Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate


March 22, 2020

5 Tips for Selling Bonita Springs Homes During Covid 19 Social Distancing

Market Bonita Springs Homes Covid-19

5 Tips for Selling Bonita Springs Homes During Covid 19 Social Distancing

Let me first say that if your Bonita Springs home is for sale or you are in the process of hiring a Bonita Springs listing agent you must demand, at minimum, these best practices to protect yourself, your family and your home during social distancing due to Covid-19 in Bonita Springs, Florida.

1. Price and re-strategize your marketing of your Bonita Springs home.

2. Shuffle your photos – go pro and hold your agent’s feet to the fire.  Again, every real estate agent should have been using professional photography. This is your chance to go online and look at what your listing agent or future listing agent is doing to market real estate with great photos. If you see cell phone photos or no photos this is not in your best interest!  If you’ve selected a discount broker you need to pay the freight to get those photos.

3. Visual tour, a walk through video and not a photo slide show. Besides giving home buyers the ability to tour your home without exposing your family to any outside elements it can actually make the home rank higher in searches on some of the big syndication real estate websites. More photos, more videos equals more views. End. Of. Story.

4. Supplements in the MLS. Your Bonita Springs agent would be hard pressed to exhaust the space provided to host these valuable additional documents. Here is an example of items that can be provided to hel-p filter buyers entering your home - floor plan, community site plan/plan, memberships golf/beach,  seller;s disclosures, HOA disclosures, property feature/upgrades lists, scanned golf score card, reciprocal memberships list and on and on.

5. Provide a way for home buyers to not bring unwanted germs into the home. Provide booties or ask for shoes to come off but be sure to provide a chair so that the visitors can get their shoes on and off without getting hurt in a fall. Provide Purell at the door and/or post directions to the closest bathroom so they can wash hands upon entry. Keep the lights on and doors unlocked or directions on doors pointing buyers to use only one particular door so you can reduce use and contact on multiple surfaces. Other helpful ideas would be for your listing agent to provide directions in the showing instructions of where to park additional cars as the real estate agents will be driving separately to property viewings.

Watch the video with these tips:

If you are interested in learning the best practices the Griffith Group uses for selling our listings, call or text Chris at 239-273-7430

Posted in Seller Tips
March 2, 2020

6 Tips to Sell Tenant Occupied Homes in Bonita Springs

6 Tips to Sell Tenant Occupied Homes in Bonita Springs

Tenant Occupied Bonita SpringsGetting your tenant on board with your plans to sell your Bonita Springs home and keeping them cooperative through the process of home selling is the name of the game.  It’s a delicate balance of gaining/maintaining trust during the showing and home selling process and it can go smoothly if everyone openly communicates and knows what to expect from the listing agent and the other agents showing the home.  Here are a few tips for home sellers to consider if they find a need to sell their Bonita Springs home with a tenant living in it.

1.  Offer to form a connection with the next potential owner of the home so that the tenant can stay in the home, if the next owner will be renting. Finding a great tenant for your Bonita Springs home is a gift so if you have a great tenant, share the love.

2. Work out a time frame with the tenant so that everyone is on the same page. This allows the tenant, you and the potential home buyers understand that, for example, the tenant will be given the courtesy of thirty days or sixty days to find a new residence should a contract be executed.  The tenants will be more cooperative if they are able to make plans and not have the mystery of the unknown upset them.  While you’re working out times also promise that all showings will have either 24 or 48 hours advanced notice so they will have time to prepare.  This will also help weed out tire kickers.

3. If you do lease or renew a lease, whether it is seasonal or annual, lease with the expectation that you will be selling the home or condo.  You may even renegotiate a lease to a month to month lease so that both the home owner and the buyer have options to depart the agreement on good terms with thirty days notice.

