was soooo quiet that we did not expect to see much real estate action this week either, but surprise-surprise, we had several listings shown – some multiple times – as well as several email inquiries about listings.

At the local Realtor® bi-weekly Caravan Meeting yesterday, attendance was low. There were only two properties on tour (including our new listing at Pointe Santo #D45 – see photos below). Only one new sale was announced. It was our home sale last week in Gulf Shores (a cooperative effort between Dave and me). The SanibelSusan Team is happy to have our business well represented.

Below is the activity posted in our Multiple Listing Service over the last week. First, a few news items:

SCCF Annual International Coastal Cleanup

SCCF logoSaturday, September 20, SCCF (Sanibe-Captiva Conservation Foundation) invites residents and visitors to participate in an international volunteer effort to rid coastlines and waterways of marine litter, pollution, and debris. SCCF’s partner in the Ocean Conservancy’s 28th Annual Coastal Cleanup is Keep Lee County Beautiful. To participate go to SCCF (3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd) between 9 a.m. and noon on the 20th to check in and pick up Coastal Cleanup data cards and trash bags. Bring water and work gloves. Lunch and snacks on the Nature Center porch will be available from 10 a.m. until noon. There will be a dumpster for all trash. Worldwide last year, volunteers picked up 12.3 million pounds of trash on 12,000 miles of coast. If you have questions, want to reserve a favorite cleanup spot, or get data cards early, call SCCF at 239-472-2329.

Millennials and Boomers Trading Places

wall street journalSourced to “The Wall Street Journal”, “Daily Real Estate News” posted this on Tuesday. More good news for Florida!

“As the economy improves, Millennials and Baby Boomers are on the move, but they’re heading in opposite directions, according to a new analysis by real estate data firm RealtyTrac. Each year, 17 million Americans (or about 6% of the population) move into a different county, according to Census Bureau data. RealtyTrac’s analysis found Millennials (considered born between 1977 to 1992, in this survey) to be the most mobile generation, moving away from counties with populations of 178,000 or fewer and moving into counties with larger populations (500,000-plus).

““The Millennial generation is generally moving from lower-priced to higher-priced markets for both buying and renting, with the tradeoff being more jobs (lower unemployment) and higher median incomes in the markets they are moving to,” the report revealed.

“On the other hand, Baby Boomers (defined as being born between 1945 to 1964) are moving away from higher-priced markets with large populations to lower-priced markets in smaller counties. Baby Boomers are gearing up for retirement and are less concerned about the job market and more concerned with living in an affordable place, the report says.

“According to RealtyTrac’s analysis, here’s where Millennials are heading:

  • Fayette, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Citrus, Fla. (Homosassa Springs)
  • El Dorado, Calif. (Sacramento)
  • Yavapai, Ariz. (Prescott)
  • Clair, Mich. (Detroit)
  • Livingston, Mich. (Detroit)
  • DeKalb, Ill. (Chicago)

“RealtyTrac’s analysis shows Baby Boomers are moving away from at the fastest rates:

  • Fulton, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Arlington, Va. (Washington, D.C.)
  • DeKalb, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Wayne, Mich. (Detroit)
  • Clayton, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Alexandria, Va. (Washington, D.C.)
  • Milwaukee, Wis. (Milwaukee)

“Where are the Boomers heading then? The highest percentage of Baby Boomers are moving to Florida, near Punta Gorda, Orlando, and Cape Coral, according to the report. Also, a high percentage of Boomers are heading to counties near Prescott and Phoenix, Ariz., and Hilton Head, S.C., according to the report.”

REALTORS® Expect Modest Price Growth in Next 12 Months

Here is a positive post about Florida real estate from the National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Blog on Tuesday. The actual post includes the map of the United States below, with each state marked to show their median price change expected in the next year. Though most of the increases are modest, Florida, Texas, and Hawaii are projected to have the highest increases – greater than 5% to 6%.

REALTORS® expect home prices to increase modestly in the next 12 months, with the median expected price increase at 3.4% [1]. The expected price change is modest compared to the strong price growth in 2012-2013. Local conditions vary, but concerns about how borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain a mortgage and weak job recovery appear to be underpinning the modest price expectation.

