Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate


July 23, 2017

First Time Home Buyer, Warranties and Free Legal Advice From Facebook

Home Warranties Aren’t Free – Neither Are Repairs

Fort Myers Florida Plumbing RepairAs a real estate agent I am about to close out my second decade in this career.  I’ve been through a few “cycles” of the real estate market.  Our most recent cycle has sent entry level buyers of homes in Bonita Springs north to Fort Myers, Florida where there are more affordable homes available and typically much older homes.

A recent home purchaser had an unexpected surprise of a plumbing leak a few weeks after closing. Of course, the event was posted on Facebook where all the armchair attorneys showed up to discus all of the possible scenarios even though the “advisors” had no first hand knowledge of the transaction or access to the purchase agreement used by the buyer and seller to convey the property.

One of the comments resonated with me because, well, when something goes wrong … not matter what the blame goes to the last man standing, the Realtor®. Here’s part of the comment:

… also if you did not purchase "as is" the realtor should reimburse you.

Thank you, ma'am, for your thoughtful legal advise but if the real estate agents were responsible for every repair of a home after it closed, no matter how significant, there would be no reason why we would do this job. Home buyers get home inspections prior to purchase. Even when a home is purchased with known issues other issues can actually develop.  It’s the joy of home ownership.  Homes are always in need of constant repair.  That’s what home owners do. Especially to a home built in 1970. 

Other armchair attorneys piped in stating that “the sellers should have provided a home warranty” and “you should have gotten a home warranty” and “your real estate agent should have bought you a home warranty”. None of these people passing out free legal advise were present while the negotiation of the property purchase took place. They have no first hand knowledge of the other major repairs that had to be negotiated with the divorced couple who owned the home and did not want, nor were they able to pay for a single thing. The real estate agents had actually forfeited a portion of their commission in an effort to get the property closed.

Further, the buyers of the home barely scraped by to close sale on they property.  They didn’t have the excess funds to buy a home warranty so comprehensive that it covered plumbing, too.  Warranties are not inexpensive (several hundred to over one thousand dollars) PLUS there are substantial deductibles for each service call, usually around $150 per service call, to get a tech on site.

Long story short, this 1970’s home was going to be remodeled room by room and the buyers had a surprise pipe leak in a wall.  It just happened … Murphy’s Law.  Being a first time home buyer with little excess funds for cushion has potential pitfalls of unexpected repairs.  It just does. It’s not going to be the last surprise, either.

Posted in Buyer Tips
July 14, 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update June 2017

Bonita SPrings Market Report June 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update June 2017

Can you really get a home at last year’s prices? Yep! It can be done, in the right neighborhood with the right research, the right real estate and and the proper buyer mindset. It's all in the numbers and the numbers are interesting this month! One of the more interesting changes we've seen is the rise in mortgages to cash ratio.  We’re seeing more and more financed properties and cash shrinking up. This is caused by the rise in home values. Do you recall a few years ago when we posted graphs with cash transaction registering in the sixty percentile? 

We’re still running on vapors in the foreclosure and short sale real estate market. It’s still dripping an occasional property into the system.

Our “units sold” is steady-Eddy but keep this in mind; many of our new construction property sales are not registered in the MLS … and the developers are building like mad.  East of 75 we’re looking at building gangbusters in Bonita National, Valencia Bonita and Bonita Landing. So you can imagine there are scads not included in those graphs. 

The $200,000-$400,000 price point is the largest segment of the real estate market selling. Keep that in mind when you’re making an offer on a property in that range.  I’ll follow up this post in a few days with an article on how to get a good deal in a real estate market moving this quickly. It can be done!  Stand by.

If you’d like to learn more about buying or selling a home or condo in Bonita spring, Florida all or text Chris 239-273-7430 or Angela at 239-728-7599.

Posted in Market Reports
July 7, 2017

From a Bonita Springs Listing Agent–Parking Observations

 Buyers Agent Park Car

Buyer Favor by a Bonita Springs Buyer's Agent

In the Bonita Springs, Florida area many homes are “winterized” in the summer. If the owners are seasonal their home may have the outdoor patio furniture put away or the security/storm shutters rolled down.  Whether it is for presentation purposes or because a property is list agent accompany (meaning the home or condo is not on lock box) we often open homes, roll up the shutters turn on the lights, etc. prior to the buyer and buyer agent arrival.

