Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate

 

Nov. 9, 2021

The Housing Plight of the Bonita Springs Estero Workforce

The Housing Plight of the SWFL Workforce – The State of Bonita Springs/Estero Florida Real Estate

Southwest Florida has not felt such a hard pinch in local housing since the early 2000’s. Entry level buyers and 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, some of which were not predictable or even unimaginable. The end result is massive demographic changes and explosive population growth felt throughout southwest Florida. Here are some points to ponder:

Homes Built in the US by DecadeBoth Lee and Collier Counties were already feeling the pressure of the retiring Baby Boomer migration for years. Many 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 the millennials beginning to settle into careers, marriages and growing families. 

In spring of 2020 the most unexpected catalyst for growth were the northern covid refugees who decided that if they had to work from home, they would pick a home in a more amiable environment with a better climate. Simply put, Florida was open for business, America was watching and decided to relocate to more favorable quality of life and economic conditions.

The home builders, in a reflex to the housing crisis after “the boom”, built fewer homes in the decade between 2009-2019. Housing starts fell short by about 20 million front doors. Typically, 25 million +/- homes are built during a decade of measure. 

As northern residents moved into their second homes it often removed a rental from the market. It wasn’t long before Southwest Florida had a rental inventory crisis brewing.

Those who couldn’t find rentals began purchasing “affordable” housing when they couldn’t find a rental and helped put entry level pricing up.

The American dream of home ownership is quite a challenge for anyone who would like to live in the area but particularly the local work force such as teachers and first responders. Those of us in the real estate industry have steadily watched entry level prices advance upward and the trend is expected to continue. 

At the time of this article there were only six properties for sale in Bonita Springs priced under $200,000. Some of them are not habitable or questionably habitable and do not even qualify for financing. Of the properties that may potential qualify for financing there are hidden pitfalls that most inexperienced buyers and many real estate agents won’t realize until they are well under contract.  

The more affordable properties are generally older and require costly flood insurance due to their elevation.

The properties may have cast plumbing, cloth wiring or need a roof which often disqualifies them from insurance. No insurance = no mortgage.

Government backed FHA and VA mortgages, which allow for less money down, do not often work for a myriad of underwriting reasons.

These properties are often in flood prone areas that may flood again.

If the property is a condo there are maintenance fees of $300 or more dollars per month which put borrowers over the debt-to-income ratio.

Property taxes will be reassessed and recaptured at a premium rate putting borrowers over the debt-to-income ratio.

Inflation is going make the consumer dollar stretch even less and further widen the affordability gap for homeowners.

This information is provided as part of an awareness campaign about housing scarcity and the rising prices of real estate in Bonita Springs, Florida. Business owners and community leaders in Southwest Florida may not realize the magnitude of the current housing shortage and how it has impacted the affordability for the work force, first responders, teachers and first-time home buyers. 

The current absorption rate for Bonita Springs homes/condos priced under $400,000 is 1.3 months. Six months is considered balanced. This “seller’s market” is extreme and we are only entering our winter season that ushers in a new wave of buyers. Relief for the average home buyer, especially a financing buyer, is not a projected at this time.

This special column was written by Chris Griffith to present to local leaders at the city, chambers of commerce and economic development council. It was also mailed to past and present clients of The Griffith Group. If you did not receive yours you can update your mailing address by sending it to lifeinbonitasprings@gmail.com

 

Oct. 20, 2021

Bonita Springs Bundled Golf Price Comparison

Bonita Springs Bundled Golf

Comparing Bonita Springs Bundled Golf  Costs 2021

Recently, I had a buyer who had questions about annual bundled golf fees and the cost of the community one time transfer fees so I did a general search of 2bed condos to best compare apples to apples within bundled communities.  The bundled golf fees below are based on the fiscal 2021 year!

So, in comparing Bonita Springs Bundled Golf  Costs 2021, I also collected the transfer fees or capital contribution fee. If you own a two bedroom condo in a bundled golf community located in Bonita Springs, Florida these are pretty close to what it would cost you annually plus the transfer fee or capital contribution. This is for comparison purposes only. All fees are subject to verification.

