Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate
Meanwhile in Bonita Springs Florida This Week
Sunday started with a run to downtown Naples to scope out parking for a special event upcoming for Collier County Honor Flight. Two birds, one stone: First, Sugden Theater and 5th Avenue are decked out for Christmas so it is beautiful. Second, dinner at Truluck’s. I had lobster bisque and lobster tail. I am officially more lobstered out that when I visited Linda Davis in Mystic, CT.
Monday, Angela and I listed a home in Reserve at Estero and then bought our turkey at Costco at Gulfcoast Town Center. We also stopped for a fairly clean lunch at Pincher’s. I had grilled grouper on salad, Ang had grilled shrimp and green beans.
Tuesday I was driving across town to open a listing in Bonita Farms and saw this cute little dog “flying” while his mom drove. She said he was a beagle mix and she rescued him. What a cutie.
Wednesday is family dinner night so Dillon the fearless minpin gets a long walk at River Park or the dog park so he burns off some steam prior to the kids coming. The baby is about to turn 2 and both dogs know that she is the ultimate food supply. I try to wear the dogs out a little before she gets to the house.
Thursday involved an impromptu stop at Happehatchee to scope out a few ideas and logistics for my daughter’s wedding. It’s only a few weeks away!
Friday we had a wedding dress fitting in Boca. Yeah, on the other coast. In real estate land “the other side” is not my territory but apparently the world is your oyster if you’re shopping for a weddin’ dress. There was a fabulous sunset as I crossed “the alley”, aka Alligator Alley, on the way home.
Saturday was Taste of Bonita chili cook off and concert. I was not able to make it due to work but I know a whole bunch of Rotarians worked hard to give Bonita Springs a good time and raised a lot of money for charity.
Unit next week, Bonitians …
Conservation 2020 Guided Walk Series 2015-2016
Many years ago, in 1995 to be exact, a group of concerned Southwest Florida residents realized that Lee County had a significantly low percentage of lands preserved to protect the natural Florida habitat. They formed a grass roots effort to preserve portions of Lee County which were being developed at a remarkably fast rate. Conservation 2020 was born and eventually became a tax payer funded program that, in a nutshell, had a goal to preserve twenty percent of Lee County land by the year 2020.
The majority of the preserved lands, to date, offer some sort of public access. There are a handful of the preserves that offer a higher level of access, often with ADA boardwalk access and restroom facilities on site. These great preserves have made the list for this winter’s Conservation 2020 Guided Walk Series.
Whether you’re a local simply looking for like-minded folks to enjoy nature with or you are looking for something creative for your winter visitors to do, the guided walk series is guaranteed free entertainment and a free education nature primer. It will run nearly every Saturday morning this winter. If you’ve been a regular reader of this column you may recognize the names of the preserves on the list; Prairie Pines, Caloosahatchee Creeks East, Wild Turkey Strand, Pine Island Flatwood, Powell Creek and Galt Preserve.
There are a total of six preserve parks on the guided walk rotation schedule so you’ll be certain have more than one opportunity to attend a guided walk at most of the locations. You will only get one shot at Powell Creek, however. It’s actually one of my favorite preserves mostly because it’s a successful example of a man-made filter marsh which drastically improves water quality before the runoff enters into the river. It’s also just down the street from Harriet and M15, the celebrity nesting eagles so be sure to take your camera.
The guided walks are a great opportunity for both novice and expert to mingle and learn from each other. There are generally a few dozen participants at each event. Master Gardeners and Master Naturalist volunteers lead the tours and share a wealth of knowledge about the wildlife, plant life and the individual parks, themselves. You’ll learn the basics from how to tell the difference between a palmetto and a sabal palm to identifying a variety of birds and wild flowers.
So far I’ve visited all of the preserves with exception of Pine Island Flatwood. This preserve just so happens to be on schedule the day after Christmas so if you’re looking for a great way to burn off the holiday festivity calories, mark your calendar. There’s a good chance that the Griffith clan will be there. If you make the trek you should also hit up Galt Preserve while you’re on Pine Island as it is just down the way.
