Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate


March 17, 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update Feb 2017 | Bonita Springs Homes Stats

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Stats Feb 2017

Bonita Springs Home Sales Statistics Feb 2017

If you watch the Bonita Springs real estate market closely you have noticed that our cash sales have slowly been tapering off. Whether it’s caused by the tourist season or the Trump bump the buyers have opened their wallets and purchased with a little more cash in the month of February.

A few other noticeable changes have been the the short sales and foreclosures are nearly non-existent.  There was only one closed sale of each.  Back in the you could throw a rock and hit a distressed property.  Now, well, we still have buyers come to Bonita Springs and ask for foreclosures but I have to share with them that the foreclosure boat has sailed and the banks aren’t selling them at a discount any more.

The real estate units sold is healthy and stable. If there was more property to list and sell in the entry level the stats would be higher.  Affordable housing is difficult to find in southwest Florida. Home buyers in Bonita Springs often must look in South Fort Myers for affordable homes.  The San Carlos Park area and Three Oaks Corridor often have homes at more affordable prices than the Bonita Springs market shows.

If you’d like to learn more about the current state of the Bonita Springs real estate market contact Chris Griffith by phone/text 239-273-7430.


Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update Feb 2017

Posted in Market Reports
Feb. 17, 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Reports January 2017

Bonita Springs real estate Jan 2017

Bonita Springs real estate statistics January 2017

The real estate sales in Bonita Springs and Estero has continued to pick up through tourist season.  There isn’t any ground shaking news to report.  Slow and steady wins the race and that includes real estate sales. 

The short sales and foreclosure market remains a very small segment of the real estate closing sales every month.  At press time there were fewer than a dozen foreclosures and only four short sales in Bonita Springs, Florida.

The majority of closed sales are paid for with cash – 58% cash sales.  Approximately 33% of closed sales in Bonita Springs are paid for with a conventional mortgage. VA, FHA and Seller financing make up the balance of payments.

The largest selling segment of Bonita Springs homes and condos is the $200,000-400,000 range – about 54%.  The $400,000-600,000 range accounts for 18%.  We’ve seen a bump up in luxury real estate sales which often happens after the first of the year.

The units sold per month is running on par with prior months and has sustained level that has shown a healthy real estate market.

If you’d like to learn more about the real estate statistics in your Bonita Springs neighborhood contact Chris Griffith at 239-273-7430.

Posted in Market Reports
Feb. 5, 2017

DIY Projects in Your Bonita Springs Home

The last week was super busy for the Bonita Springs real estate market.  I’ve had the opportunity to list several homes, present property evaluations for a hand full of others and I even managed to show a few buyers homes in several communities around the area.  In a single day I was from a high rise on the beach in Park Shore Naples to a condo in Casa Bonita II in Bonita Springs.  In between were trips to Village Walk, Spanish Wells, Highland Woods, Edenbridge, Brendan Cove, Paradise Village and Serrano

This is a mere example of a fraction of the properties I visited this week.  In short, I cross a lot of thresholds.  I am an expert and I can spot an impostor and a DIY job a mile away. 

The devil is in the details and that’s where most DIY projects go sideways, the details, the little itty bitty items.  A home owner is able to live with them but a home buyer sees a half-ass job and the adding machine in their head starts adding up the time and money it is going to take to make it look right after they move in.

Take this DIY electrical job I found in Bonita Springs, for example.  It was one of several that I witnessed this week.

Bonita Springs DIY Project

Someone thought, I can swap out that last switch for a dimmer or multi-setting  switch and did so but the details  of removing the switch plate without buggering up the paint were disregarded.  Flash forward to the owner moving out and listing the home for sale.  They’ve removed all of the furnishings from this beautiful Bonita Springs home.  There really isn’t anything left to look at except for, well, the imperfections.  A fouled up light switch and paint job in a high traffic area next to the ingress and egress of the sliding door.