The other day I was opening a home in Paradise Village for an agent with their buyer. Per the usual, I parked in the street a few doors down because that is what makes the home look good upon arrival plus the buyer should be able to park in the driveway of the home and arrive at the front door without obstruction.  It’s all part of the process of properly showing a home, not just in Bonita Springs, but likely across the country. Well, during this home showing the “experienced agent’' arrived to accompany the buyers/show the home separately from their buyer … you guessed it, the agent parked in the driveway; right in the middle to not even space to share with the prospective buyer.   The buyer arrived a few minutes later and had to park in the street.

To each his own but I can tell you this -  I have shown and sold a lot of real estate in my career but even before I had a lot of experience I knew that the driveway wasn’t for *me*, it was for the buyer.  How full of yourself, how self centered can a real estate agent be to hog up the whole driveway not giving the buyer, who the real estate agent is supposed to be working so hard for, a second thought about experiencing the home as if they were a home owner? 

It’s not a nitpick, it’s one of several pet peeves I have as a listing agent.  While I am going the extra mile to make a home showing go well, to make a home look great and to give the home buyer the best experience, the buyers agent swoops in and cops a squat in *their* driveway. It’s like taking a lick off of someone else’s ice cream cone before you hand it to them.

If a buyer’s agent doesn’t think of the buyer this early in the process what is the rest of the transaction going to be like? It’s one of the very things I train my buyer’s agents to do. It should be a soft skill, if you ask me, but it is one of the very points I make sure any buyer’s agent on my team understands up front.

Posted in Buyer Tips
July 6, 2017

Bonita Springs Gulf Access Home Prices - July 2017

Bonita Springs Gulf Access Home Prices

Here’s a great question I just answered for someone who has a dream of boating from their own back yard private boat dock in Bonita Springs, Florida. What does it cost to get into the gulf access home real estate market? 

Right now the prices of gulf access homes in Bonita Springs rages from $265,000 to $7,000,000. Besides location, location, location determining prices so does the availability of property and the depth and width of the water access. I can tell you that $265,000 can buy you “gulf access” but it is limited in size/style of watercraft.  Keep in mind that a narrow or shallow canal can limit the size of watercraft.  Typically, the more affordable gulf access homes and lots are located a good distance from the Gulf of Mexico and the intra-coastal waterways that lead to the gulf.

Is being further up the river a negative with regard to quality of life or real estate values? Not necessarily. There is often a great view or a larger lot that may not be available near the beaches that is available up river. Also, there are a few opportunities upstream to purchase in low-fee, gated communities which help keep the property visuals uniform.  Examples of these communities would be Brendan Cove, Paradise Village and Serrano.  The community of Bonita Bay offers a stunning lifestyle with optional marina access available.  It’s one of the few communities that offers the golf and country club lifestyle with the boating component. West Bay Club in Estero would be another option but their boat access is provide by way of boat ramp and on-site boat storage.

Posted in Buyer Tips
July 5, 2017

When Your Bonita Springs Home Won’t Sell

Bonita Springs Home Sales

Selling Your Bonita Springs Home w/ Price Reductions

Here’s a can of Campbell’s Chicken and Stars soup.  I walked to the grocery store eleven miles away to purchase this can of soup.  There were only two other cans of the soup on the shelf so clearly my can of soup is a commodity. I only paid $1.35 for the can of soup but I’m quite sure that I can sell my soup for at least $2.10.

Real estate is not much different than a can of soup when it comes to paying a price for the product.  Whether it is new construction or a resale home a buyer is only going to pay what it is worth.  When a home is listed for sale and it does not sell it has nothing to do with how many ads have been run for the home or how many open houses did or did not happen. 

Trust and believe that if your Bonita Springs home or condo is in great condition, priced appropriately and access is provided to it, someone will find it and buy it. How do I know?  I know because even home sellers not using a listing agent who advertise their property themselves have their home found by buyers. Buyers who I work with find homes in the paper, by seeing yard signs or even on Zillow and ask me to get them appointments to see it.

Though no home seller likes to hear it, price reductions cure every home that is not selling.  If you can’t change the location/view and you can’t further improve the interior/décor, the only other moveable component is the price for which the home is listed for sale. (You might want to learn a little bit about absorption rates here, too.)

