Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate

 

June 18, 2018

Space Saving Tips for Bonita Springs Condos

Bonita Springs Space SaverOrganizing Your Bonita Springs Condo or Home

Over the last few years I’ve moved a few times, downsizing every time. I’m still in Bonita Springs, in single family home located Bonita Farms. It was built in 1974 and it’s less than 1,500 SF of living area which means small closets and small cabinets.

One day a nifty little gadget called the spicy rack went through my Facebook feed.  I decided to take a gamble on it for my kitchen cabinet with cooking items and spices in it.  It was purchased on Amazon for $20. It was a great gamble that helped organize that cabinet and even made room for larger bottles of olive oil in the middle of the system.  I had been refilling a smaller oil bottle because the prior shelf configuration didn’t allow for a larger bottle.  The pepper mill broke when I was refilling it to put away, again, so that's why it's not in photo two.  

Only one spicy rack was installed in the kitchen. I installed the other one in a bathroom cabinet. The bathroom cabinet is t-i-n-y and nearly useless. Because of the sink trap in the small cabinet there was no way to install an actual shelf.  The bag was full of shampoos and now they’re lined on a shelf.

Bonita Springs Home Organizing

The vintage homes of Bonita Springs are certainly charming but they do lack modern day conveniences. I’m learning all sorts of ways to make space that I will share here.

The spicy rack has dozens of options for adjustments so I imagine that it would fit any cabinet. These would be especially great for the beach front condos. Most condos, like The Egret, Casa Bonita Royale and Bonita Beach Club are around 1,200 SF and space is tight. The spicy rack would really help save space!

Posted in For The Home
June 17, 2018

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update May 2018

Bonita Springs Real Estate May 2018

Bonita Springs Real Estate Update May 2018

The May 2018 sales figures show the Bonita Springs real estate sales that were contracted at the end of our busy tourist season. Out of curiosity I peeked back at May of 2015 just to see how home buyers in Bonita Springs were paying for their real estate and sixty-four percent of them paid cash compared to fifty-two percent in 2018.   The change is caused by a combination of rising home values and the interest rates slightly increasing. 

If you are planning on financing a purchase, buying a home or condo now over next years may save you money in the long run: If you have a $200,000 15-year loan at 5 percent, your monthly payment is $1,581.59, and at 5.25 percent, it increases to $1,607.76.  The difference isn’t huge but depending upon the amount financed and the actual interest rate at the time you finance it can add up.

In all, sales figures are strong and we’ve really had a busy post-season.  We’ve closed most of our listings and have noticed a lot of luxury real estate buyers in the Bonita Springs market.  We’ve showing property from Fort Myers to south through Marco Island.  From manufactured homes to deep water gulf access homes on the bay. 

The common trend is that many buyers are looking to retire in the next few years and they are not able to secure a rental for the winter so they are buying a home and using it a little and renting it the rest of the time. If you are in this position know that you can easily find a tenant because there is a shortage of rentals .. because the baby boomer, second home owners are actually moving into what used to be our rental inventory.

To see the rest of the trends in Bonita Springs and Estero Florida homes and condo trends click the photo album above and you can see how homes are financed, how many distressed foreclosures or short sales are in the real estate market and most importantly.  Learn what price ranges are selling the fastest.

For expert real estate buyer or seller representation contact Chris and Angela at 239-273-7430.

Posted in Market Reports
June 5, 2018

Pickle Ball Communities in Bonita Springs, Naples & Estero

Pickleball Bonita Springs

Pickleball Courts in Bonita Springs, Naples, Estero

If you’re a buyer who enjoys the growing sport of pickleball, here is some information to help you sort through a little of the pickleball court confusion. Pickleball in the Bonita Springs area is growing in popularity. Many communities with tennis courts have pickleball courts on the tennis courts. Many of the communities are installing their own courts, space permitting.  Those who do not have space find room just outside the gates.  Keep in mind some of the communities in Bonita Springs were built and completed before pickleball was popular.

The MLS service that real estate listing agents use to sell homes lists community amenities. For example, it will list that a community has pickleball courts but not the number of courts. For those die hard pickleball enthusiasts it’s important to have enough courts to service the population of the community. I've been asking around and have a few great places to start your home search. 

In Bonita Springs:

Pelican Landing  in Bonita Springs has six pickleball courts.

The Colony at Pelican Landing is a gated area of Pelican Landing that has access to Pelican Landing amenities in addition to the amenities available exclusively to The Colony residents.  This community has a beach park included with home ownership which is a bonus.

Bonita Bay has only 4 courts but it is a stellar community to consider.  This community has a beach park included with home ownership. 

Valencia Bonita is a new construction community (June 2018) that is going to have eight pickleball courts.  It's a 55+ active adult community and the amenities are being built.  They're unbelievable and the homes are very nicely appointed. 