Yes, it can be fixed but that’s not the point. The point is that a home owner trying a DIY isn’t really doing it with success if someone else has to re-do the job.  It also makes the next potential owner, the buyer, wonder what else could have been “short cutted” around the house.

Posted in Seller Tips
Jan. 14, 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Reports December 2016

Bonita Springs Real Estate Dec 2016

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Reports December 2016

December in Bonita Springs was just another month in real estate, not too quiet not too busy. Coming off of the election and heading into the holidays kept things from getting too busy.  The sales “units sold” was on par with other months.

Our short sales and foreclosures in Bonita Springs remain a a drip pace. There are very few but there are always a couple of them in the MLS system.  Homes that begin foreclosure, nationally, take about twelve-hundred days to foreclose.  The Florida foreclosure market is down ten percent.

The most impressive changes that I have seen in the Bonita Springs real estate market is the cash drying up. This month we are down to about 50% cash transactions. Years ago, due to the affordability of homes in Bonita Springs, we were in the seventy percentile for months on end.  It’s slowly changing and the interest rate hikes are sure to help cause a spike in mortgages from those who decide to buy before significant rises.

Our largest segment of home and condo sales in Bonita Springs and Estero continue to be the $200,000-$400,000 price segment of housing.

If you’d like to learn more about buying or selling a home in the Bonita Springs or Estero Florida area contact Chris Griffith at 239-273-7430.

Posted in Market Reports
Jan. 12, 2017

Bonita Springs HOA & Quarterly Fees

Bonita Springs HOA Gate

HOA Fees and Quarterly Fees in Bonita Springs

Recently I had a potential buyer contact me about one of my listings in Bonita Springs.  As the listing agent I make sure that all of the fees are disclosed up front. Surprises are bad for business in SWFL real estate. When the buyer responded to the email with the information about the property,  it read: I'll never consider a place that has, taxes, quarterly maintenance and yearly HOA.

Well, just to gauge expectations for all real estate consumers.  There are always property taxes.  The HOA, condo fees and master HOA fees all depend upon what type of community you purchase in, as in the level of amenities there are available that will have to be maintained. That is why it is so important to speak with a buyer’s agent to start learning about what you are looking for in real estate.

Condos have set fees that not only maintain the building and the common areas but save for replacement of items such as the swimming pool, roof, parking lot, painting; the expenses that would be incurred in private home ownership, just collected quarterly not as the repairs occur.

All that being said, one can not purchase a condo outside of an HOA or without quarterly fees.  It doesn’t work that way.  If a community has gates and offers even the smallest amount of amenities it needs upkeep and that requires money.  It is not possible to own a home with any type of common area, like gates or even the smallest amount of amenities without needing money to maintain it. 

Last, Bonita Springs is about 75% gated and deed restricted. Most of our properties have some sort of financial obligation attached to maintain the common areas or structures on site.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 9, 2017

Buying Your Resale View in Bonita Bay | Bonita Springs Real Estate

Views in Bonita Bay

The View in Bonita Bay is the Resale Value

The last few weeks I have spent in Bonita Bay showing homes and condos.  I’ve worked with buyers looking at entry level condos and buyers who were looking at single family estate homes.  The one thing they all have in common is the surprise at prices and the fact that sometimes you don’t get “update” or “spanking new remodel” at that price. 

What price is that?  Well, right now condos in Bonita Bay are just under $300,000 to get into the neighborhood.  Those condos are nice but could use some updates. Formica cabinets, Formica counters or even original, 1989 décor and furniture come with it.  How do you know if you’re getting a good value when you purchase a home that needs remodeled?  First, you look at the absorption rates to make sure the market is going up.  Second, you don’t buy the design/décor you buy the view.  I realize that not everyone wants to or has the ability to remodel a condo but it will so pay for itself if you do.