All of the hikes are low impact and fairly easy. Consider them a great hiking choice for all ages. A few of the preserves are ADA accessible and pet friendly, too. You can learn more at www.Conservation2020.org. The walks are scheduled from 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. There is no fee for parking or entry into any of the preserves. You can download the full guided walk schedule here: http://bit.ly/1Nt4ZyH.
Happy Trails and Boardwalks!
Special to Southwest Spotlight Magazines
Meanwhile in Bonita Springs, Florida
Here’s a little taste of what life was like in Bonita Springs, Florida this week. If you haven’t met Angela before … meet Angela, my buyer’s agent and daughter in law. We’ve been working together for about six months now.
When I went back through my photos to write this week’s post there were a lot of restaurant photos so I think I need to eat out less and take more photos elsewhere. That being said, you are still going to read about food a little this week.
We’ll start with Sunday the 8th being my recovery day from Honor Flight. My son John, Angela joined me and participated as guardians no the last flight. Sunday is always a slow moving day after a whole day in Washington. If you’d like to learn more visit www.CollierHonorFlight.org and you can read: Collier County Honor Flight Mission Five 2015.
Monday was dinner with my friend, “The Fraulein”, after we were entertained by bee keepers taking a hive away. Bees had built a hive in my owl box and I didn’t want to kill the bees and a friend of a friend keeps bees and agreed to take them away. After the bee thing we went to eat at Fish Crazy in North Naples. Randy as in "the Randy" and Tony run one of the best seafood restaurants in the area. It’s stone crab season so you might want to pay them a visit.
Tuesday Angela and I were racing around trying to find a few pieces of furniture for a rental in Bonita Springs. We’ve learn quite a bit about thrifting, craigslist and consignment stores in the last few days. The last few weeks is feels like we live in the car. For the record, I do not do rentals. This rental was actually for myself. If you need to list or sell a home in Bonita Springs or Estero, I’m your girl. As a result of the shopping experience I did write an entire post about furniture consignment stores in Bonita Springs, Florida – complete with map!
Wednesday we hit Teri’s for breakfast. They put broccoli in their omelets and broccoli is my jam! The boys say that Teri’s has the best sausage and gravy. Teri’s is located on Bonita Beach Road and Livingston Road on the SW Corner, in Bonita Springs, Florida. They are only open for breakfast and lunch.
Thursday is Rotary Club. I belong to Rotary Club of Bonita Springs Noon. You need to know that they are the club that organizes and runs the Taste of Bonita festival which is next weekend. This is the event to be at every fall. Allow extra time to get to and from the venue as the downtown area is under redevelopment and there are detours.
Friday I was showing property in Bonita Shores area and saw this cute little house with a pergola. I am in the process of fixing up a house in Old Bonita and I’m thinking about putting a pergola up to disguise a few things. I see pergola everywhere now and usually stop to take a photo. There are a couple of them on Flossmoor Drive in Bonita Farms, too.
Saturday saw this beautiful red shouldered hawk in Bonita Bay. She let me walk right up to her and take several pictures. What a beautiful bird. This is one of the great benefits of living in Bonita Springs, Florida. Nature is all around.
See you next week! In the mean time, if you have any questions about Bonita Springs or Estero, Florida call or text 239-273-7430. - Chris
October 2015 Home Sales Statistics
The fall influx of snowbird buyers brought with it a rebound of cash transactions. Last month cash transactions in the Bonita Springs real estate market were at about 45% and this month the closed real estate figures show just over 59% of the closed sales were paid for with cash.
The return of our winter residents also pushed a huge sell off of entry level priced real estate in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida areas. Cash is king and affordably priced or appropriately priced real estate is being scooped up by savvy buyers. The slowest moving sector of real estate is the $800,000-1,000,000. That means that there could be some deals in the luxury real estate market , depending upon the neighborhood and inventory statistics. An absorption rate is crucial when purchasing a home in SWFL in this heated market or you could leave money on the table!
Actual real estate units sold leveled out nicely. What is not show in the Bonita Springs sales statistics is the new construction sales if they were not MLS listings. New Construction is currently taking place in the Livingston Road/Three Oaks Parkway Corridor, The Corkscrew Corridor and the East Bonita Beach Road area. Luxury new home construction west of 41 is also under way in Bonita Bay at Seaglass and in The Colony at Pelican Landing.
