Posted by Valerie Tutor on Saturday, January 23rd, 2016 at 12:15am.
Happy New Year! It is 2016 and we are off to a busy start again in SW Florida. Folks are streaming back in to our area for their seasonal visits. Having said that, I must say that it is cold here! Really. El Nino has been doing his thing bringing cold weather and a few storms to us. Of course, cold is probably relative. It will be 50° in the morning on Sanibel. The news said it was 10° in Minneapolis and 14° in Milwaukee and a balmy 27° in Oradell, New Jersey. I have friends and clients in all these places so I am not sure they would be sympathetic to my 50° and sunny! El Nino is getting slowly weaker so warm weather is just around the corner. Most of our days are already in the 70’s. Christmas day for me was fishing on the boat in Pine Island Sound off Captiva in 83° weather. What a wonderful Christmas! I hope everyone had as great a holiday and New Year’s as we did here.
A recent blog on our company’s website, John R. Wood Island Real Estate said it better than I can. I am reprinting a portion of it here: “We love Sanibel real estate because we think Sanibel Island happens to be the best place in the world. We’re not alone in our affinity for our islands. Sanibel Island and Captiva Island made it on the Wall Street Journal’s list of 10 best places for second homes. This summer, Sanibel was voted a top vacation destination on the Today Show. Sanibel has also ranked #8 in the top 12 beaches in the world, according to U.S. News. The list goes on. Sanibel and Captiva Islands were featured in Coastal Living, “renowned for their pristine beaches and abundant seashells.” The article described the islands as “the very picture of laid-back living.” Sanibel Island is a wonderful place to call home, and if you’ve visited or live on Sanibel or Captiva, then you already know.”
Are you interested in making Sanibel home or home away from home? Whether you’re buying, selling, or would just like to learn more, contact me at www.yoursanibelhomes.com or at email@example.com Inventory is scarcer than it was last year and prices are rising. We really need to talk. I hope I get to meet you in person this season – or at least via email. Feel free to drop me a line with your questions. I am happy to answer them. I love Sanibel and Captiva – frankly, I love Florida. So stay warm and we’ll talk.
Posted by Valerie Tutor on Saturday, December 19th, 2015 at 9:25pm.
Merry Christmas to you all! I usually have great plans to be completely ready for the holiday season and usually, like now, those plans go by the wayside. I love this time of the year on the islands, though. All the stores and businesses decorate so beautifully and at night, it is a tropical wonderland. Last Saturday on Captiva, we watched the annual Christmas Boat Parade at a friend’s house on the bay. We had front row seats for the spectacle and enjoyed a great time with good friends. I am looking forward to Christmas Eve services at the Chapel by the Sea. It is a blessed experience to listen to the lovely Christmas music accompanied by the Gulf of Mexico as her waves come ashore just a few yards away. For a different experience, you can cruise with Santa and some friendly dolphins on Christmas Eve courtesy of Adventures in Paradise. That is truly a Florida paradise Christmas!
Once again, our market is hot and our continued issue is the lack of inventory. We have very few quality properties available both on and off island, but there are some gorgeous ones just waiting for a buyer. The latest statistics show that Florida has outpaced the nation in sales and sales prices. The forecasts say that will continue in 2016 with sales up 8-10% over 2015. Seasonal rentals for January, February and March are non-existent unless there are cancellations. Even the resort properties are boasting 96% bookings already. Even with the big news of the Federal Reserve finally raising the interest rate, mortgages rates are still a fantastic bargain and we have a few banks in our SW Florida area that specialize in second homes, condos, resort property and bridge loans. So if you have been thinking about buying here in Florida, now could be the time. Those that decided to wait in 2013 and 2014 as well as earlier this year have only seen prices continue to increase and the selection narrow. I urge buyers to keep an open mind and search off island communities, such as Sanibel View, Harbour Isle Yacht & Racquet Club or Gulf Harbor as well as Sanibel-Captiva.
Wishing you and your family a joyous and peaceful holiday. Here in this special place, we are eternally grateful with thanksgiving and praise to our Lord and Savior for His blessings, His peace, His favor and grace upon us. Merry Christmas to you all and remember.. in 2016, I want to Bring you Home to your special paradise place. God bless
Posted by Valerie Tutor on Sunday, November 15th, 2015 at 3:20pm.
November in Sanibel-Captiva-Fort Myers and our winter residents are back! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We have so much to be thankful for here in paradise. I am so grateful to live here and for all my wonderful friends, neighbors and clients! Right now, I am enjoying watching the Florida Gators play on the big screen while relaxing at Sanibel Island Fish House restaurant, great weekend specials and the best Fish Dip on the island! If you visit the island soon, Sanibel Fish House and Sweet Melissa’s are just two “must do” restaurants. The annual tree lighting ceremony at Tween Waters Inn is the day after Thanksgiving and folks from all over SW Florida come participate in this kick-off event to our holiday season.
I must also give a shout out to the incredible downtown Fort Myers River District that has been reborn over the last few years! The art galleries, restaurants, theater, music, shops and more are a funky blend of historical and modern hip culture. It is truly a great place to spend a day or an evening. The river view from many of the shops and restaurants is a real plus. “Arts for Act” is a big event this weekend downtown. This event benefits the Abuse Crisis & Treatment center in Fort Myers that is a lifeline for domestic abuse victims, rape victims and their families.