Price Increases

“[1] The median expected price change is the value such that 50% of respondents expect prices to change above this value and 50% of respondents expect prices to change below this value. A median expected price change is computed for each state based on the respondents for that state.”

More About Where to Dine

In addition to the restaurant temporary closings (for staff vacations and physical improvements) mentioned in last week’s blog, a couple of others were announced. Here is a summary:

  • Blue Coyote Supper Club at Sanibel Golf Club/Beachview is closed until September 16. Then, it will be closed Sundays and Mondays through the rest of the month.
  • cips-place-mastCip’s Place will be open for dinner only (4 to 9:30 p.m.) until October 1.
  • Over Easy Cafe will be closed September 8-18.
  • Traders Cafe & Store is closed all of September.
  • traditionslogo1Traditions on the Beach at Island Inn is closed until September 18.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 29-September 5



2 new listings: Sundial #D407 1/1 $230K, Sundial #J203 1/1 $425K.

1 price change: Poinciana #2C 3/2 now $1.1M

2 new sales: Tarpon Beach #203 2/2 listed for $668K, Seascape #204 3/3.5 listed for $1.895M.

2 closed sales: Breakers West #B1 2/2 $418.5K, Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 $510K.


2 new listings: 1717 Windward Way 3/2 $689K, 1056 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $899K.

6 price changes: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 now $280K, 2615 Tamarind Rd 2/2 now $379K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 now $530K, 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $549K, 739 Elinor Way 3/3 now $579K, 8987 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 now $799K.

6 new sales: 3965 Coquina Dr 2/2 listed for $399K, 169 Southwinds Dr 2/2 listed for $798K, 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 listed for $898K, 529 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed for $985K, 785 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 listed for $1.099M, 1203 Isabel Dr 2/3 listed for $1.495M.

3 closed sales: 490 Elizabeth Dr 2/2 $350K, 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $469K, 1225 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $760K.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1504 Angel Dr listed for $745K.

No closed sales.



1 new listing: Captiva Shores #C 2/2 $898K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.


1 new listing: 15133 Captiva Dr 2/3 $3.695M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.


1 new listings: 926 South Seas Plantation Rd $5M.

No price changes, 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.

RoseatesAnhingaHere’s to another fabulous weekend!

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.



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.


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



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.


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.


1 new listing: 971 Main St $219.9K.

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

No new or closed sales.



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.

Nothing to report.


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)

Another Summer Sale by The SanibelSusan Team

SANSLogoIt’s great to be back on the island after a busy few days of meetings in Orlando. The SanibelSusan Team also was busy while I was away last week with Dave showing homes last weekend which resulted in a nice sale that was finalized today. Way to go, Dave!

Elise and Lisa fielded inquiries and listing showing appointments. Surprisingly for it being the first week of school here, there was a fair amount of action. Island traffic is expected to change significantly tomorrow though, when only a handful of check-ins are expected.

Here are a couple of news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Songwriters Bringing Tunes to Captiva

MusicThe 1st Annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest will bring nationally-acclaimed singer-songwriters to Captiva and Fort Myers Beach this fall. The festival will take place over two weekends with dozens of free shows. The Captiva weekend will be Sept 26 to 28, it then will shift to Ft Myers Beach for Oct 3 to 6. The complete schedule will be released soon, but Captiva venues already confirmed include South Seas Island Resort, ‘Tween Waters Inn (Crows’ Nest, Old Captiva House and the Canoe & Kayak Club), Captiva Island Inn, Keylime Bistro, Cantina Captiva, RC Otter’s, The Mucky Duck, and Doc Ford’s Captiva.

Contest Deadline Approaching

Ding Darling Society logoSept 15 is the deadline for the 27th Annual “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest. Sponsored by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) it is held in conjunction with “Ding” Darling Days, which runs from Oct 19 to 25. More info on www.ding-darlingdays.com.