One of the condos I showed this week was a condo priced around $290,000. It was partly updated and the view was of a landscaped area and of the neighboring building.  The next condo was original everything but it had this view above.  This view is saleable in one month, one year, one decade away.  You might have to grit your teeth at the interior but that view is going to be the selling feature in a few years when the market levels or changes.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Jan. 3, 2017

Do It Yourself Projects in Bonita Springs Homes & Condos

 Bonita Springs DYI Projects Gone Wrong

Bonita Springs DIYMost Bonita Springs home sellers and tenants mean well when they “do it themselves” but often times, it shows. As a Bonita Springs listing agent I have said, on more than one occasion, that HGTV has given more than a few people just enough confidence to destroy a home or condo’s décor with a trip to the Home Depot.

Since I’ve been a real estate agent in the Bonita Springs area for close to two decades I have seen a lot of home improvement projects go well, but more of them go wrong.  Typical issues I’ve seen in home listings are painting woes, crooked trim/molding, misaligned wall paper and, while it qualifies as painting, bad faux. Ugh, no matter how hard home owners try, there is almost no way to do good faux paint.

Recently, Angela and I helped a home seller upsize to home in Collier County. They sold their home in San Carlos Park and moved to Golden Gate Estates.  The home in GGE was a do it yourself project and the new home owners have their work cut out for them.  With tons of potential, the home will be fabulous.  They just have to apply themselves to fix all of the little short cuts, including “sharpie marker painted” outlet covers.  They really do sell espresso color outlet covers at the big box stores.  It would have been less than $2 for the plate even at the most expensive of stores. 

I have started a small album of DIY projects I’ve seen around the Bonita Springs area while listing or selling homes or condos in the area.  Click here to see the Things I’ve Seen.

Dec. 29, 2016

A Good Real Estate Agent Will Say “No”

Find A Real Estate Agent Who Will Say No

Bonita Springs Real EstaetI really hate to be a dream stomper but a good real estate agent is going to tell you what is best for you in the long run and not “just make a sale”. You probably know, as well as I do, that real estate agents get a bad rap … some deservedly so.  In Florida, the bar for entry to the profession is set pretty low so I am  sure there are plenty of people making the real estate industry look bad. I can tell you from my nearly eighteen years as a real estate agent in the Bonita Springs area is that there are a lot of people who do the job really well. It is their profession, not a hobby or quick way to make cash.

My advise to anyone hiring or interviewing real estate agents is to make sure you find someone who will tell you no.  If you want a “yes man” you’re not going to be happy with your home purchase or your home sale, in the long run.

In the last year I have had to say a big “no” to more than one buyer who was making a choice that I wouldn’t be able to resell easily.  Any home can be remodeled but you can’t fix a horrible view or road noise or any other type of functional obsolescence.  I’ve talked many out of those sorts of choices not just because it’s the right the to do but, in spite of the fact that nobody buys with the intention to sell, I know they will want to sell one day and it shouldn’t be a struggle.

Due to the nature of our boomer population in Bonita Springs we run into many clients or customers who have lost a spouse.  There is often the notion that they should sell; a panic sell.  The sudden change caused by loss, probate issues, finding the right attorneys, dealing with the aftermath of medical bills can be overwhelming.  Time is generally not of the essence and you need a real estate agent who will help you make the best decision, not the fastest decision.  Sometimes that advise should be them saying no to listing your Bonita Springs home for sale until you’ve had time to adjust or process the situation. That could also mean waiting until a better time of the year to sell or finishing a household improvement project to get the most money out of your home sale.


Posted in Buyer Tips, Seller Tips
Dec. 27, 2016

Understanding Home Owner Associations in Bonita Springs Florida

Homeowner Associations in Bonita Springs

Home Owner Associations in Bonita Springs Florida

Recently, a home buyer called me about one of the listings I have in Hawthorne of Bonita Springs.  The first question was if the home is located in a homeowner association, which it is.  The buyer huffed and stated that he was sick of HOA’s and the fees and that they were always going up.  He was rather abrupt and was off the phone before I could help him understand more about Bonita Springs real estate, homeowner associations in Bonita Springs and how they work and why they cost what they cost.

