Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate


May 20, 2022

Buying & Insuring Old Homes in Bonita Springs Florida

Buying Old Homes Bonita Springs Insurance

Buying & Insuring Old Homes in Bonita Springs Florida

You’re searching for a home to purchase in Bonita Springs Florida and you see it … the most charming, funky little vintage cottage you ever did see. Your heart skips a beat and then you proclaim, “This is the one!”.

These age homes are often found in Heitmans, Rosemary Park, Imperial Shores and older gulf access homes in Bonita Farms.

We know old houses and the challenges of upgrading the systems, insuring them and getting them to the closing table. It’s quite an ordeal and it’s not for the faint of heart.

We, the real estate agents, don’t mean to be a dream stomper but there are some strings attached to purchasing an older home and they’re expensive. You would never even imagine the financial impact that some of them would have and a good portion of it would be insurance related.  Here’s the quick and dirty on buying a vintage home in Bonita Springs, Florida so you can make an informed decision.

1. Four point inspections are required on most homes older than twenty years. It’s how insurance companies gauge their risk and qualify the home for insurance and it’s insurance rates. That’s also how if can tell a home has old, recalled or dangerous systems.

2. The most affordable homes in Bonita Springs are generally the older homes and that is the first pitfall for entry level buyers and first time buyers hoping to use FHA financing or VA financing. They have defects that preclude them from qualifying for those specific loan programs.

3. The homes were build long ago at a lower flood elevation and now significant flood insurance fees are required. Being in a flood zone doesn’t necessarily guarantee a home will flood all flood zones are not equal.  Depending upon the rating the flood policy could be thousands of dollars per year.  If a buyer is barely qualifying for a mortgage the flood insurance costs can put them over the debt to income ratio and then they no longer qualify for the loan.

4. Electrical systems in very old homes may be comprised of cloth wiring, glass fuses or recalled electrical boxes. All of which are costly fixes.  If there is a mortgage involved in a home being purchased which has one of these items it may not be insurable so no insurance equals no loan approval. Unless the seller agreed to bring the system to code at their own expense its problematic.

5. Plumbing systems in older homes may be cast drains and insurance companies do not like those rendering homes with that type of system uninsurable.  Again, it can be corrected but it is costly remediation.

6. Asphalt shingle roofs have a “shelf life” even if they’re water tight and there are no leaks. Many homes owners in Bonita Springs get a letter from their insurance broker when a home is close to twenty years old, letting them know that unless they get a new roof their insurance will be cancelled. That means a roof that is “up their in years” is close to cancellation so if you purchase the home you’ll also be putting a roof on it in the very near future. It’s a significant expense.

7.  Lloyds policy – if you do get insurance and you’re barely getting insurance and either let your insurance lapse or get cancelled your lender will get a policy for you and it’s the most expensive insurance you’ll ever purchase.

8. Inspections start adding up in older homes. In addition to the general home inspection the insurance company will require the four point inspection and likely a wind mitigation inspection which also determines wind risk and window protection during hurricanes. Most older homes have no window protection which may cause higher rates, as well.

9. The fifty percent rule in Bonita Springs is a little known complication that can pop up on homes that suffer catastrophic damage or homes that need a lot of systems updates. It’s complicated but basically in older homes you’re only allowed to improve fifty percent of the structure value. I could write a thesis on it. Call directly if you’d like to learn more about the 50% rule before you buy a home in Bonita Springs.

There are other things that will pop up during the research and inspection period, also.  The long story short is that it is the listing agents responsibility to acquire  a lot of this information and have it available for buyers but the majority of the time they just don’t do it. Not all real estate licensees are the same. That's why you need an experienced buyers agent to guide you through the process. Experience pays dividends! Think of how much time and money it would save everyone involved if elevation certificates, four point inspections, wind mitigation reports, current insurance policy binder coverage sheets were provided in the supplements of the MLS.

Posted in Buyer Tips
May 18, 2022

Affordable Dining in Bonita Springs Florida 2022

Affordable Dining In Bonita Springs Florida

Affordable Dining in Bonita Springs Florida

The inflation in the summer of 2022 is outrageous and many residents of Bonita Springs are feeling it in the wallet. Jerry and I have been going through some of our gift cards when we dine out just to help soften some of the price hikes we have seen. We were driving home from Naples yesterday and started talking about what we thought was affordable food after we just paid $40 for pizza. Yes, remarkable, I know. It’s not the restaurateur's fault, it’s inflation and they have to pass the price hikes onto the consumer.