Get ready for this – the latest reports show that real estate in Lee and Collier County has seen increases over 15% in 2015! Wow. If you were waiting for a deal, you waited too long. Inventory is low and it is a seller’s market. There are still good values to be found in vacation rental condominiums and your dream winter home but you have to be prepared to look long and hard…or use a great realtor – like me!
Sanibel & Captiva are certainly paradise, but so are many other communities in SW Florida. Harbour Isle Yacht & Racquet Club, Gulf Harbour, Punta Rassa, and the riverfront in old Fort Myers are all wonderful places to live and vacation, just to name a few. So are the communities in Bonita Springs and Estero. You can often get larger/newer homes for less than you would find on the islands. Keep an open mind and see what SW Florida has to offer and you could fall in love this season!! Have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Remember, I am bringing you home…. and I have saved you a seat.
Posted by Valerie Tutor on Monday, October 12th, 2015 at 12:13am.
Wow. October already. Fall is here now on our island paradise. We can tell because the temperature drops to the 70’s at night & 80’s in the day, the summer rains move away, and the air becomes less humid. The SW Florida area begins to hum with an undercurrent of excitement as we prepare for our winter residents & visitors to return. The Sanibel Farmer’s Market had a tremendous opening last Sunday and it seems everyone stopped by. The local vendors put on a colorful and tasty display as locals and visitors turned it into both a shopping and a social event. This market and the Lakes Park Farmer’s Market just off island are one of the highlights of the season and they will be busy each weekend through April. Big Arts and our very own Herb Strauss Theater (I am chairman of the theater committee) are busy getting ready for our season opening productions. It is very exciting and some of the concerts and productions this season are a must see! Another must see is the 2 Islands Gallery on Captiva. Check out the amazing work of my pal, Maria Wohr and the other local artists that display there – and then go have lunch at Doc Ford’s Captiva.
October also marks the beginning of some new changes for those financing the purchase of property. The “Know Before You Owe” changes from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau replaces the HUD statement and Truth in Lending disclosures among other things and includes a 3 day review time prior to closing. For the most part, the forms do seem to be easier to understand and helpful but there can be some issues that can occur to delay a closing. A good suggestion is to allow 45-60 days for closing on a financed property (vs. the previous 30 days). Those paying cash are not affected by this new rule, but that does bring up another wrinkle if you are checking the “cash” box on your offer but you are really getting a loan. Make sure you thoroughly understand the ramifications. I will be happy to discuss this with you anytime.
Now is when the work starts to add to our listings so we have something to show our winter buyers! Our inventory in the Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva area as well as Bonita Springs, Estero and even Naples is much lower than usual. I am never too busy for a referral, so if you have friends or family thinking of selling or buying here, it would be a privilege if you sent them my way.
Sign up for a free account here on my website or like my Facebook page so you can search all the properties on the market throughout Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island and more. Since it’s updated every 15 minutes, it is the most accurate site you will find! I am saving you a seat….
Posted by Valerie Tutor on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at 2:12pm.
Happy July! Here is hoping your July 4th was as much fun as ours on the island. Our annual 4th of July parade down Periwinkle is a blast with lots of participation from island businesses as well as residents and visitors who just want to be in a parade. We love to pay tribute to our military to whom we are so thankful. The Island Fireworks celebration off the Causeway beaches is a must see and people start finding their seat early that morning to be sure they have the best view. What fun! It is so easy to be grateful for the freedom we have as Americans when you are looking out over the bay and its water shimmering in the moonlight while the fireworks explode in a colorful kaleidoscope across the evening sky.
The summer tourist season is in full swing and the island is busy with families enjoying the beach and the bike paths. Many of our visitors from Europe stop by this time of year. I met Petra and Kurt from Germany exploring Blind Pass Beach this weekend. It was their first visit and they were thoroughly impressed! I would also like to give a shout out to Dr Melba and Dr. Frank from Miami who purchased their own Sanibel property this summer. Many of our summer visitors and part time residents are actually from the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area. It is a only a little over 2 hours from one coast to the other & a great opportunity for them to escape the hustle and bustle for the simpler island Florida lifestyle.
The real estate market has been steady and very busy. Buyers at all price ranges have come to the SW Florida area and our special islands to purchase vacation and even permanent homes. Savvy investors in real estate are buying the rental homes and condos that are on the beach or near beach given that our rental market is sold out with folks just waiting to reserve a vacation rental. Our concern is still not having enough supply to keep up with the demand. There are currently 144 homes & 128 condos for sale on Sanibel and Captiva. We have sold or put under contract 217 homes & 148 condos so far in 2015 here on the islands. Our off island SW Florida market is smokin’ hot too. Thousands of properties have been purchased this year from Naples to North Fort Myers. Those looking for rentals for winter 2016 are having a hard time because almost all of the rentals throughout SW Florida are booked already!
Have a great summer and if you are looking for a place of your own here in paradise – give me a call and I will save you a seat!
I am a true Florida native and proud of my heritage growing up in South Florida on an 80 acre cattle ranch only two hours from Sanibel. Since the early 1960s, my family loved to spend our free time on Sanibel and Captiva, so I pretty much grew up here. After living and working all over South and Central Florida, my husband and I were thrilled to be able to move home to Sanibel Island.READ MORE