Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate
Bonita Springs Home Buyer Tips
1.) Experienced real estate agents. The “order takers” are coming back into the real estate business because it is moving again. Choose an experienced real estate agent who wasn’t working in another field for the last seven years because they couldn’t cut it through the rough years when real estate skill and expertise mattered most.
2.) Money. Real estate buyers have no business breaching the threshold of a home without proof of funds or a mortgage prequalification in your hot little hands.
3.) Banks are a total nightmare to work with. If you plan on financing your home purchase any real estate agent worth their salt will not let you use your bank from up north to finance your home. Period. It doesn’t matter how nice the lady at the bank is or how many years you’ve banked there. The mortgage underwriters don’t give a crap about loyalty and your loan probably will never fund.
4.) Scoring a deal. This is not 2010 so don’t throw out a 2010 price as an offer on real estate. You missed the boat on 2010 prices four years ago. If you’re shopping entry level priced real estate, you’re probably going to be lucky to actually get into the real estate market so get with the times.
5.) Placing an offer. Sometimes the offer price is actually OVER list price due to low inventory. You might need to feel the sting of defeat a few times before you get on that band wagon.
6.) Flood insurance is expensive, Period. You need to figure out how much flood insurance is before you write an offer. It could be hundreds of dollars per month, on top of your mortgage and taxes.
7.) Distressed real estate. As of September 2014 less than 2% of our active listings were considered short sales, only 3.5% of our active listings are foreclosure. The “distressed real estate” flood was years ago.
8.) Multiple offers. When there are multiple offers on the home of your dreams you need to take it seriously when the listing agent calls for “your highest and best offer”. That means offer the best price and the best terms. Find out terms that will appeal to the seller, closing dates, lease back, post occupancy agreement, etc.
9.) Home Inspectors. There are several really good inspectors your agent can recommend. By good, it means they are experienced and know each neighborhood, the floor plans, chronic problems with particular home models and they have the best equipment like thermal imaging (to see faulty wiring and water intrusion). Please don’t pick a fly-by-night from the internet because they were fifty bucks cheaper. You get what you pay for. I’ve seen $50 cost someone $20,000 in the long run.
10.) New Construction. An experienced real estate agent can and will show you new product as well as resale real estate. There is no cost to you to have agent representation at a new home sales center.
11.) New doesn’t mean perfect. You still need a home inspection with new construction. Why not discover issues early before they cause significant damage? You’ll also be able to have defective items fixed under warranty by the developer if reported within the warranty period. The home inspection will pay for itself.
12.) Electronic Signatures. If your real estate agent isn’t using Docusign, Appfiles or some other program to have contracts signed electronically you will probably miss out on a deal because of printing, signing, scanning time delays. Imagine this: a purchase and sale offer signed by all eight parties, yes eight buyers and sellers in total, in less than thirty minutes and the copy was crystal clear because it was never once printed.
Frankly, there isn’t a reputable, experienced real estate agent in Bonita Springs, Florida who would refute any of the items on the list above. Regardless of whether you work with me or another local agent consider this list a best practices guide to Bonita Springs home buying this 2014-2015 winter season. Arm yourself with the best real estate team possible and make sure you’re prepped and ready to place an offer on the home of your dreams. If you would like a recommendation for a mortgage broker to get started just call or text and I’ll shoot you the numbers.
Chris Griffith has been a Florida Realtor® since 1999. She’s an Accredited Buyers Agent, Certified New Home Specialist and a Certified Residential Specialist.
Here’s the 2014-2015 calendar events for everything happening in Downtown Bonita Springs winter of 2014-2015. Events include festivals, Taste of Bonita, Movies in the Park, Riverfest, Fruit Tree Sales, Drum Circles and more.
If you’d like to stay on top of community events including Downtown Bonita Springs and even the surrounding areas “like” the Bonita Springs Estero Community Forum on Facebook where locals update the page of events and things to do.