Distressed real estate in SWFL is continually shrinking. Currently the short sales in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida are about .5% of the real estate market. Foreclosures account for only 2.5% of the real estate market. If you are coming to SWFL to shop for a new home in Bonita Springs the distressed real estate market is a shrinking piece of the pie.
If you'd like to learn more about buying or selling real estate in Bonita Springs Florida contact Chris Griffith 239-273-7430. You can download a full printable .pdf of the statistics here: Bonita Springs Estero Real Estate Market Report
Furniture Consignment Stores in Bonita Springs FL
As luck would have it I am actually furnishing a rental for myself in the Bonita Springs, Florida area and needed some furniture so I have done a little research for you with regard to locating furniture consignment shops. With the help of clients who provided a great list of furniture consignment stores I hit the bricks and field tested consignment store after consignment store just for you. My own favorite turned out to be Liberty Youth Ranch furniture consignment.. The prices seemed favorable and the inventory turns over quickly. In all, we purchased several pieces of wall art, a sofa, a wrought iron bakers rack, a tall boy dresser, some knick knacks and a child’s antique chair.
Feel free to contact me if you notice consignment store information below that needs updated or added or removed. This Bonita Springs consignment store post was originally published 11-5-15.
So, if you need a little help decorating your new Bonita Springs home or condo, you’ve come to the right place. I have also created a handy Google map of the furniture consignment stores, here: Map to Consignment Stores
Consign & Design Bonita Springs
25987 S Tamiami Trail #96
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
24241 S Tamiami Trail
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
The Find Consignment
28811 S Tamiami Trail #11
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Posh Plum Consignment
24821 S Tamiami Trail
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
24850 Old 41 Rd. #16
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Found Objekt A Consign and Design Gallery
24181 S Tamiami Trail
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Design Room By Room, Inc. Furniture Consignment And Much More
26251 S Tamiami Trail
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Liberty Youth Ranch Upscale
27870 Old 41 Rd
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Surroundings Fine Furnishings & Consignments
12980 Tamiami Trail N
Naples, FL 34110
Guadalupe Resale Shop
8100 Trail Blvd
Naples, FL 34108
A Bit of Everything
4949 Tamiami Trail N #101
Naples, FL 34103
FHA Approved Condos in Bonita Springs FL
For those of you who are coming to Bonita Springs, Florida to buy a condo here is some valuable information you need to know about financing, especially with FHA and a condominium.
FHA used to easily finance condos in Bonita Springs but after the downturn of 2007, they wrote a new rule eliminating “Spot Approvals” and mandated that financing was only allowed if a unit is on the FHA’s list of approved condos. Unfortunately, only the association can get themselves on the list by contacting FHA and going thru the FHA approval process.
If a condo is on the approved list, a lender simply has to reconfirm certain things (delinquency rates, no litigation, % of renters, etc.) and then a buyer can finance using FHA. FHA Approved Condos
For what it’s worth, Fannie Mae will finance condos on a Spot Approval (not on any list) with as little as 5% down if the buyer is purchasing the condo as a primary residence condo so FHA certainly is not the only game in town as far as condos in Bonita Springs go. Of course, all of this information is subject to current conditions and the ability for a mortgage broker or mortgage banker to navigate the process.
VA approved condominiums in Bonita Springs are few and far between as well. You can search by city here: VA Approved Condominiums
I have plenty of lender referrals for you if you need help finding someone who knows the FHA and VA condo market in Bonita Springs, Florida. Call or text 239-273-7430 - Chris Griffith - ABR - Accredited Buyer's Agent
September 2015 Home Sales Statistics
Here’s what’s good in the hood for the month of September 2015. The Bonita Springs and Estero Florida real estate market statistics are in and we are continuing to see improving changes in the real estate market. We had a bumper crop of closed sales for the month of September. Looking back historically, we had a bumper crop of closings that surpassed the housing boom, pre-housing bubble September 2005, closed sales. The only thing holding back more closed sales is lack of real estate inventory.
