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Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate

 

April 15, 2014

Curious About Bonita Springs Flood Insurance Reform?

Bonita Springs Flood Policy

Flood Insurance Reform Bonita Springs Fl

As usual, when there is some sort of threat to home ownership in Florida and Southwest Florida the Realtor organizations create mail and email movements to organize our leaders into action.  The following is a copy/pasted email from Senator Marco Rubio after the H.R. 3370 was signed into law.

Dear Chris,

I am writing to update you on the recent passage of legislation to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and resolve insurmountable rate increases stemming from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW12; P.L. 112-141).

As you know, BW12 was enacted to ensure the solvency of the NFIP, but it became apparent that these changes would negatively impact Florida's families and real estate market. I appreciate you contacting my office to share your concerns and letting me know about the problems this law was creating in Florida.

From the beginning of the debate on flood insurance reforms, I supported solutions that would provide a manageable program for policy holders to count on as well as pave the way for sustainability. That is why, on  +March 13, 2014, I supported the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370; P.L. 113-89), which repeals certain premium rate increases on homes purchased or uninsured after the enactment of BW12 and restores manageable rates on homes that have complied with historic flood mapping. Additionally, included in H.R. 3370 are provisions of an amendment I authored that would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to disclose data that provides the basis for changes in flood premium rates, authorizes monthly premium installment payments, and ensures that mitigation activities undertaken by a policy holder will be considered when the agency determines risk premium rates.

Florida leads the nation in participation of the NFIP and these reforms were critical to the well-being of its property owners. I am pleased that H.R. 3370 was signed into law by the President on  +March 21, 2014. Please know I appreciate you bringing this issue to my attention, and I look forward to your continued input as H.R. 3370 is implemented. It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Florida in the United States Senate. For further information on the NFIP please visit www.floodsmart.gov.

Sincerely,
Marco Rubio
United States Senator

Each week I provide a weekly update on issues in Washington and ways in which my office can assist the people of Florida.  Sign up here for updates on my legislative efforts, schedule of events throughout Florida, constituent services and much more.

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April 13, 2014

Negotiating Bonita Springs Real Estate

Bonita Springs Real Estate Agents

Bonita Springs Negotiate

Not long ago, I had an interesting conversation with Rob Aubrey, very smart person who, on a technological level, runs circles around most and he also sells real estate in another part of the country.  We chatted about our real estate markets, the challenges we have in our real estate markets and, of course, the real estate agents we deal with on a daily basics.  Some of whom are not so much fun to work with.

Matter of factly I shared some tale of woe about either a lack luster or lazy real estate agent and what he said to me hit me like a bucket of water to the face, “Chris, you’re entering a no-skill real estate market, again.”

We always hear about how cyclical real estate is and it’s true.  As an industry, we jokingly labeled the real estate agents who got into the business in 2004 as “order takers”.  It required absolutely no skill or knowledge to sell real estate in ‘04. Zip, Nada.  Recently, the market shook loose, real estate listings got scarce and real estate in entry level started selling easily and the no-skill real estate agents has come back.

On the heels of that phone conversation with Rob I spoke via Google hangout with a friend of mine, who is a Denver Luxury Real Estate Agent, about interviewing with potential home sellers with the no-skill real estate agents oozing back into the market.  She said, “The way I see it is that the biggest challenge most home seller’s have if they hire the no-skill agent is negotiation. Not every agent is a good negotiator. Period.”  Those no-skill agents who are either new to the real estate career or getting back into real estate after working a job during the difficult housing market have little to no negotiation skills.  They’ve lost the creative or ingenious edge that puts deals together and makes home sellers money or get a home buyer their dream home.

It goes without saying that those agents got out of the market when they could have proven their mettle, if they were so skilled.  When they get back into the real estate market and compete for listings they are often the real estate agent who also “buys listings”. They’ll list at any price the seller demands because they either need a listing or they don’t care how fast or slow it sells.

Whether you’re buying or selling real estate in Bonita Springs, Florida you really do need to ask your agent what sort of negotiating experience they have.  Ask them:

What sort of challenges or surprises have you had in the last few months?

  • How will you *actually* make me more money by using you to sell my home in Bonita Springs?
  • How will you get me a new home when there are multiple offers?
  • What happens if there is a non-favorable home inspection whether I’m a buyer or a seller?