Click here for a printable version of the 2014-2015 Downtown Bonita Springs Calendar of events.
Things to Do With Kids - Bonita Springs Fl239-357-0792 ~ 4836 Bonita Beach Rd Suite 5, Bonita Springs, Florida 34134
Full disclosure: I am not a gamer. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even born with the gene to be able to play games. While it’s hilarious to watch me try to play, it has been years since I’ve tried. I do have family members who play and even a grand son who plays. We’re mostly pinball people, remember.
Recently after a great dinner at Season’s 52, Naples I suggested we stop by the new game store I had heard about. I thought we’d be window peepers that late at night but the store was open when we arrived. They’re open late, until 8:00 or, well, they were open beyond 8:00 p.m. because there were so many people in the store.
Let me tell you that I think this store is genius because there is a large sectional sofa strategically positioned in front of several monitors which are hooked up to many different games systems so a shopper can play a variety of games on a variety of systems. There was a new game that was there which was a big deal but I don’t remember the name and I know that disappoints whoever reads this. I am sorry, I’m missing the gene, remember.
At any rate, this store actively sells a lot of vintage games, game systems and more. There are even standup arcade games set on free play. I’ve taken photos of a few features around the store, the games, the vintage systems, etc.
The 8 Bit Hall of Fame Game Store is located on the north side of Bonita Beach Road, just west of Fish Trap Marina. Here’s the contact deets:
(239) 357-0792 4836 ~ Bonita Beach Rd Suite 5, Bonita Springs, Florida 34134
Things to Do | Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
The last few weekend adventures have included crisscrossing the Everglades on US 41. I made a point to stop more than once at Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. It’s on US 41 about seventeen miles west of CR 951 in Naples, Florida. It’s an easy trip off the beaten path and an escape from the franchise lined streets we’re confined to living on the coast.
This time of year the water is high and the preserves are in peak condition so it’s worth the drive to head east. The boardwalk is a great spot to see some of the best examples of flowers and foliage now that they’re rejuvenated from the summer rains.
The Big Cypress Bend boardwalk is about two thousand feet long so it isn’t a huge time commitment and it’s great for all ages. It features instructional plaques along the way with the basics on the plants and animals you may see. I will mention that many people on the nature boardwalk forget that there isn’t going to be a flashing light or a bell ring when there is something notable to see. You really have to use your eyes, your hearing and your senses.
It goes without saying that spotting wildlife or a once in a lifetime opportunity generally happens only when you’re focused and quiet. I mention this because my last trip to Cypress Bend I was crouched down taking photos of one of the biggest Barred Owls I’d ever seen when two tourists from Boston walked up and squeezed around me. I ask them if they’ve seen anything interesting and without missing a beat they replied that they hadn’t seen a single thing. I had a feeling they weren’t appreciating the whole observation part of the walk. Gesturing, I spoke up and asked if that had seen the Owl. Yes, they were surprised.
That owl was no further than six feet away, sitting on a branch, looking just like just another lichen covered cypress trunk. Moments earlier I had nearly walked by this owl, too. It was mid-morning and I was by myself on the boardwalk. Walking quietly, I had hoped to see something interesting to photograph. I stopped in my tracks because I had that spooky feeling that I wasn’t alone. I looked to the right and there he was. Owls have mastered stealth and the only clues were blinking eyes.
Owlportunities like this don’t come along every day so after I froze for a moment, then raised the camera and popped off a couple of shots. This owl was a charmer and humored me by posing for quite some time. He eventually grew bored with celebrity and flew away.
Not long after I heard the distinctive “who cooks for you?” hooting call of the owl. On my way back to the entrance I then heard a pair of owls caterwauling in the distance. It was a treat to both see and hear them that day.
Owls are just one of dozens of great finds at Big Cypress Bend. If you visit the boardwalk know that it’s shaded with a few benches along the way for rest. Entrance is by donation/honor system $3 per adult. You can learn more about Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk at www.FloridaParks.org and listen to the Barred Owl at www.AllAboutBirds.org.