Here are some of the ideas we came up with for affordable dining in Bonita Springs and a few affordable snacks whether you’re eating out at a restaurant, take out or home:

  • We discovered a very large take home and cook pizza at Aldi in Bonita Springs.  Prices are from $5.99 for a very large pizza.
  • The Brass Tap in Bonita Springs with the poker room at the location near the old dog track has a $5 burger and fry special on Monday.  It’s huge, delicious and quite a deal. It is new, smoke free and has a lovely restaurant separate from gaming.
  • We’d never be able to skip some deals at Costco.  Whether it’s in Naples or Fort Myers there are consistent offerings that are a bargain. You can actually eat at the food court very affordably and pick up a meal for the next day. The rotisserie chicken are twice the size of a Publix chicken and lower in price. Also, a birthday cake made at Costco is $20 and the last cake we almost ordered at Publix was going to be $60+! 
  • You can get pizza by the slice at Deromo’s at The Promenade at Bonita Bay.  1 slice is actually 1/4 of a pizza and you can buy a bottle of water (and even split it) at checkout and eat outdoors in the courtyard.
  • Napoli Pizza also offers pizza by the slice. They’re located at Bonita Beach Rd and Old 41. They just came to the Bonita Springs restaurant scene in Spring of 2022.
  • We’ve discovered a few things about Walmart in Estero just south of San Carlos Park. Walmart does buy local produce. The potatoes are from SWFL!  We also started buying fruit for our veterans gatherings there and cutting it up ourselves. The Family Size Frosted Flakes box is $3.98 at Walmart and $5.69 at Publix.
  • Marias Restaurant on Old 41 in Downtown Bonita Springs on Tuesday has Taco Tuesday – $1 tacos, $2 for a steak taco.
  • The Dollar Tree stores offer a lot of shelf stable food and even frozen meals at select locations  (Old 41 Rd) in the freezer section.  Even Jell-O Pudding packs are $1.25
  • Enrico’s Ristorante in Bonita Springs has a great lunch special for $12.99 that also comes with a salad.  From a sandwich, a meal or even a calzone. It’s a great value. The calzone is big enough to take half home for lunch the next day.
  • Tijuana Flats offers fairly affordable meals. You can also split a nacho chips order. It’s certainly big enough for two people.
  • Wednesday there is farmer market in downtown Bonita Springs at Riverside Park. Produce is fresh, affordable and many times, local.
  • Farmer Mikes on Morton Ave has a produce stand and self-pick.
  • Straight out of NY Bagels are huge and large enough for 2.  If you stop in for a bagel schmear you can split one for smaller appetites. My favorite is an everything bagel, open face, toasted with veggie cream cheese and tomato slices.  Enough for two.
  • Ruth’s Chris at Coconut Point offers $8 happy hour specials that several items including Ahi tuna and a prime burger,

We hope you find this list helpful. If you have any tips to share, comment and let us know. We will add them to the list!

Posted in Local Dining
May 13, 2022

Navona at The Colony Pelican Landing - Just Sold!

Navona at The Colony𝐉 𝐔 𝐒 𝐓     𝐒 𝐎 𝐋 𝐃 !

Navona - 26540 Via Vento Unit 2203

The Colony at Pelican Landing

Beat out dozens of other offers.

The new owners of this Navona condo in The Colony at Pelican Landing are thrilled to call Bonita Springs their new home! 🌴 This gorgeous property was won in a multiple offer negotiation because we created an appealing offer that stuck out to the sellers! How did we help these buyers get their dream home in this competitive real estate market? We first scheduled an exclusive strategy session to prep the buyers for the Bonita Springs real estate market. We talked our way though a variety of scenarios such as living directly on Bonita Beach 🏖️ versus being ‘a little off the beach’ in a community offering more amenities which also included a beach club with home ownership.

Once we narrowed down the community that met their list of wants and needs we put our game faces on and went to work on their behalf. When this penthouse came on the market it took a village to coordinate schedules so both buyers could be available for the personalized visual tour.