Seriously, these are three larger aspects of negotiating a real estate transaction that can separate the men from the boys or the order takers from the career real estate agents in Bonita Springs, Florida or wherever you’re buying or selling real estate.

Posted in Buyer Tips, Seller Tips
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April 8, 2014

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report - April 1 2014

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market

Here’s the Bonita Springs real estate report for the month ending March 2014. This winter tourist season in Bonita Springs and Estero has continued on the high speed rail and the result, real estate sales are on fire in southwest Florida.  Here’s the latest and greatest Bonita Springs real estate sales numbers as calculated on April 5, 2014.  First, check out the “condition” of the real estate. Over 91% equity which means, few foreclosures or short sales.  Prices are rising at a brisk pace as the inventory sells off.

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market History

Speaking of selling off real estate … we’re still selling record numbers of units of real estate.  The numbers are actually going to be slightly higher as more gets recorded that were “mail away” or from agents who didn’t record the sales right away.  Check out how many homes and condos sold this year and how many sold in 2005, which was a boom year.  Yes, THAT’S how much real estate is selling.

Bonita Springs Real Estate Prices

As a result of the record sales of real estate in Bonita Springs, we’re seeing (for only the second month since the housing downturn) the 200-400K price point outsell the 200K and under price point.  This means that we’re have sold off most of the entry priced real estate.  200K and under is disappearing quickly.  200-400K is working toward being our “entry level real state” price in Bonita Springs, again.

Bonita Springs Real Estate Statistics

Last but not least, how is all of this real estate paid for?  Over 72% of closed sales last month paid for it with cash, clams, moolah.  Amazing, huh?  Guess what else … it’s not just Bonita Springs or Estero that’s running with heavy cash.  Bonita Springs - Estero real estate 72% cash, Cape Coral real estate about 55% cash, Naples real estate is about 69% cash, Fort Myers real estate is about 67% cash, Lehigh Acres real estate is at about 60% cash, Marco Island real estate runs at about 60% cash, Fort Myers Beach real estate is a whopping 77% cash.

… and that’s the news about Bonita Springs real estate as of April 1, 2014.  If you have questions call text or email!  239-273-7430 LifeInBonitaSprings@gmail.com

 

 

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All information is deem accurate, not guaranteed and subject to change.  Check the date on this report for freshness.  If you have questions regarding your particular neighborhood, your street or your home specifically you’re welcome to contact us for a current market report. Real estate consumers that read this website are urged to seek independent, professional legal, real estate and financial advice before engaging in any transaction. All information is deemed, accurate, subject to change and not guaranteed.

Posted in Market Reports
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March 27, 2014

Janes Memorial Scenic Parkway | Things To do

Janes Scenic ParkwayRecently, I had the opportunity to play tour guide with winter house guests. Besides seeing the usual southwest Florida sites I thought it would be interesting to finally tour Janes Memorial Scenic Drive. If you’re not aware, Janes is an eleven mile primitive road that was once a logging trail in the 1940-50’s. It runs through the Fakahatchee Strand and one of the most beautiful stretches of natural Florida.

If you skipped right over it the first time, the road is primitive. It’s packed shell, bumpy, dusty, there are no bathrooms, there is no 7-11, cell reception is unreliable, but it sure is interesting. I’d recommend driving an SUV and not the day after it gets detailed. It might not hurt to take a GPS with you, too.

We accessed Janes by taking Alligator Alley to SR 29 and heading south to Copeland mostly to avoid the traffic on 41. Plus, we weren’t going to the Big Cypress Bend boardwalk of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park so it made for a faster drive.

Janes is a great way to spend a few hours and get some fresh air. We drove the length of it and came out through the Picayune Strand State Forest. As a bonus, I also got to see where my son worked a couple of years ago on the Picayune restoration project. While you’re driving you can easily hop out and take pictures of some of the plants and animals you see along the way.

This was strictly a driving trip for us but we did see several mountain bikers along the way. Plus, there are even a few logging tram trails if you’d like to actually hike off of the drive.