Happy trails and boardwalks.
This article special to Southwest Spotlight Newspaper
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Marketing Bonita Springs Homes Internationally
Recently, I went to interview for a listing in Bonita Springs, Florida. My listing presentations are fairly comprehensive and data driven with market statistics, sales statistics plus information on how consumers locate, purchase and fund their new Bonita Springs home. I create my own market reports, do the research, build the graphs.
After reviewing the data, the home seller eventually asked if marketed real estate internationally. The answer is yes.
First, I not only market internationally but I target market specifically by community name or/or lifestyle command to bring buyers specifically looking for a home in that neighborhood to a comprehensive, thorough, custom built web page with the most information about the community. At the bottom of that page is a list of the active homes for sale in that Bonita Springs community. That’s how a lot of consumers search for real estate in Bonita Springs. “Community Name Bonita Springs” or by “community name” if it’s distinctive enough. For example: Brendan Cove or Meadowbrook Bonita Springs. There are works in progress that are on the front page and heading up: Cedar Creek Bonita Springs and Bonita National Bonita Springs
The homes sellers seemed rather unimpressed that I am able to build a top ranking, organic web page that shows up first in Google for their neighborhood name. They wanted to know what magazines or newspapers I was going to blanket all of Europe or Iceland or Africa with to sell their home. Good marketing, the best marketing is not necessarily print advertising. I can’t afford to pacify sellers with good dollars thrown at print advertising.
With exception to a few classifieds I run in the local paper, I don’t generally engage in print advertising. It is the most expensive, least effective type of marketing on the planet. Yes, planet. If it was effective, home owners would put a full page ad in the paper and a week later be skipping off to the bank with their sales proceeds … and not call a real estate agent.
Here’s the goods: Ninety-two percent of home buyers use the internet for their home search. Check out the rest of the statistics on how buyers find the home they eventually buy, from 2013 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:
When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 43 percent said the Internet; 33 percent from a real estate agent; 9 percent a yard sign or open house; 6 percent from a friend, neighbor or relative; 5 percent from home builders; 2 percent directly from the seller; 1 percent a print or newspaper ad; and less than 1 percent from other sources.
Forgive me, Mr. and Mrs. Home-Seller for not marketing to the 1% of buyers looking for real estate and concentrating on the 92%. It is not fiscally responsible or part business plan and to cater to that whim. At the time, I sort of exited knowing where this one would end. I don’t take all listings. The good agents never do take every listing. That interview process is reciprocal and I exercised the rule of two feet.
As I pulled away I murmured, I am sure you will find another real estate agent who will gladly martyr their finances for a listing …
They did find that real estate agent and when the property hit the market I Googled and found only a profile page on the brokerage website for web presence and a few incidental social media sites. There was a name on Trulia but not even a photo or bio was visible. Trulia is usually one of the top links for any “community name Bonita Springs”. It’s a waste for any real estate agent to not flesh out that profile.
So here’s the elevator pitch synopsis of “marketing real estate” or “marketing real estate internationally”. Print ads are for the seller’s ego. The fact of the matter is that buyers do not go buy a magazine or a newspaper to find a home or condo whether they’re shopping from Boise Idaho or Brussels. They search on the internet, usually from a mobile device. You, as a home seller, really need to Google your neighborhood by name and the agents you interview to see just how far they actually can reach and to see if they have a funnel (or are capable of building a funnel) pointed at your neighbor hood before you list your Bonita Springs home.
Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report
Here’s the latest and greatest news for the Bonita Springs real estate market. The following statistics were collected on 9-13-14 and include information regarding short sales, foreclosures and equity sales in Bonita Springs and Estero Florida. In the month of August 2014 there was only one short sale recorded. Prices have going up so far fewer home owners are under water and able to sell their homes to cash flow.