The buyers were NOT in town when this property became available, so we toured it together on Facetime. We were the sixth showing of the day and there was a total of over thirty showings of the property though the weekend. The buyers knew ‘this was the one’ so we discussed our options and assembled the perfect offer. Chris & Angela ‘sold’ the buyers and their offer to the sellers and prevailed with the winning contract! This transaction had a little turbulence along the way but with strategic planning we were able to stay a head of every challenge. We do what other buyer’s agents don’t do and we can do this for your, too! If you’re looking for a new home in the Bonita Springs – Estero and surrounding areas schedule a strategy session, today!

Posted in Buyer Tips
May 13, 2022

Bonita Springs Estero Real Estate Market Reports May 2022

Bonita Springs Estero Real Estate Market Reports May 2022

Here’s the latest and greatest … the May 2022 Bonita Springs market report.  The stats include home sales in Bonita Springs/Estero for the month prior. 

Again you’ll notice barely any foreclosures hitting the market. They’re still out there but it’s more like a dripping faucet.  The market is outstanding so many people who are in forbearance or pre-foreclosure have the opportunity to catch up on payments, sell their property or employ other legal matters to buy time. 

Units sold is down this year over last year simply because there is very little inventory. We’re seeing a break in the population but no break in home sales. Virtual buyers and sight unseen buyers are still in the real estate market so don’t think for one moment that fewer people means less competition. If it’s the right house in the right neighborhood a buyer may still be out there and scoop you!

The eighty percent of homes and condos sold in Bonita Springs and Estero are priced under $800,000 and there really aren’t many to go around, at that.  Seventy-one percent of the homes and condos sold in Bonita Springs and Estero were paid for with cash, followed by conventional mortgages.

We occasionally have a VA and FHA mortgage go through but it is a challenge to get mortgages accepted in multiple offer situations. We do have a plan for that so if you’d like to learn more about flexing your VA benefits give us a call. 239-273-7430 

Here are the graphs for Bonita Springs Real Estate Sales in May 2022.

Bonita Springs Home Sales

Bonita Springs Home Sales

Bonita Springs Home Sales

Bonita Springs Home Sales Foreclosures

Posted in Market Reports
May 9, 2022

Sold in Spanish Wells Bonita Springs, Florida!

✨️✨️✨️𝐉 𝐔 𝐒 𝐓 𝐒 𝐎 𝐋 𝐃 ! ✨️✨️✨️Spanish Wells Home Sold

📌28710 Megan Drive Bonita Springs, Fl

📌 Spanish Wells Just 3 Mi to Bonita Beach

📌Beat out dozens of other offers.

The new owners of this beautiful home 🏠 are excited to become Floridians! 🌴 There were dozens of offers but only one winner. 🏆How did these buyers do it? They started by booking an exclusive strategy session with us on zoom. 🖥 We were able to talk our way through a variety of neighborhoods and narrow the focus considerably before they arrived to buy! These buyers were both prepared and organized. When they missed out on their first offer they were devastated but it was training to get the next property they fell in love with. They were ready to rumble! 🥊 When that property came to market the 25+ cars waiting to get in didn’t scare them one bit. We put on our game faces and knew what we had to do. We built the perfect offer and Chris & Angela 🗣 “sold” the buyers to the home sellers beating out dozens of other offers. We do what other buyers agents don’t do and we can do this for your, too! If you’re looking for a new home in the Bonita Springs – Estero and surrounding areas schedule a strategy session, today! 🗓

April 14, 2022

Bonita Springs Estero Real Estate Market Reports April 2022

Here’s the April 2022 Bonita Springs Estero Real Estate Market Reports! We have seen a small relaxation in inventory but we’re still seeing low inventory.  It is still a seller’s market and the buyers are only momentarily distracted. 

Years ago it was like clockwork and we got slow at the end of May/beginning of June for graduations so maybe with COVID restrictions relaxing we’ll see folks travel around and be able to attend graduations again. It would provide a reprieve for buyers who are tired of getting shut out and maybe open a little room for financing buyers to get in.  We still have a lot of cash out there, though!  Take a look at the graphs and watch this video “short” titled “Is Bonita Springs Real Estate Overpriced”.  Consider clicking to subscribe as we are updating the YouTube channel more out of ease and speed.  It’s just harder to carve out time to type up blog posts and edit long form video. 