When we arrived we were greeted by wood storks peppering cypress trees and all sorts of butterflies. The landscape changes quite a bit with the elevation so count on a variety of plants and animals along the way. It was also the dry season so I am sure it is a totally different experience when there is more standing water. Expect to see all sorts of bromeliads, a wide variety of flowers and trees, birds, turtles, gators, lubber grasshoppers and all sorts of butterflies. I even got to see a Ruddy Dagger Wing butterfly in person. (I have butterfly issues)

We did see all sorts of critters including several alligators in small ponds and one big boy sunning on the side of the road. As Floridians, we take seeing some of this wildlife for granted but I can assure you my houseguest from Pittsburgh is still talking about the gators we saw! From the safety of the car we were only a couple of feet away from a Kodak moment with the business end of a huge gator. Most people will never experience that in their life … and live to tell the tale.

If you decide to drive Janes Memorial Scenic Drive be sure to take provisions and don’t do any sort of off trail hiking that will require a search party to find you. It would be easy to get lost and, trust me, you wouldn’t be the first to do it. Like my momma always said, “Don’t end up on the news.”

To learn more about Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and Janes Memorial Scenic Parkway visit: http://www.floridastateparks.org/fakahatcheestrand/

Happy trails!

 

*This article was written by Chris Griffith, special to Southwest Spotlight Newspaper*

Posted in Things To Do
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March 25, 2014

Pinecrest at Stoneybrook Estero Condo

2bed/2ba Condo Near FGCU

Overview
Maps
Photos





















$130,000
Condominium
Main Features
2 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
1 Unit
Interior: 1,212 sqft
Location
21360 Lancaster Run
#1515
Estero, FL 33928
USA

Chris Elizabeth Griffith

Chris Elizabeth Griffith

Downing Frye Realty, Inc.
(239) 273-7430
chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com
http://LifeInBonitaSprings.com

       


Listed by: Downing Frye Realty, Inc.

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March 23, 2014

Happy Sunday Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs Rodeo

Fort Myers Rodeo on Bayshore

Near Bonita Springs ... We went to "Saturday Night Live" at the Lee County Posse Grounds on Bayshore Drive in North Fort Myers Florida for the Rodeo.  These boys were fascinated with the rodeo clown who was dishing out free advice on the rails.  It was a good time and something different to do.  The drive is only about 20-30 minutes up the interstate from Bonita Springs, Florida. If you'd like to learn more about attending the rodeo visit: leecountyposse.com

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March 8, 2014

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report - March 1 2014

Here’s the Bonita Springs real estate report for the month ending February 2014. This winter tourist season in Bonita Springs and Estero has been robust, actually down right crazy. The streets are packed with tourists and seasonal winter residents. As a result, real estate sales are on fire in southwest Florida.  Here’s the latest and greatest real estate sales numbers as calculated on March 5, 2014.

Bonita Springs Historical sales

Historical real estates sales in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area are leveled out. We’ve seen an absorption of the entry level priced real estate.  Affordably priced homes and condos that hit the market are gone within days, with multiple offers and they often close at or over list price.

Bonita Springs Real Estate PRice

You’ll notice that for the first time in a while the 200-400K price range has had more sales than real estate priced 200K and under.  This is due in part to the vanishing inventory and the entry level price of real estate in Bonita Springs rising.

Bonita Springs Financing

How is real state in Bonita Springs funded?  Cash is king this winter!  Nearly 70% of our sales are paid for with cash, followed by conventional financing.

The overall condition of Bonita Springs home and condo sales is equity owned, meaning that it is not a foreclosure or a short sale.  Our real estate market is healthy.  There are few, if any distressed real estate markets in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida areas.

Condition of Bonita Springs real estate

We will continue to see a small drip of short sale or foreclosure properties in the near future but for the most part, when the flood gates opened up in 2006-2007 we bore the brunt of the housing downturn then.

If you’d like more pointed information about the real estate market in the price range you’re searching or the neighborhood you’d like to buy or sell a home in, contact Chris Griffith by phone or text at 239-273-7430.  You can also set up a search on this website and be automatically notified of new listings, price reductions or properties that come back onto the market as they happen. Sign up here:  Bonita Springs Real Estate Search

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Feb. 18, 2014

Backyard Owl Houses in Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs House for Owls

For those who doubt, there really are four seasons in Southwest Florida. They’re just not as obvious as up north. Down here we have spring, summer, fall and the fourth season is whither, not winter. My back yard, which is on a tiny preserve, is leafless and sorry looking for a couple of months over whither.  There are actually maple trees and the leaves turn and fall but that all sort of happens on one day.  We have fall but down here it’s speed-fall.  We also have speed-spring. Those same maple trees decide to grow leaves over night. This year I think it was on January 9th. I woke up and, boom, the trees had leaves.