The SanibelSusan Team always enjoys receiving photos taken on the island by clients and friends. So get out your best photos, folks, and give the contest a try. Here is a photo that an island friend emailed us a couple of weeks ago. We call it “up close and personal with a red-shouldered hawk” (hope our bird identification is correct).

red shouldered hawk

SanCap Motor Club, Inc.SCMC-LOGOS-4CFinal

There is a newly-formed club on Sanibel. Members of the community are invited to meet with other car enthusiasts on Monday, Sep 1 for a “Cruise In” in the front parking lot of Periwinkle Place Shopping Center. If you have a passion for automobiles – antique to muscle, class to hot rods – join the SanCap Motor Club. This is their inaugural event!

Spring Was Healthiest Market in 3 Years

realtor logoYesterday’s “Daily Real Estate News” posted the following positive news, sourced to realtor.com®:

“July housing data shows that price appreciation and inventory increases during the peak home-buying season helped the market to post the largest spring gains in three years, realtor.com® reports in its National Housing Trend Report. “In July 2012 and 2013, we saw external economic factors overwhelm the healthy gains established in the housing market during the spring home-buying season,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. “This year, we’re ending the traditional season with high buyer and seller confidence demonstrated by price appreciation, increases in inventory, and quick home sales.”

“In July, housing inventories rose 2.3% year-over-year, as the median list price posted a 7.5% increase year-over-year, realtor.com® reports. The median list price was $214,900 nationwide in July. “Despite higher prices and more homes on the market, buyers are snatching up properties faster than last year,” realtor.com® reports. The median age of inventory in July was 82 days, three days less than 2013.

“This is the first time since the beginning of the recovery that we expect to see positive momentum throughout the second half of the year,” Smoke says. “While seasonal patterns are emerging in July month-to-month comparisons, all other metrics point to fundamental market health and a build-up of momentum.””

What About Sanibel & Captiva?

San Cap LogoLooking at the sales on Sanibel and Captiva Islands January through July, there was not such a huge jump in the number of sales, but good steady progress.

Here is how those statistics stack up – unit sales year-to-year.


Sales         Sanibel                                           Captiva                                          GRAND

1/1 to 7/31 Condos  Homes  Lots   TOTAL     Condos  Homes  Lots    TOTAL   TOTAL

2014           111         145       20     276           13           19          0         32          308

2013           109          142      14     265          23            14          1         38          303

2012           113          122      22     257          25            20          1         46          303

2011           106          113      12     231          19            15          0         34          265

Wondering how these sales compare to current inventory? We need listings – especially homes!

# for sale

8/22/14      126          149       88     364          43            34          4         81          445

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 15-22



2 new listings: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 $349,555; Sanibel Siesta #502 2/2 $595K.

2 price changes: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 now $249.9K (our listing), Pointe Santo #B4 2/2 now $669K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Sanibel Arms #C1 2/2 $485K.


5 new listings: 2615 Tamarind Rd 2/2 $425K, 4606 Brainard Bayou Rd 2/1 $434K, 3990 Coquina Dr 3/2 $599.9K, 169 Southwinds Dr 2/2 $798K, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 $2.175M.

1 price change: 1266 Isabel Dr now $1.795M.

5 new sales: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 listed for $489K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 listed for $489K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $549K, 667 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $739K, 4500 Waters Edge Ln 2/2 listed for $799K (our sale).

3 closed sales: 5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $425K, 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 $715K, 4444 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 $925K.


2 new listings: 5749 SanCap Rd $399K, 6486 Pine Ave $459.9K.

1 price change: 861 Birdie View Pt now $339K.

No new or closed sales.



1 new listing: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2 $1.249M.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2628 2/2 now $639K.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2 listed for $1.249M.

No closed sales.


Nothing to report.


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.

Enjoy your weekend! It’s gonna be another sunny warm one on the islands! SanibelSusan


Florida Realtors® & Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Happenings

Florida Realtors logoSanibelSusan is writing this from the Florida Realtors® 2014 Conference & Trade Expo in Orlando which is a terrific annual event with the leadership team’s subcommittee, committee and business meetings, plus plenty of Realtor® camaraderie.

This year I am happy to be serving on several including: the Audition Panel for new instructors; the Professional Development Committee’s Curriculum Subcommittee; the Professional Subcommittee; the Professional Standards Forum; and the Resort and Second-Home Specialist Forum.