For those of you headed north, we’ll see you in the fall!  Take care!  Here's the stats:Bonita Springs real estate market reportBonita Springs real estate market reportBonita Springs real estate market reportBonita Springs real estate market report

Posted in Market Reports
April 9, 2022

The Minimum Home Seller Tips Bonita Springs or Anywhere

Listing Your Home For Sale - Any Location

Right now there is a home seller that is has not come to grips with their home selling situation.  While I’ve tried to coach them in the hiring and accountability of the listing agent or listing specialist they chose to sell their property they are currently languishing on the real market … for months.  First, even in the most robust real estate market you, as a home seller, deserve marketing materials that, at minimum, include professional photos and one visual tour.  And that visual tour is not a photo slide show it is an actual walk through video.  If the agent you are using is going to take cell phone photos you’ve made a bad hire.  If they’re not going to prep and stage for photos, it’s a bad hire.  If there are photos of personal, very personal, bathroom items in the cell phone photos you could have had a small child take the photos and do better.

How to Sell a Home Bonita SpringsIt pains us to see it and say it but home sellers have to hold their real estate agent accountable if they ever want to sell the home up north in order to purchase Bonita Springs real estate. It is not a rare occurrence for real estate agents in Bonita Springs to be waiting for their buyer to sell a home elsewhere to  move forward. To that end we’ve help my buyers get their homes staged and sold from Bonita Springs just by looking at photos or video. 

Proper pricing, staging, deep cleaning, professional photos and video. At minimum this is what a listing specialist does.

We invite you to schedule a strategy session to learn how to sell your property whether it is a home in Bonita Springs, Florida or your northern address so that you can move to Bonita Springs.  You can schedule a phone call or private zoom meeting here:  Schedule Meeting

Posted in Seller Tips
April 8, 2022

Seven Years Ago

Today, a friend of mine sent me a picture of this little owl. She had taken the photo seven years ago, to the day, when I lived in Brendan Cove.  It was shortly before some big decisions I had made in my life.  Huge decisions, actually.  I will eventually find that piece of paper that prompted this some day. I know I tucked it away “someplace safe” … so safe that I actually forgot where I put it. Are you feeling me Gen Xer’s?

Screech OwlThe condensed version of this story is that I attended a women’s ministry event with The Springs of Bonita church and Susan Fannon lead an exercise about writing down all sorts of things that were important to us personally or described our life and our dreams. There were several questions and responses that I filled out and didn’t give a single thought to until several weeks later. 

Ones day, I had pulled into the driveway after work and started pecking through my car console organizing and throwing things away. I came across a folded up piece of paper so I unfolded it and read it before I threw it away.  As I read it I burst into tears. I realized that what I had written down as important to me was not the life I was living. I looked out the windshield at that house and the life I was about to walk back into. It was a big house with nothing but unhappiness, bills and stress. I was being drowned by a one-sided relationship that wasn’t holding up their share of the work or those bills. I was struggling both personally and physically due to the weight of life and a whole bunch of poor choices I made in situations and particularly in my people. I felt so stupid. My health was suffering.  I. Was. Done. That was my turning point, right there in that driveway. It was like a sword sliced through my life. I changed everything after that. I sold my homes, my car, got rid of all my debt, doubled down on my career and also so my service to humanity because you can’t help yourself unless you’re helping others. Of course, there is more detail to the story but I’m still  not ready to be that vulnerable.

In the back yard of that home I raised these little owls. I do miss them terribly. They talked to me and I talked back. They are such a big reminder of my old life which is why I wrote this down. I’m a bit amazed at the changes in my life in seven short years.  I mean, a lot of things changed. I have been able to use my real estate skill to help a lot of people, particularly women such as  myself, purchase homes with responsible budgets. I have helped a lot of amazing people through volunteering.  I have also branched out personally and written a book. I am just starting another book, too. The subject matter is a huge departure from real estate content. The first book is titled, It Started with a Helmet: A Retired Firefighter's Return to New York City the Day Before 9/11.  I also started a school program to get these books to middle school students or older, free of charge, so they can learn about 9/11 and Never Forget. I don’t really know what I am doing but I am learning as I go along!

It’s been a while since I updated this website with non-real estate information so I appreciate if you have read this far. I don’t really know why I wrote it except that I thought if one person reads this who is not in the place they want to be in, it may inspire them to be brave and change their life no matter how old they are or no matter how hard it seems.