In Estero:

The community of Corkscrew Shores has six courts and Bella Terra has six courts.

In Naples:

The luxury resort community of Kalea Bay in Naples has eight courts.

Kensington in Naples is getting four new courts this fall; I don't know if that is in addition to what they already have.

Treviso Bay has six courts.

Last, you may find pickleball in several neighborhoods that may be a bundled golf community. They often have robust tennis programs/pickleball.  It bears mentioning because the bundled golf is mandatory membership with golf fees typically in excess of $6,000 per year. If you do not golf it is a costly amenity for a feature you wouldn’t be using.

If you would like your community added to this list of pickleball communities comment or message the admin with the community name and number of courts.

Posted in Around Town
May 24, 2018

Cleaning Up Credit in Bonita Springs, Florida

First Time Home Buyer Bonita Springs

Managing Credit & Buying a Home in Bonita Springs

Long, long ago I had an experience with home buyers in Bonita Springs that shaped how I advised home buyers on credit worthiness or credit preparedness.  At the time I lived in Brendan Cove and tenant in a community called Serrano. The tenants called me to look at a condo for sale which was also located in Serrano.  Geographically, the communities are  just a few streets away from each other so I ran over to open the condo for sale even though I knew nothing about their credit and finances.   The unit was vacant and easy to show.

These buyer-tenants had a hard time finding a real estate agent who would work with them.  They had very little money and their credit was a disaster. They’d gotten into a predicament or two with their finances and there were all sorts of dings on their credit, lots of little charges that added up to a significant amount of debt and even an outstanding judgment. They explained their situation to me on the spot and then explained that they were going to be inheriting a large sum of money. Not enough to buy a home outright but maybe enough for a down payment for a home.

This couple had a combined family and extended family that lived with them and they never thought they would ever be in the position to put enough money down to be home buyers.  They had given up on their credit.  They admitted it.  Why bother.  Plus when you have so many issues to deal with, why worry about another ding here and another ding there.

The first thing I did was order them to pump the brakes and then hook them up with a great, local mortgage broker and make sure that they told him everything – warts and all. Great mortgage brokers will get people into a home when there are resources and motivation.  Credit was managed for a few months, letters were written to clean up a few credit items, small debts were cleaned up, large debts were cleaned up with the inheritance came in and the judgment was paid off.

What I learned from helping first time home buyers in Bonita Springs was that you just don’t know what you don’t know.  Again, we are entering another cycle of affordable housing being an issue so those with credit in poor condition may be giving up on home ownership.  Don’t.  You never know what tomorrow will bring and housing is cyclical. If you can’t buy a home in Bonita Springs on the current cycle, buy a home on the next cycle. Take care of your credit. Pay down your debt.  Save. Live within your means. 

You will never know if you’ll stumble into a little money to buy a home in Bonita Springs. You also never know when mortgage programs will change and help you buy a home, too.  Through the the last housing downturn and the recession mortgages got tough but we are back to conventional mortgages being as low as 5% down for qualified home buyers.

Read also: First Time Home Buyers in Bonita Springs

It sounds simple enough but we live in a world and, most especially, a country where everyone wants everything RIGHT NOW.  There is no patience. We also have a lot of people mislead into thinking that they don’t have to work hard for what they want.  Home ownership isn’t easy, home ownership isn’t cheap and home ownership isn’t free but with a little dedication and planning you can own a home in Bonita Springs. It just isn’t going to be immediate.  Put your head down and get to work. If you need help making a plan let me know and we can plan together.  239-273-7430, call or text any time.

Posted in Buyer Tips
May 15, 2018

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update April 2018

Bonita Springs real estate statistics

The Spring Sales Wrap Up Bonita Springs and Estero Homes

Check out the units sold in Bonita Springs real estate.  You can click the photo album to see all of the sales graphs. We’re busy closing sales on the homes and condos that pended sale during the thick of season.  It may surprise you to know that we’ve still been selling.  It seems that savvy buyers are still out shopping and doing it with a little less competition around.

As usual the foreclosure and short sale activity is minimum.  Units sold are up a little over other years. We’re feeling the press of the Baby Boomers.  Homes priced well, in good condition sell quickly and close to list price especially priced under $400,000.  That seems to be the sweetest price range.

We actually have off-season guest flying in this May. Those who couldn’t get a rental this winter are out shopping and looking for  next winter’s home to buy in stead of rent.  I would suspect our end of June through July sales to be robust compared to last year. 

If you’re interested in picking up a residence for next winter give us a call so we can help you hone your search.  239-273-7430.