Example: I’m watching a home that I’ve shown a half dozen times. It’s located in a bundled golf community. It’s a cute pool home in great neighborhood with a golf course view.  It’s been listed for forever and a day. It was priced appropriately for the neighborhood but not for the external obsolescence.  It’s got a pretty view, the home is decorated nicely but on the one side of it there is a four lane boulevard.  That can never be changed; road noise whether real or imagined.  The only cure to sell the home is a price reduction. There is no ad in any magazine or paper that will sell this home if it is not priced for the road that runs along the side of the property boundary.

There is no way to sell a home that is not priced for not having a great room floor plan.  Homes built in the 80’s and 90’s had small bathrooms, low vanities and both a formal living room and a family room.  The culture of housing has changed. If you haven’t “blown out that wall” the next buyer is calculating how much it will cost to do it.  Your home needs to be priced accordingly to sell.

It’s very hard from home sellers to trust their listing agent when they are told this information but backed up with facts and figures it is the only way to sell a home that is stagnating on the real estate market.

Posted in Seller Tips
June 16, 2017

Bonita Springs Homes for Sale | Owners Watch & Listen

Bonita Springs Home Buying Security

Video and Audio Recording in Bonita Springs Homes For Sale

You, as a real estate consumer, have new challenges changing and evolving into your real estate buying or selling plans, even in Bonita Springs, Florida.  Home security systems. Besides any do-it-yourself security system that can be purchased on Amazon there are tons of companies who make their primary business helping people watch and protect their home. 

I have sold real estate for a long time and have seen a lot of changes but in the last few years I’ve noticed the uptick of sophisticated surveillance abilities in homes and condos across Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida.  If you’re not aware of the technology and you’re a home buyer you must keep in mind that everything you do and everything you say may be subject to recording or even viewing live stream.  Home sellers have the ability, with the opening of an app on their phone, to turn on or off their security system, notify authorities, turn on the air conditioner, raise or lower the garage door, listen to your conversation plus a host of other activities. 

When you walk into a home to look at it for the first time you must remember that and do not do anything or say anything that you would not want the seller to see.  They can be watching you while you’re touring a home or condo for sale. They can also be listening to every word you say.

As a listing agent I have had sellers tell me that the buyer’s agent has not locked the front door and one time an agenty had the front door ajar while they were showing and the cats could have gotten out. Interesting, huh? Makes you want to be a little more aware of what you think of a property while you’re on site touring it.  It may not be a good idea to say things like, “this is it! … I will do anything to get this home”. 

This issue has become such a hot button issue that local boards of Realtors® are now issuing disclaimers to potential real estate buyers so they are aware to guard their actions and their conversations on site of homes that they are touring to potentially buy.  In short, do not show all of their cards while you're in the home.




If you’d like to learn more about buying or selling a home in the Bonita Springs area contact Chris or Angela, today. 239-273-7430

Posted in Buyer Tips
June 10, 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update May 2017

Bonita springs market report album May 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update May 2017

Nearly 99% of our actively listed property in Bonita Springs, Florida is equity owned, non-distressed properties.  We are operating with very little short sales and foreclosures in our real estate market at this time.

The trend of selling off the entry level thus rising the prices of real estate continues. The notable changes this month are that cash has shrunk and conventional mortgages have increased.   We will continue to see the shrinking (to extinction) FHA and VA mortgages.  Those styles of mortgage have “loan limits” that will be exceeded plus there are qualities of condition that must be met for a home to finance with VA/FHA that homes in entry level, potentially in disrepair, do not qualify for the program in the Bonita Springs area.  There are homes just north, in San Carlos Park that will qualify, however.

Our biggest news this month is that 50% of our sales occurred in the $200,000-400,000  price range. That’s the most we’ve seen.  The $800,000 to 1M range continues to struggle with merely 2.7% of the real estate market share in closed sales. 

The local Bonita Springs and Estero Florida real estate market is just coming out of the “graduation slump” and will pick up, especially over the July 4th weekend.

If you’d like to learn about the real estate market reports for your specific neighborhood, contact Chris at 239-273-7430 call/text.

Posted in Market Reports
May 20, 2017

Imperial River East April 2017 Real Estate Market Reports

Bonita Springs Imperial River East


Bonita Springs Gulf Access River & Canal Homes

Meanwhile in BN08 are of Bonita Springs, Florida gulf access homes.  Click the photo for all of the real estate details about home sales in the month of April 2017.

Can you believe that seventy percent of the gulf access home sales along the Imperial River from Old 41 to US 41 were between the prices of $200,000 – $400,000.  There are a few gulf access homes that come onto the market slightly under 400K but they go very quickly.  We will have a few weeks of quiet but mid June we will pick up the sales pace again. It’s the perfect time to buy with less pressure and at a marginally slower pace.