Bonita National $11,075 with a $3,250 transfer fee

Copperleaf $15,369 with a $3,000 transfer fee

Highland Woods $11,918 with a $5,100 transfer fee

Hunters Ridge  $15,374 with a $1,900 transfer fee

Pelican Sound $13,710 with a $7,850 transfer fee

Spring Run $11,472 with a $2,500 transfer fee

Vasari $14,174 with a $3,764 transfer fee

Worthington $12,740 with a $5,113 transfer fee

These fees will change the first of every year so the bundled golf fees for 2022 will be different. Message us, your bundled golf Realtor, for an updated list.

March 21, 2021

Purchasing a Bonita Springs Home to Rent Seasonally

Purchasing a Bonita Springs Home to Rent Seasonally

Bonita Springs AirbnbSo you want to AirBnB’it with a home in Bonita Springs, Florida? Here are a few things to consider that may interfere with your  plans for your Bonita Springs real estate empire. Locally there are a few rules regarding rentals in SWFL so before you get throw a plan into motion consider this:

There are rental restrictions by HOA in most circumstances. 30 Day minimum leases are the most common but some are longer.

Tenants usually have to fill out an application to join the HOA and that requires a 30 day lead time and anywhere from $50 to $150 plus back ground checks.

Many HOA’s do not allow tenants to have pets.  Worth mentioning because it can scuttle a rental when the tenants have pets.

Our peak rent prices are only during the winter months. Many homes do not rent year round for premium rent.

Most properties will not cash flow so do not assume you can earn enough rent to cover the expenses.

Taxes are charged and due by the seller on short term rentals. Failure to do so can cause stiff fines.

If your Bonita Springs home is homestead exempt you can not rent it or be subject to huge fines. 

If your dream is to own and manage short term rentals and “AirBnB it” in Bonita Springs you would have to purchase outside of a gated community without rules/regulations which means outside of a homeowner association.  Also, just because there aren’t gates doesn’t mean that there isn’t an HOA.  Sometimes there is a mild HOA in what appears to be a non-gated area. Be sure to be up front with your buyers agent about your plans after you purchase your Bonita Springs home.

If we can help you buy or sell real estate in Bonita Springs call or text 239-273-7430.

March 19, 2021

Bunche Beach Kayak Rental Fort Myers Florida Things to Do

Bunche Beach Kayak Rental Fort Myers Florida Things to Do

Bunche Beach Kayak Rental For MyersWe have enjoyed Bunche Beach, for years. No loud bars in the background, not many spring breakers, just a quiet space between Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, with a more natural beach area. This is a short drive from Bonita Springs or Estero Florida and very doable for a half day or a full day adventure.

Several years ago, the county built a structure at Bunche Beach for bathrooms and a parking area with kayak launches. We have seen the Kayak Excursions people and even talked to them, but never jumped at the chance. My daughter has begged me to go kayaking for a couple of years, so I thought, "Why not check them out?"

Today, I decided was the day. We drove to Bunche Beach and parked (I was so excited, I forgot to pay my parking fee.) and headed over to the launch area. Three hours of kayak rental for less than $60! They gave us map and directions...oohhh directions? I thought we kayaked to the left and out to the beach...but there is so much more!

The route they suggested took us through an extended mangrove tunnel, so peaceful and calming. Exiting the tunnel, you can steer left and see manatees, steering right takes you past some beautiful homes and the southern end of Bunche Beach, which we have never been to. After 20 years visiting this beach and we didn't know there was more.

Sand bars and shallow waters allow for littles to safely search for hermit crabs and conch, wading in the water, and serene surroundings for this momma bear.

It takes about 20 minutes to leisurely paddle out to the beach, then today, we had the wind to our backs for the return trip.

This kayak adventure is definitely worth the time and and the price is right!