2014 conventionSometimes I think that when I am out of town, the SanibelSusan Team performs at their finest. It certainly seems to work in bringing us new business. I’ve only been here a couple of days and already the team has serviced an unexpected new listing at Pointe Santo, and teammate Dave is all set to show property tonight and in the morning to some last-minute buyers flying in later today for a quick 2-day home/condo buying trip. Dave is on a roll after putting an off-island property under contract earlier in the week. So much for August being a quiet month in Southwest Florida!

View from our new listing at Pointe Santo

View from our new listing at Pointe Santo

Here are a few more news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days.

“Homeless to Harvard”

breaking-night-liz-murrayMany island real estate colleagues also are in Orlando, soaking up the educational sessions, networking, and finalizing our 2014 committee work. Yesterday at the annual Keynote Awards Luncheon, the speaker was Liz Murray. As a homeless child of cocaine-addicted parents in Brooklyn to becoming a Harvard graduate on scholarship, her story is awe-inspiring.

She authored the book “Breaking Night” and the made-for-TV movie “From Homeless to Harvard” is based on her life. I have attended many conventions and events with nationally-known speakers, but this gal is second to none. With nary a dry eye in the house, we all left the room with huge motivation. If you have a chance to hear her, do it!

A Fast Ten Years

charley-track-mapIslanders all breathed a silent sigh of relief on Wednesday which was the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Charley. Though that storm brought out the best in island leaders and demonstrated amazing island spirit and neighbors helping neighbors, I think we are all very thankful that we have had pretty easy summer weather over the last few years.

2013 StarsThis August anniversary also means that right-around-the-corner is the 10-year anniversary of SanibelSusan Realty’s office opening in Sanibel Square. Those ten years have flown by.

Sanibel Luminary night 2014 (Dec 5) will officially mark the anniversary of our grand opening. Stay tuned for something special then!

Changing the Game

reading-bookAnother interesting convention speaker and co-author of the book that has many Realtors® abuzz is Steve Murray (no relation to Liz Murray above). His book “Game Changers” was the basis of a local Association task force that I served on recently.

Game-Changers-CoverThis book about the “unfounded fears and future prosperity of the residential real estate industry” describes through extensive industry research how the real estate business is changing and what the future may hold. You undoubtedly have heard of Zillow, Trulia, and various money-driven 3rd party listing portals eager to get their hands on Realtor® listing information. This book tackles not only issues like that but also agent ratings, MLS consolidations, and more.

realtor logoAs a firm believer that change is inevitable and usually for the good, I also personally think that the Realtor® needs to remain at the center of real estate transactions to best serve sellers and buyers, particularly when the market is a unique vacation-type destination like Sanibel and Captiva Islands where the clients often are absentee. It’s still all about service to me which sometimes conflicts with the theory that “bigger is better!” The greatest compliment that my team and I receive after a successful transaction is “your service is the best we have ever received from a Realtor®.” The industry remaining service-driven needs to continue for our business and profession to thrive!

What’s Happening With Real Estate in the Rest of the World?

TRC LOGOThrough SanibelSusan’s TRC (Transnational Referral Certification), I often receive information about the real estate market in other countries. Here is an excerpt from the July TRC newsletter with details from ICREA (the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations).

“With the first half of 2014 coming to a close,…quick round-the-world snapshot of key residential markets, based on news from member associations and other credible sources. …all real estate is local, but having a big picture sense of market conditions is good….

“One of the few markets to emerge largely unscathed from the global financial crisis, CANADA was well into recover by 2010. Its recession was the shortest and mildest among advanced economies. Since then the market has remained steady with slowly rising home sales. In most months about half of all local housing markets report gains. The metro Vancouver and Toronto markets tend to skew median home prices upward. Canada’s central bank has maintained its low 1% overnight lending rate for the past four years with no increase expected until 2015.