The massive buying going on in the Bonita Springs market is caused by the perfect storm of autumn, 11,000 baby boomers retiring daily in the United States and low interest rates. With the massive buying spree going on, prices have risen which has significantly reduced the short sales in the market place. Foreclosures are fewer and farther between, too. Only about 3% of our current listing inventory is considered distresses. That figure is the lowest level of distressed real estate in the last decade.
What we are seeing is cash drying up. Every month the cash buying power with regard to Bonita Springs real state sales shrinks a little bit more. Conversely, conventional mortgages are growing as a financing option.
Fifty percent of the sales in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida real estate market are in the $200-400,000 price range. That figure is huge but more importantly, the $200,000 and under price point is evaporating. Eighty-eight percent of all sales are under $600,000. So, if you’re close to the $600,000 budget price point you might just want to peek over that price a little bit to see if there is a value and negotiating power for a home that is in the slower moving real estate market over $600,000.
You can download the market report graphs for Sept 2015 here: Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report September 2015
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller in the Bonita Springs home or condo market, the numbers make all the difference. Find out how an Accredited Buyer’s Agent can help you navigate the fast paced housing market of Southwest Florida. Contact Chris Griffith today at 239-273-7430 (call or text).
C’MON – Children’s Museum of Naples
Years ago I visited the Children’s Museum of Naples with the Leadership Bonita program. I could not imagine that just a few short years later I would be one of many grandparents who would be accompanying their grandchildren to the museum for something to do on the weekend. The museum, more commonly known as C’MON, features about thirty-thousand feet of entertainment and education for children of all ages. For those of us who are year-round Southwest Florida residents it is an air conditioned retreat in the summer when being outside is not a pleasant option.
We recently visited C’MON at the end of summer to scope it out. I was accompanied by my grands, Madison who is about a year and a half old and Aiden who is seven years old. While I’d been through the museum before as part of a tour I hadn’t seen it from the perspective of watching children interact and apply some of the basic principles of experimentation and, of course, being charmed by sly technique of learning without realizing that they were learning. Great lessons were to being learned about things as simple as the sense of hearing with fun, interactive animal noises which were hidden behind various vented, cabinet doors. The kids simply couldn’t resist the curiosity. Lessons on physics and gravity happen outside with a wonderful, hands-on water play and experiment station.
The big hits for my crew were the replica, cable street car with the hands-on mini train track system inside, the produce market and Mother Nature’s house which teaches about the four seasons and climate. Well, it teaches as much as little children in Southwest Florida can truly understand and grasp about the four seasons without the full, enveloping sensation of a northern climate. Watching the kids rake leaves and then enter the igloo I was immediately whisked back in time twenty plus years to when my twins visited their grandparents in northern Ohio. It was the first time that they had seen real snow. The phone conversation and their little voices echoed in my mind, “Mom, did you know that snow was so cold?” I snapped back to reality when the raked leaves were blown by air pressure through the trees and rained down on the children who were all vying to catch as many of them as they could.
One of the busiest attractions was the grocery market and produce area complete with harvesting conveyors and mini grocery carts for the shoppers. There were children of all ages cooperating and sharing all of the stations throughout the store.
Our visit was not complete until we had a snack and a drink at the “real” store at the museum called the Garden Café which had healthy snacks and drinks for sale. An entire afternoon at C’MON and a full bellies made for sleeping kids and a quiet ride on the way home.
When you go, just a heads up that the museum is closed on Wednesdays. Admission to C’MON is $10 per person; children under one year of age are free. Adults must be accompanied by a child to gain entrance to C’MON. To learn more about home school programs, membership benefits and hours of operation visit www.cmon.org.
Happy trails, boardwalks and museums!
Special to Bonita Springs Spotlight Magazine
Read also: Things to do in Bonita Springs
Chose Your Listing Agent Wisely
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of escorting a buyer of real estate around the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area. The homes we were looking at were in a specific budget and style so there was a narrow list of about six homes for sale that we would be touring. The communities we visited were located in Bella Terra, Stoneybrook, Village Walk, San Remo and another left unnamed community.