PS: the gentlemen at the Bunche Beach Kayak rental prefer you have reservations, although we did not.

Written by Tess Brennan and CLB, special to Life In Bonita Springs.

Posted in Things To Do
March 3, 2021

Why There's No Real Estate Inventory For Sale Bonita Springs Florida? Sellers market in SWFL

No Homes to Sell Bonita Springs Seller Market

The Bonita Springs Sellers Market - Tips for Home Sellers

Even before the pandemic, there were more people who wanted to buy a home in Bonita Springs than there were sellers. 8,000 Americans turn 65 every. dang. day.

You can watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/ebwd9B1mmG8

Main things have driven the shortage of homes for sale in Bonita Springs:

  • The economy -a record long expansion and low unemployment, pre-COVID-19
  • Home owners caught in the last big short have licked their wounds and are ready to try home ownership again.
  • historically low interest rates that give people more buying power – could purchase more expensive homes because their interest portion of their home loan was so much smaller.
  • Two new sizable new generations of home shoppers entering the real estate market. Millennials as first time and boomers planning their future are both purchasing homes.
  • There was a sharp drop in new home construction over the past decade which was reignited – Think DR Horton and Lennar Homes.

· 30 day lock down – Shortly thereafter Florida was open for business – Covid escapees from NY NJ IL CT Etc.

  • Retirement – Many Bonita Springs home owners moved into their second home removing surplus home rentals from the real estate market.
  • More buyers than sellers. Now home seller are trapped in their homes because they have no where to go if they did sell their home or condo.
Posted in Seller Tips
March 2, 2021

Bonita Springs Florida Snow Birds Become Sun Birds

Bonita Springs Snow Birds Become Sun Birds

A significant lifestyle shift has occurred in American culture and Bonita Springs has felt the evolution of the boomer population.  Our Bonita Springs ‘snow bird’ population has shifted from snowbirds to sunbirds.  So what is a sunbird?  Sunbirds are seasonal residents who were former snowbirds but have actually flipped their migration pattern. They have relocated to Bonita Springs from all over the country and officially declaring residency - purchasing a primary residence rather than a second home or seasonal rental.

Bonita Springs Sun BirdDomiciling in Florida has existed as a means of reducing tax liabilities for decades, and the infamous 183 days or six months and a day, is a necessary legality for that to occur. 

Read also: Bonita Springs Florida Tax Haven High Net Worth Residents

Yet the more recent explosion of sunbirds is driven by lifestyle choice, with the desire to enjoy all the benefits of living in the Bonita Springs climate most of the year. They only venturing up north during the heat of summer. This movement has been amplified by COVID due to Florida remaining open while many northern states have severely restricted residence, forcing businesses to remain closed and schools to teach remotely.  It made Bonita Springs, Florida the easy choice for an enjoyable lifestyle.

The sunbird’s residence up north often remains a cottage on a lake, their motor coach or an apartment/basement room or cottage in or on premise of a family members home. In different times, the ability to travel abroad for one or two months or embark on an extended cruise were popular options but  in today’s COVID environment travel has been curtailed. 

This change in lifestyle and declaring residency in Bonita Springs has also contributed to the extremely low inventory of homes for sale in Bonita Springs in spring of 2021 through summer 2021.

Read also: Bonita Springs Residency, Domicile, Declaration Domicile

Posted in Around Town
Feb. 26, 2021

Surviving SWFL Allergy Season Bonita Springs Allergy Remedy Neilmed

Neti Pot bonita Springs allergiesPart Two of five "must haves" if you live in Bonita Springs, Florida or SWFL.  It’s allergy season in Bonita Springs.  What is causing the itchy eyes, sneezing and runny noses?  Well, in February it’s slash pines and the oak trees.  Spring is in February here.  Surviving SWFL Allergy Season is tough but there are some healthy remedies.