Posted in Market Reports
May 7, 2018

Alternatives to Gulf Access Homes In Bonita Springs, Florida

Bonita Springs Boat Storage

Boat Storage, Boat Docks and Boat Clubs in Bonita Springs

If the prices of homes in Bonita Springs with gulf access has you looking for alternatives to boating access here are a few ideas that you might want to explore. Besides trailering your boat and using public boat ramps in Bonita Springs you may find a few of these ideas helpful.

There are not many marinas offering in and out storage in Bonita Springs. First, check into Bonita Bay Marina.  The marina is centrally located and offers fairly fast access to the gulf via the Imperial River.  You can visit the marina website here: www.bonitabaymarina.net

Some boaters keep their vessel at Fish Tale marina on Fort Myers Beach for in and out service.  Here’s a link to their website: www.thefishtalemarina.com 

Barefoot Boat Club on Bonita Beach Rd. offers boat storage and boat storage condominiums for purchase.  The boat condo sales can be found in the MLS under boat dock searches, not a vacant land search.   Also under the boat dock search there may be boat docks located on 3rd Street in Little Hickory Shores from time to time. 

Last, if you do not have a boat already you may want to consider joining Bay Water Exclusive Boat Club in Bonita Springs, Florida.  You have your pick of boats to reserve from fishing boats to pontoon/party boats.  They are in the process of also setting up jet skis for use by club members.  It’s a hassle free way to own a boat with little maintenance.

May 1, 2018

Spring Flowers in Bonita Springs, Florida

Jasmine in Bonita Springs

Jasmine in Bonita Farms Bonita Springs Fl

April brings tons of blossoms to Bonita Springs and there is one great spot to visit in Bonita Farms area.  The fence on West Terry Street that circles Highland Woods has so much jasmine growing on it that sometimes you can smell it a quarter of a mile away.  It’s amazing.  You can park your car near the power line easement at West Terry Street and Holly Lane if you’d like to park and take a walk past it.

There are other great blossoms to look at in Nuttinglikit Grove off of Pennsylvania Avenue.  Both Poinciana and Jacaranda Trees grow in that community.

An invasive plant, the Downy Rosemyrtle is actually growing along the power line easement at Holly Lane.  It’s very pretty but it’s not a desirable plant in this area.  There are also tons of gopher tortoises living in the easement so go take a look!

Posted in Around Town
April 29, 2018

Bonita Springs Attainable Housing - Workforce Housing

Bonita Springs Workforce Housing

Finding Attainable Bonita Springs Workforce Housing

A few days ago I received a phone call from a man considering a move to the Bonita Springs-Estero area. He was researching for a possible transfer to take a new job and he was having difficulty finding a property to purchase or rent online. After a brief discussion I was able to explain to him that the ranges in prices that he was searching barely existed. Those properties in his proposed budget, in the area he was looking, come and go very quickly if at all.

It’s been about fifteen years since we’ve felt this sort of pinch in local housing. Consumers who are in the work force are feeling the change more so than others searching for housing. What’s causing the change is a variety of aspects including demographic changes and the population growth in southwest Florida.

Both Lee and Collier Counties are already feeling the press of Baby Boomer migration. Many have worked their whole lives with a dream of a Florida retirement. The current rate of those turning 65 in the United States is about 8,000 per day. It’s a trend that will continue for years. Florida is not only been feeling the effects of the Boomer shift but also of those who push their chips into the middle of the table hoping that southwest Florida will offer their family new opportunities.

The influx of those declaring residency has not only had an effect on the prices of real estate but the inventory of rental housing. Those who already owned second homes in southwest Florida may have had them rented until they were able to retire or move into them. When they officially become a Floridian they move into their home which removes their property from the rental pool. Simply put there are fewer rentals than there were a few short years ago.

Areas such as Bonita Springs have noticeably fewer apartment complexes than many coastal cities. During the heyday of the housing boom many of the apartment complexes were converted to condominiums complexes and the units were sold off individually. 

Reference San Mirage, The Tides at Pelican Landing and The Sanctuary 

The rental apartment inventory took a substantial hit and there haven’t been many apartment buildings built within city limits since the Great Recession.

The American dream of home ownership is quite a challenge for the local work force. Those of us in the Bonita Springs real estate industry have steadily watched entry level prices coming up and the trend is expected to continue. Even where it appears that there may be housing available, in many areas it is not attainable due to the high costs of flood insurance and home owner insurance. In some circumstances those fees are large enough to force the buyers over their debt to income ratios, unable to obtain a mortgage. Costly HOA fees affect debt to income ratios, too.