First things first, Bonita Springs is about seventy-five percent gated and/or deed restricted and I am not sure that he understood how small of a piece of the pied he was looking at if he was trying to find a home “outside of an HOA”.  Imagine that he only has twenty-five percent of the properties to look at and then further restrict them by budget.  The price he was looking at was entry level for the Bonita Springs area, about $300,000.  That just whittled down to a sliver of the pie.  Whether it is me, Angela or someone else, he need to have an agent on his side to help him find the properties when pickings are that slim.

Second, HOA fees sort of are what they are.  They aren’t a dreamt up fee. There isn’t someone or an entity in the back ground living the high life off of the residents money. 

To make this fairly simple to understand, consider this: Every year, in the fall the management company for the homeowner association requests bids for services.  Let’s take Hawthorne, for example.  Hawthorne would request bids for services such as lawn mowing, road repair/maintenance, pool care, tennis court maintenance, guard/security service, insurance/casualty for the common areas. This is how the fees become the fees … the bids are received, a new budget for the next year is proposed and generally approved by the board of directors or the association.

If fees do go up it is generally due to an increase in goods and services or an addition of maintenance, reserves or, perhaps, for future improvements of a property amenity.

It goes without saying that “the more there is, the more is could cost” for an HOA.  Modest amenities and community features generally mean modest fees.  Fewer things to take care of cost less. This is also why no two HOA’s have the same fee.  Hawthorne and Cedar Creek are wildly different because they have different responsibilities to the home owners for upkeep of the neighborhood.

I guess the term affordable is subject to interpretation much like anything else anyone can have an opinion about.  At roughly $300 per month with lawn mowing included Hawthorne seems like a deal as far as HOA expenses are calculated. The amenities are modest but Hawthorne does have a pool, community room with gym and tennis.

An HOA like Hawthorne also offers the congruency of the structures, too. Outside of gates you don’t know what you’re going to get for a neighbor or if he has an RV, boat or other recreation vehicles. There are plusses and minuses to each living situation. If you have pointed questions about living in an HOA or outside of a gated community give me a call and I’d be happy to help you understand more clearly. Call or text any time 239-273-7430.

Posted in Buyer Tips
Dec. 17, 2016

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Reports Nov 2016

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Bonita Springs Real Estate Statistics & Out Look

The home prices of real estate in Bonita Springs have leveled off and slightly adjusted in a few communities around SWFL.  Just coming off of elections jitters we’ve seen an uptick in buyers who are also watching interest rates adjust.  We’ll undoubtedly see a bump in buyers who are interested in purchasing to stay the winter or who are interested in purchasing before the rates bump again.  Homes in Bonita Springs are purchased mostly with cash, about half.  The rest of the homes are financed so interest rate hikes will have an influence on home purchases in the spring.

Distressed Real Estate Bonita Springs

The Bonita Springs and Estero area properties for sale and recent closings reflect few distressed properties.  That means that there are few short sales and few foreclosures.  If you have a desire to purchase either in the Bonita Springs area know that they do not “bargain basement” those properties.  They are sold at market value and underpriced to stimulate bids which can sell them over value.

Entry Level Prices Above 200K

The $200,000 to $400,000 price range is still leading the pack. Single family homes priced under $200,000 are nearly non-existent.  There are currently five properties on the real estate market in Bonita Springs within that budget.

If you are a home buyer or a home seller keep this one fact in mind.  With the election jitters there was a slowing in homes for sale combined with pricing at premiums so inventory may have built up in some neighborhoods. Calculate an absorption rate before listing or purchasing a home, especially if the home is priced at the higher end of it’s value.

To learn more about buying or selling a home in Bonita Springs contact Chris or Angela at 239-273-7430

Posted in Market Reports