Historical Bonita Springs Home Sales
Notice the decade of recovery on the graph. Ten years of Bonita Springs home sales has shown increased sales since the downturn and a leveling off in 2014. New home construction is now a competing factor in the real estate market. Not all new product sales are included in these statistics.
Price of Bonita Springs Homes Sold
For a few months we’ve seen Bonita Springs home sales in the 200-400K price range out sell the 200K and under price point, mostly because the bottom is coming up. As the entry level real estate sells off the affordable real estate prices are rising. Nearly 50% of all Bonita Springs real estate sales are in the $200-400K price range.
How Bonita Springs Homes Are Financed
Bonita Springs real estate trends continue showing cash as king. Sixty-two percent of sales are cash funded followed by conventional mortgages. A hand full of properties were financed with FHA, VA and "Other" which could be 1031 exchanges, trades or private financing or hard money.
If you are interested in a printable file of the Bonita Springs real estate market reports, click here:
Downtown Bonita Springs Redevelopment Plan
If you’re curious about what is happening in Downtown Bonita Springs as they redevelop the existing area and develop Bamboo open land here is a map to the proposed redevelopment of downtown. If you would like to see a full size .pdf map of the Bonita Springs redevelopment plan. Click Here
There are lots of changes that will take place when they they start this exciting redevelopment of downtown Bonita Springs. I can’t wait to see the progress.
Leitner Creek in Bonita Springs Florida
One of the favorite things I like doing is showing people the hidden places in Bonita Springs that they wouldn't ordinarily see. This is a photo I took (auto awesomed by G+) of Leitner Creek. I've been working at loosening up some lettuce and water hyacinth so that it is paddle-able again. What is left are beautiful grandfather oaks and cypress trees along the bank.
Today I was able to paddle upstream quite a distance and this is what it looks like. Untouched in some areas and in a few places you'll see homes that from the street you would never know would be considered a waterfront home in Bonita Springs.
If you'd like to paddle Leitner Creek, you can find the entry from the Imperial River at the old Bamboo Park across from the Survey Cafe.
Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at Calusa Ghost Tours of Bonita Springs at Riverside Park artist cottages behind the Liles Hotel.
Watch also: Paddling the Imperial River
Bonita Springs Flood Zone Map
If you’re a buyer looking for information about how to identify a flood zone, fema map or figure out whether or not you will need flood insurance use this map: Flood Zone Map. Here you can search in general or even input the address of the home you are interested in learning more about. Flood insurance is not mandatory but if you are financing your home or getting a mortgage you may be required by the lender to obtain a flood insurance policy.
A small portion of Bonita Springs is located in Collier County. Bonita Shores which is south of Bonita Beach Road and west of Vanderbilt Drive is Collier County. You would use the Collier County Flood Map to search the homes in Bonita Shores.
Bonita Springs Real Estate Statistics Aug 2014
This is a decade of sales that occurred during the month of July for the past 10 years. Note the recovery since July of 2006. Real estate sales have steadily increased since 2007. The sale in July 2014 are consistently more stable.
For the fifth month in a row Bonita Springs real estate has sold mostly in the $200,000-400,000 price range. It is out selling the $200,000 and under price point due to the bottom selling off and that price point of real estate diminishing from the bottom up.
The condition of Bonita Springs and Estero real estate is mostly equity, meaning it is not a short sale or foreclosure. This month there were few short sales but a slight bump of foreclosures. It’s simply due to the swift real estate market moving and foreclosures often being price well. The foreclosures are priced well, however, they often see multiple offers and sell over list price. The short sale are fewer because prices are rising and fewer home owner are “under water” so they are able to sell their real estate and cash flow.
Bonita Springs real estate is financing mostly with cash. We’ve been a cash heavy real estate market for sometime now. Financing, if chosen, is mostly conventional. The mortgage underwriting process is still not without it’s challenges, especially in condominium complexes. If you’d like a referral for a competent mortgage broker to get your real estate transaction closed, call or text Chris Griffith 239-273-7430.