Whether it's Oak Trees and Slash Pines in February or Rag Week and Melaleuca Trees that chronically pollinate, a medication free treatment for allergies and hay fever is sinus flushing with a neti pot. I am not going to show you how to use one but it's really not that hard to do. It's a great, natural way to help reduce symptoms of allergies. It's part of my daily routine and it has helped with sneezing and headaches due to pollen/dust/histamines dramatically.

I've tried a few brands and have liked the Neilmed Neti Pot the best because of the lid and it is plastic so if/when you drop it, it doesn't break. You can also order replacement saline packets on Amazon. I found it challenging to just find the packets so I order them online to avoid the stores. Here's a link to the video about the neti pot and the link to it is in the comments of the video here: https://youtu.be/swgvlgXV_pk

We’ve started a for the home channel on YouTube so you can see other helpful healthy and beauty aids that are beneficial for SWFL home owners and visitors.

Posted in For The Home
Feb. 17, 2021

Bonita Springs Florida Home Owner Essentials 1 of 5

Bonita Springs For The Home Zyliss

Bonita Springs Florida Home Owner Essentials 1 of 5

Part one of five "must haves" if you live in Bonita Springs, Florida or SWFL. First, you should have a manual can opener (think no electricity during hurricane season) and second, you should have a GOOD can opener that makes it easy to open the cans. I'm in the 'over 50 crowd' and I was having trouble opening cans with the cheapie can openers that are readily available for sale. They don't last and they rust and break easily. Every home in Bonita Springs should be outfitted with this can opener. It's easy peasy lemon squeezie! I even bought one for The Sprite who at the age of 92 could use an easier can opener for her ‘chicken and stars’ soup. 

You can see the video of the Zyliss can opener in process here:

https://youtu.be/e2iR0hrTpOg and a link if you’d like to pick one up for your house or your hurricane kit.  Speaking of hurricanes, read also:

https://www.lifeinbonitasprings.com/blog/post-hurricane-irma-wish-list-bonita-springs-florida/  this is a list of items that many Bonita Springs residents wished they had at home after Hurricane Irma hit.  Many of us stayed for the storm and learned some practical lessons that you can benefit from. Including get a manual can opener if you’re going to depend upon canned goods. ;-)

Posted in For The Home
Feb. 7, 2021

Bonita Springs Garage Door Opener Remote Reprogram

Bonita Springs Garage Door Opener Remote

This is an easy-peasy fix to install functioning garage door remote control clickers (transmitter) before you sell your home. As a Bonita Springs listing agent we try to locate the remotes but sometimes they do have to be replaced. It is an easier fix than you think and quite economical.

Bonita Springs Garage Door RemoteBesides owning a home in Bonita Springs, you'll need:

1 make/model number of the motor.

2 color of the program button on the back of the motor.

It's best to take photos. Then search for the correct remote on Amazon. You can also search for a video tutorial of that very specific garage door motor for detailed installation instructions. I promise that it's easy. To program simply click the color button on the motor, then click the garage door opener. When the light flashes it is programmed. It's really that easy!

Amazon can have a garage door opener/remote/transmitter to you in 24-48 hours. Easy, right? Here's a link to the openers I used (two for $14.95) but remember to always double check that the button color on the motor of your opener corresponds to the transmitter you're ordering.  https://amzn.to/3aCWaas

You can watch the video of me explaining the process on our YouTube channel, here:   https://youtu.be/mWKOWoZf1m4

Please subscribe to stay up to date! Subscribe to YouTube We have a lot of videos about homes in Bonita Springs and tips for home sellers in Bonita Springs.  Let us know if we can help you. Call/Text 239-273-7430

Posted in For The Home
Jan. 14, 2021

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report January 2021

Bonita Springs Real Estaet

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Statistics

Be sure to catch our Bonita Springs real estate market reports on YouTube presented by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Realtor and Bonita Springs listing agent.  The Jan 2021 Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report is located here: Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report Jan 2021. Please subscribe to our channel to be notified of future posts:  Subscribe to YouTube.

You can access all of the market report videos by clicking this link: Bonita Springs Market Reports

Posted in Market Reports