“On of the much-watched BRIC countries, BRAZIL is Lat America’s largest economy. Its housing market witnessed an economic boom thanks to low interest rates and credit expansion, raising cries of a housing bubble. Debate continues on the bubble, but the market has remained strong, supported by a growing middle class that buys for personal use. Its recent place on the world (Cup) stage, and selection as host country for the 2016 Olympics, is viewed by some as a mixed blessing with foreign investor eyes on the market but local money being redirected. Economic growth has slowed…perhaps a good sign for those fearing the bubble.

“High prices are twarting firtst-time buyers in the UNITED KINGDOM, in spite of the government’s “Help to Buy” program. Compounding the problem is a lack of inventory, which neared a 10-year low this spring. The UK’s NAEA views the Help to Buy program as a good temporary measure, but has called on the government to take action on the “unfair and hugely expensive” Stamp Duty, seen as a barrier to access and upward mobility on the housing ladder. London prices remain high and rising although the strong pound is prohibitive for some foreign investors.

“While the newly instituted property law “ALUR” in FRANCE is much-debated among industry professionals a recent FNAIM survey found a minority of citizens aware of or do not understand the law. Among those who do, few deem it effective. The law brings a raft of measures impacting the housing market, including for owners who rent their homes to tourists. While FNAIM supports efforts that protect consumers and promotes professionalism, it cites a number of shortcomings and overly burdensome elements of the law that will slow or complicate sales. Overall, the housing market remains weak, hurt by high employment, although prices are edging up in some markets. Paris and Cote d’Azur prices (particularly luxury housing) have largely remained strong.

“The newly elected Narendra Modi-led NDA government bodes well for INDIA‘s property market with many believing the government will help revive the market and address housing affordability issues. Ongoing urbanization and migration to cities coupled with increasing levels of education and healthcare will drive future demand. The market has been facing a slowdown in recent years due to high interest rates on home loans and lower economic growth. A Real Estate Regulation bill (long in development) is expected to pass this year which will support greater transparency and protect buyers’ interests.

“Housing news from China is less about housing in CHINA than about the impact of Chinese foreign buyers–primarily in the luxury market. A number of overheating local markets point to Chinese investors as pushing up home prices; often out of reach of local buyers. Markets attracting large numbers of Chinese buyers include Sydney, Mumbai, London, Paris, Singapore, NYC, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Chinese tend to buy where they have business interests, or buy for their children or to secure residency (a growing trend worldwide). Local response is mixed between those selling at record high prices and those priced out of the market. Some view the trend as dangerous to the local economy while others see it as a natural outgrowth of globalization.

“The resort market in MEXICO took a hit with the US economic recession (due to the many American expats buyers) but is now recovering with some notable success stories such as Veracruz. A positive sign is the government reforms being instituted to encourage business growth and investment. Sector actions include debt guarantees for construction companies and increased subsidies for homebuyers. The two government lenders reported a 14% credit increase in 1Q 2014 with increased participation by small and medium-sized homebuilders. Real estate trade group AMPI is doing its part by continuing its push for strong industry regulations and professionalism.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 8-15



3 new listings: Mariner Pointe #421 2/2.5 $599K, Pointe Santo #D5 2/2 $675K, Pointe Santo #D45 2/2 $799K (our listing).

1 price change: Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $480K.

3 new sales: Sundial #H407 1/1 listed for $399K, Loggerhead Cay #451 2/2 listed for $475K, Sundial #E108 2/2 listed for $799K.

1 closed sale: Island Beach Club #320D 2/2 $824K.

No new listings.

2 price changes: 1221 Par View Dr 3/2 now $758K, 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 now $898K.

3 new sales: 1661 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $290K (foreclosure), 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $469K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 listed for $599K (short sale).

6 closed sales: 5141 SanCap Rd 2/2 $280K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $450K, 1516 Angel Dr 3/2 $865K, 1817 Buckthorn Ln 4/3.5 $1.05M, 2279 Troon Ct 3/4 $1.2M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $1.4375M.


Nothing to report.



No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $689.9K.

No new or closed sales.


No new listings.

1 price change: 1 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 now $2.395M.

No new or closed sales.


1 new listing: 15295 Captiva Dr $850K.

No price changes, 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.

Happy weekend to all! Susan