This is an important read if you are looking for a qualified listing agent to list your home for sale, especially if there is a financial issue like a short sale that you must work though. This particular home for sale was a short sale. In short it means that the home owner is “upside down” and they owe more on the mortgage than the home is worth. They will have to ask their mortgage holder for debt forgiveness.
Long story short, I was not able to show in the unnamed Estero community because of a comedy of errors. Getting an appointment from the “listing agent” was nearly an exercise in futility. Days of requests fell on deaf ears and then finally there was a voice mail left that we were approved to show the listing. The approval was great news but since we were dealing with an attorney office that listed the property the inexperience showed immediately. Ever hear the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Well, Attorney Jack didn’t leave us a gate code in the voice mail so while we had approval to show the property, we couldn’t get in to show the property. After calling several other resources, because the attorney office “listing agent” is closed on weekends with no weekend contact, I was finally able to get a gate code.
The buyers got a tour of the community and then we pulled up to the property. We got to the front door and there was no lock box. I rang the bell and nobody came to let us in, not the home owner nor the “listing agent”. I searched the hose bibs and coach lamps for the elusive lock box. Nothing. I called the “listing agent” and no one answered to explain how to get into the listing. We ended up leaving without seeing the home.
There was no follow up phone call from the “listing agent” and there was no return call from the “listing agent” asking if we ever got in. Meanwhile, the owner of the home is treading water and probably hoping for a buyer to come and bail them out of their predicament with an offer to purchase their short sale property.
This is why hiring a qualified listing agent is so crucial. This home owner is at the mercy of a apathetic listing agent whose specialty just may be being an attorney, not a real estate agent. They do not understand the process of getting a listing sold. Trust me, I’ve been licensed to sell real estate in Florida since the mid 90’s and can tell you who is going to make it in the biz and who isn’t from 50 paces away. What is certain is that the home owner loses. Three hundred plus days on market and not the home is still not sold.
I grieve for the home owner and the industry when I see things like this go on. … and that is why I take being a listing agent very seriously with my clients and customers. In spite of how low the bar is set in some circumstances.
Things to Do in Bonita Springs, Florida
The family came to church for the first time since summer. The baby gets so fussy when she’s hot and it is an outdoor church. At any rate, she had a great time playing with the other kids in the children’s program and it was nice to see the grand-littles at church again. The church service is at Riverside Park in Downtown Bonita Springs, Florida at 9:30 a.m., if you're interested in going to the pet friendly, flip flop friendly church service in SWFL.
There was a trip to Doc’s Beach House on Bonita Beach on the Monday agenda. It has been years since I went to Doc’s plus I can’t remember the last time I saw the gulf. The rain broke long enough for us to head to the beach. There was nobody there during the dinner hour. The fried shrimp was just as good as I remembered. The sun nearly came out but it rained buckets again later in the evening.
Lordy, it has rained this past week. I had to take Dill to the dog park on Wednesday to run and run and run as he has not been outside or in the back yard all week because it is under water. The dog park has been open about a year. It is locate on East Terry Street at Matheson Ave. There are three size-related dog corrals for safety. Dill runs with the medium dogs because he’s more rough and tumble than a small dog.
Thursday is Rotary day at Spanish Wells. One of the local events we planned and attended this week was “Dictionary Day” at all of the local schools. Every 3rd grader gets a dictionary. I attended the Dictionary Day at Spring Creek elementary school which is beside Cedar Creek. My kids went to Spring Creek so I usually attend that event.
Just off of West Terry Street in Bonita Farms there is a cute little house, actually a couple of homes together on Flossmoor Drive with a pergola over the garage. Besides awnings, I really like this cute little pergola idea to dress up an older style home. If you happen to know anyone who can build one of these for me, let me know.
On Friday, I turned into my own neighborhood, Brendan Cove and saw the Christmas decorations being put up. Yeah, I know … on October 2nd. Enough said.
Royal Scoop ice cream is still a local fan favorite. We stopped in for a scoop the other day and I took a picture of Bessie the cow. I had rocky road and my friend had carmelious cups, which is rarely available. Yes, I was off of sugar and wheat. At any rate, I haven’t really had Royal Scoop for a while. I used to go all of the time when I live in Bonita Shores, back in the day.
See you next week!