Spring has sprung and it’s not just the trees. After a Blue Jay ruckus in the back yard I went out to see if it was caused by the usual suspect, a resident red shouldered hawk. I had to do a double take when I saw a baby owl staring back at me from the screech owl box that one of the cawing Jays was beside.  Finally.  It had been a year of staring at a cedar box watching the proverbial pot not come to a boil.

This owl box was silent auction winnings from the 2013 CREW fundraiser at Riverside Park in Downtown Bonita Springs.  The 2014 fundraiser is March 1st, by the way.  I took my prize home, researched the best location and way to install it and then waited until birds moved it.  Apparently, I should have written “owls only” by the opening in the box.  Much to my surprise the birds that moved in weren’t owls but butterfly eating Crested Fly Catchers.  If you haven’t caught the irony … I raise butterflies for sport in the same back yard as the owl box.  I had been end gamed by Mother Nature. 

Fortunately, the Fly Catcher eggs hatched and the murderers were on their way shortly thereafter. The owl/flycatcher box sat empty for some time, nearly a year until recently. I’m a grandma, again. We officially have owls and I’ve named the mother Olivia.

So here’s what I can share.  The owls have actually been in the back yard far longer than I realized.  I’ve heard their call at night. You can go to www.AllAboutBirds.org to hear several recordings of their call.  I also know that you can get your own owl box or other native bird box, handmade in the US of A by Brian Beckner who made my owl box.  Learn more: www.facebook.com/NativeBirdBoxes

Even a city owl needs a home so don’t think that you’re in too noisy of an area to encourage wildlife in your own back yard.  I’m just off of Tamiami Trail with a little bit of woods in the back yard. I’ve seen so much wildlife as soon as I started giving the critters a reason to come around and after I started paying attention to the little details and clues they leave behind. 

One of the biggest benefits so far is a reduced rodent population, something I am certainly comfortable living with less of around here.

*This article was written by Chris Griffith, special to Southwest Spotlight Newspaper

Posted in Things To Do
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Feb. 17, 2014

Bonita Springs Real Estate Blog - New and Improved!

Bonita Springs

Sorry to have been away so long but I was working on a better real estate website that combined the newest property search features with the blogging and writing component that everyone enjoys reading and subscribing to.  Glad to be back to posting about Bonita Springs real estate. Thank you for being so patient!

Posted in Almost Missed News
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Oct. 9, 2013

Record Transfer Service – Real Estate Scam or Not?

Real Estate Scam

Real Estate Deed Records Service Bonita Springs Florida

Before you fall for a real estate scam do the research.  Did you know that you are probably going to be mailed a copy of your recorded deed and your title insurance policy several weeks after closing on your Bonita Springs home or condo?  Well, during the shuffle of everything going on with your new real estate purchase you’re probably going to forget … and there are people who are going to leverage your forgetfulness.

You’ll get an official looking letter in the mail telling you that you need to order a deed from “Record Transfer Service” for only $83.  How nice of them to sell you a copy of your deed that may be free or merely a few bucks, if your county doesn’t provide access to records.

If you’re in Lee County (Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers) Florida visit www.LeeClerk.org and search for your deed and it’s free to print.  If you are in a different county and don’t know how to access your clerk’s office visit: www.MyFloridaCounty.com and you can look up records in any county and have the document mailed to you for a very small fee.  I was able to locate my own deed which was filed with Lee County on www.LeeClerk.org – FREE.  I did check www.MyFloridaCounty.com and found it there and the cost was $8.25 … most of that was service fee and postage.

So, if you got here by searching for “Record Transfer Service” and wondering if you need to order a deed from them, know that you can get it free or low cost somewhere else.  Save your money!

For the record, there are all sorts of disclaimers that they’re not official but it must be a lucrative game if they keep doing it.  Here is the disclaimers in plain sight that you may not even read thoroughly enough to realize you are not required to order the deed:

Real estate Disclaimer Scam

Companies similar to “Record Transfer Service” also trick business owners into filing their annual corporate report.  So, if you set up a business in Florida, look out for that shady deal too.

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