Reference: Bonita Farms, Arbel, Wesbobean, Imperial Pines 

For many, the dream of living in southwest Florida is being eclipsed by the cost of housing. Whether a person owns or rents, the average person should spend about 30% of their income on housing. The primary source of moderate to middle income employment in southwest Florida is in the service sector and various trades. The wages from many of these jobs simply cannot support the cost of housing on the Gulf coast. Many people are now finding themselves either stretching their housing budget to the brink or enduring grueling daily commutes to and from areas where workforce housing is more attainable.

The availability of work force housing is only going to become more challenging. The effects will be felt by the entire community. The lack of housing options available to community service sector such as law enforcement, fire service and teachers is not only frustrating but impacts the quality of life for all residents, regardless of age and income. How do we facilitate the needs of the growing population when the very personnel we need for safe and balanced community cannot afford to live here?

April 14, 2018

Things To Do With Kids in SWFL Off the Beach - Part II

Naples Zoo Giraffe

Things To Do With Kids in SWFL Off the Beach Part II

One of the most popular places for people to visit is the Naples Zoo which is located 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, Naples, Florida. They are open daily from 9:00 - 5:00pm. Adult ticket prices are $21.95 and Children 3 and up are $12.95 (2018 pricing). The Naples Zoo is a great walk thru zoo with many other great features like a boat cruise on an island of monkeys,lemurs,and apes, There is also an open air theater where you can experience the animals up close and personal.

My boys also love when we get to see the alligator feedings! For $5 you can get a few pieces of lettuce and hand feed the giraffes. The zoo does not have anywhere to buy food but you are allowed to bring a lunch or snacks. They have a great picnic area with a playground close by. The Naples Zoo is a great place for the whole family and is sure to provide some great memories.

Chipmunk Pary Bonita SpringsAnother great place to visit is the Naples Botanical Gardens which is located 4820 Bayshore Dr, Naples, FL 34112. The Naples Botanical Gardens is 170 acres of plants from all around the world. We recently visited the Gardens for the very first time and we had such an amazing time.

At the time we visited the Botanical Garden they were featuring dinosaurs which I am told they do every so often.  With two small boys dinosaurs are what made us want to make our first trip there but even without the dinosaurs it is such an amazing place to walk around.

There are 9 different themed gardens and untouched 90 acres preserve. One of the gardens is a children’s garden which includes a butterfly garden, tiny cottages, a splash pad, tree house, and watering cans so the kids can take care of the garden. Naples Botanical Gardens is open from 9:00am-5:00pm ticket prices are $14.95 for an adult and $9.95 for children 4 and older (2018 pricing).

The newest place to visit is the brand new Chipmunk Indoor party. The Chipmunk Indoor Party is exactly what is sounds like a huge place for kids to play inside! The Chipmunk has arcade games, indoor bounce houses, craft/lego room, a indoor playground, a concession stand and a party/event room. The price is $12 per kid for 2 hours, I believe if you bring more than one kid it is $10 per kid for 2 hours (2018 pricing). They also have birthday party/event packages.

My youngest son and I had to check it out when we heard about it and he LOVED it he spent almost our entire two hours on the giant slide that goes into a ball pit. There is an age limit 0-11 years old for safety reasons. Chipmunk Indoor Party is located at 9128 Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs, Florida near Sunshine Ace Hardware Store.

This is Part II You can read Part I here: Things To Do With Kids in SWFL Off the Beach - Part I

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About the Author - Jenna Hatfield is a life-long resident of Bonita Springs, Florida and mother of two boys.

Posted in Things To Do
April 13, 2018

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update March 2018

Bonita Springs  Real Estate Statisitics

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Update March 2018

It’s official. Season is over so we’re going to be wrapping up a the pending sales and closings for the next several weeks.  Just because season is over doesn’t mean we don’t sell real estate in Bonita Springs.  We just sell to a different type of clientele.  The locals are shuffling around and we go through our “graduation lull” and then we start getting visits from the be-back buyers.  Those are the folks who looked this winter and either didn’t find what they wanted or they have been studying what they want and have decided to take the plunge.

About half way through the summer we start getting “can’t find a rental”. Those folks who buy a home because they either can’t find a rental or they decide that what they would rather use that rental money as part of the down payment or remodel cost.

Last months sales were consistent where short sales and foreclosures are concerned.   We had about 97.5% equity sales.  Very few distressed sales.  Our active listings are at 99% non-distressed properties.   Cash sales were nearly 60% which is up over the last few months. Conventional financing was used for about 34% of the purchases made.

If you’re a real estate buyer or seller in the Bonita Springs area keep this in mind – nearly 70% of our sales occurred in the price point under $400,000.  The closer you get to zero the more competitive it gets!  That’s a lot of entry level real estate moving.  That also creates growing pains in the top tier or luxury real estate market.

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home or condo in the Bonita Springs or Estero, Florida area call or text today to get started.  239-273-7430

Posted in Market Reports