The real estate market is ever changing in Bonita Springs so if you need help learning more about current conditions and to initiate your home search contact Angela Griffith. 239-728-7599 call/text

Posted in Market Reports
May 16, 2017

Surviving the Low Skill Real Estate Market in Bonita Springs, Florida

Bonita Springs Home Sales


Bonita Springs Listing Agent Goals & Promises

It’s really a challenge to write about some of the issues that I, as an experienced real estate agent, see in the market mostly because it looks like a gripe-fest. The very real fact of the Bonita Springs real estate market is that it is flowing.  Technically, it’s always flowing it’s just that these days the lifting is easier. It’s easier to sell homes because access to credit and money has eased up plus there is less inventory.  I’ll speak for all the die-hard, career agents when I say that “we” sold plenty of real estate during the down cycle. It just took creative measure, hard work and more dedication than most of us realized that we had.

Southwest Florida (the Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida area) are in a bit of what I like to call a “low skill market”. Having 8,000-10,000 Americans turn 65 on a daily basis has strengthened our buyer pool. There are plenty of people willing to spend a week in school and a few hundred bucks to roll the dice at being a real estate.  After all, it’s easy, right? 

Right now there are experienced real estate agents, like myself, interviewing to list homes and condos in Bonita Springs.  Most sellers interview a few listing agents.   I’ve actually lost a listing or two  in the last few weeks because a green agent interviewed and “bought the listing”. They’ve taken the listing at a ridiculous price.  The last listing I lost was taken tens and tens of thousands above the recommended listing price of the home.  It was a home that was to list in the mid $300,000’s.  Three weeks later the home down the street sold bargain basement and really shot their comparables in the foot.  They’ve reduced $25,000 already … to the price that not only me but probably any other experienced listing agent they interviewed recommended. 

I know who the other agents involved were.  We’re all friendly competitors, just some of us haven’t had to have help filling out a contract or to be coached, throughout the transaction, how mortgages work. 

Everybody has to start somewhere but when the real estate market picks up sellers have to choose their listing agent wisely.  They need to have goals and marketing promises and not just fall for the agent who tells them the number they wanted to hear. That’s my advise to you, the Bonita Springs home seller. Besides the flashy listing presentation get a list of goals and promises from the agent, not the agency.  There should be ongoing goals and promises regarding the listing and sale of your home, too. What will they do for you monthly?

If you’d like to learn more about selling your home and to make an appointment to see my goals and promises list call or text Chris at 239-273-7430

Posted in Seller Tips
May 13, 2017

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update April 2017

Bonita Springs Market Report Stats April 2017

Home Sales Statistics in Bonita Springs Florida

Another great month in the Bonita Springs real estate market.  The distressed property sales account for less than two percent of our closed sale inventory of homes and condos and currently less than one percent of our active homes and condos are considered distressed; foreclosure or short sale.

Real estate sales in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area has been brisk. We’re in a bit of a slow period … but only for a few weeks.  The second half of May and the first few weeks of June are historically slow due to it being graduation season. We’ve not seen the real estate buyers pump the breaks, yet.  Surprisingly, the luxury real estate sales have sustained throughout the entire season and into summer.

Units sold, which includes homes, condos, multi-family and manufactured homes, is not far off of trend. Over the next few weeks more sales will be recorded.  Properties closed sale outside the are and real estate agents who dragged their feet recording the sale will catch up and the the numbers will be dozens higher.  Again, there would me more sold properties if there were more entry level priced homes.  At this time there are only seven single family homes available under $200,000 in Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida.  Those homes may have age related barriers which keep them from financing with many of the typical loan programs.

Our cash sales range at about 60% and the conventional loans account for about 33% of the closed sales.  Rent to own is not popular or necessary in a real estate market as brisk as the Bonita Springs area.  Periodically, seller financing presents but it is not frequent.

Sixty-seven percent of the real estate sales in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area are under the price of $400,000 and most of those are in the $200,000-400,000 range as the $200,000 and under range is dwindling.

Keep in mind, real estate is local and especially hyper-local.  You deserve to thoroughly understand the entire real estate market around your home or condo before you get into a purchase offer/contract. Contact Chris or Angela to learn more about buying or selling real estate in the Bonita Springs area before you arrive. We’ve love to make sure we have time blocked in our calendars to help you with your real estate investment.

Posted in Market Reports