If I can help you in any way whether it is by providing a listening ear, offering free advise, providing real estate service or providing complementary copies of books to a classroom near you please reach out.  Also, the church meets on Sunday at Riverside Park at 9:30 if you're not sure where to start. - Chris 239-273-7430

March 13, 2022

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Spring 2022

 Bonita Springs Florida Real Estate

Update: Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Springs 2022

Where is the Southwest Florida, particularly the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida real estate market today?  As we break the crest of mid-March we continue to see record low housing inventory and near historic lows in mortgage rates.  The majority of home buyers in SWFL pay cash. A good hand full of home buyers are writing contracts for cash but opt for financing due to the benefit of low interest rates.

For those asking if the current gas prices or the global issues such as the invasion of Ukraine have had an impact on Bonita Springs real estate, the answer is not yet.  We activated a modest home in  a golf community on Friday and it’s had 10 showings on Saturday and 17 showings scheduled so far on Sunday and it’s only 12:35.  I don’t doubt that there are concerns but they just aren’t materializing in to action or objections.

Today as we prepare this report there are only six properties priced under 300K in Bonita Springs.  Some of them have been on the market a spell which may be related to condition or their ability to finance.  I always watch this segment of the real estate market because it reflects entry level price and what it take for the average person to put a roof over their head in Bonita.  $300,000 is a lot of money but when you consider that it doesn’t buy much and is actually a fixer upper it’s startling for buyers coming from out side of the area.  For home sellers it should compel them to realize the importance of absorption rates and what the true worth of their property may be to the right buyer.

So what’s next for SWFL real estate?  For those of you who are waiting to buy a condo or home in Bonita Springs/Estero I am going to share that since I moved here in the mid 1980’s the real estate market always had an off-season … until last year.  We aren’t getting an off-season this year, either. Bonita Springs and Estero inventory is more like weeks instead of months.   Consider that six months is a balanced market. Don’t hold your breath, folks. We are gobs of inventory away from just being balanced, let alone prices ever going down.  I do, however, predict a surplus of RV’s and possibly boats hitting the market.  Marine fuel is at $6.60 per gallon and RV’s are from $4.50 depending upon the type of fuel.

The most current home buyer and home seller tips are shared in scheduled appointment these days. If we can help you learn more about organizing your next purchase or sale you can schedule a private meeting here.

Here are the latest stats and graphs for home sales in Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida:Bonita Springs market report

Posted in Market Reports
Feb. 17, 2022

Bonita Springs Florida Real Estate Feb 2022 Update

Bonita Springs Real Estate Update

 🡩🡩🡩 The February 2022 Update CLICK PHOTO ABOVE  🡩🡩🡩

Feb 2022 Bonita Springs Estero Real Estate Market Update - It’s official. We have never seen so many people in Southwest Florida. Hotels are at capacity; homes are rented to capacity. A brief tour of local Airbnb’s show people renting RV/Campers and even “Glamping” tents in back yards. Seriously. RSW airport has hit records week after week of traveling here. I tried to have lunch this week with a potential client in our usual spot where we can get in and out in 30-45 minutes.  Two hours for lunch! It’s like spring break! America is moving to Florida! I’d thought I’d share a graph share by one of our local mortgage brokers. It demonstrates the disparity between homes available vs the population. Graph image below:

In addition, the video above will demonstrate a few of our “hyper local” statistics. I can tell you from many of the calculations that we prepare for our buyers before placing offers and for our sellers before listing their homes that we have less than 1 month of inventory available in many neighborhoods and it’s been a while since I have done a calculation with more than 2 months of inventory. Consider that 6 months is a balanced market and understand the fierce competition for homes. If you’d really like to read more about housing stats:  2022 National Housing Forecast
To that end we have a variety of portfolio properties and coming soon listings. We have an institutional offering of 12 condo units in a package. If you’re looking to satisfy a large 1031 exchange in the $3M range.  Some of these units may be available individually around $275K each.  We have to work out details regarding the liquidation process that will benefit the seller. We have a 1-bedroom canal home in Old Bonita in the high $300’s. There are about 20 opportunities in process. If we know what you’re looking for you may be able to lock something in from our list. Learn: What is a Portfolio Property

If you're planning a visit in the next several weeks sign up for a fifteen minute phone or zoom conference. During that call we provide valuable community and market information to hone your search efforts. We promise you'll be able to make better use of your time while you're in the Bonita Springs/Estero area. Schedule your appointment HERE.
Take a look below to see a few pre-built searches that may be of interest:


The "buyer tips in a seller's market' video is here: Buyer Tips Video Also, don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel as we are always adding new, relevant as-it-happens content to help our buyers and sellers.

Posted in Market Reports