4. Pick a few days/times that are convenient for the tenant to have the home shown.  Work around their schedule.  They may have regular appointments or life events to work around.  Every Tuesday evening they have a date with a personal trainer at the local gym or every Sunday they may be at church followed by breakfast from 9 a.m. to 12:30.  Load up the showings on those specific days when it will cost them the least disruptions.

5. Give the tenant control or the allusion of control by giving them the lockbox to hold.  A great Bonita Springs listing agent can say, Ms. Tenant, I will give you the blue supra lockbox to hold.  I will approve all showings for you and once they are approved you can set the box out of the day of showings.  Most of the time the tenants I have been working with leave the box out on porch because they understand the system and have trust in the listing agent.

6. Pay them for their time and tidying up either by discounting rent or offering a gift card, for example $25 per showing, to incentivize them to not only cooperate but to tidy up a bit for all of the showings.

To learn more about selling your Bonita Springs home call or text Chris at 239-273-7430.

Posted in Seller Tips
Feb. 18, 2020

Bonita Springs Home Seller Tips - Oven Burners

Bonita Springs Home Seller TipsOven Burner Fix for Bonita Springs Home Sellers

We list homes for sale in Bonita Springs; all over Bonita Springs in all prices ranges, too. Not all homes are located in natural gas communities or have the most current model of appliances. One of our newest listings is what would be considered an entry level condo for the neighborhood it’s in. 

The oven has coil burner tops and they were goobered up and in pretty bad condition. Otherwise the oven looked great so one of the things we did, after housekeeping readied the condo for showings, was replace the burner trays.  It’s a $15 fix that makes the oven look worlds better and also makes the kitchen look better.  The home sellers appreciate that the kitchen looks better and the potential buyers don’t get hung up on some of the smaller details that are considered annoyances and can turn into negotiating factors. 

For more seller tips for Bonita Springs home sellers read our list of, Bonita Springs home seller tips.

Posted in Seller Tips
Feb. 12, 2020

Bonita Springs FL Real Estate Update Jan 2020 Stats

Bonita Springs FL Real Estate Update Jan 2020 Stats

Bonita Springs FL Real Estate Update Jan 2020 Stats

We’re humming right along this tourist season.  The Bonita Springs housing market is stable and not showing signs of dramatic changes. It’s a fairly level and predictable market.  The sales rate in units has been consistent in resale homes for sale.  The competition for resale properties under 500K remains new construction that is happening east of 75 on Bonita Beach Road and in the Corkscrew corridor in Estero, Florida.  Like any real estate decision there are pros and cons to both new construction and resale homes.

The 200K-400K price point remains competitive as it remains our ‘entry level’ price for single family homes and condominiums.  The builders realize that is the sweet spot, too, which is why they are pumping out the product.

These graphs are mostly resale homes.  There is a whole shadow inventory of new construction closed sales that aren’t run through our local MLS.  Properties in Seasons at Bonita, Valencia Bonita and Bonita National, for example.  Tons of new product out there!

Thanks for reading!  We’re going to start video real estate market reports regularly. You can see those videos here. Please consider subscribing to our youtube channel. We appreciate the loyalty! Subscribe to Our  Youtube Channel

Posted in Market Reports
Feb. 10, 2020

5 Clutter Busters Before Listing Your Bonita Springs Home

We’ve discussed decluttering and getting rid of all of our extra stuff on this blog before. Today we are going to talk about the reason why it’s so hard to get rid of that stuff. Most of the times it’s because of the memories attached to the items, especially if there has been significant loss in the home seller’s life.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we don’t ask our home sellers to do what we haven’t had to do ourselves before.  We’ve had to sell our homes and either move or downsize. In fact, I’ve become a pro at it working through my most recent five year plan to downsize and become ‘smaller’.

Clutter Busters Listing HomeHere are five ways to start eating the ‘home selling elephant’ to declutter, eliminate and reduce possessions.

1. Remove the real junk from your Bonita Springs home. Purge anything in your home that is disposable.  Be mindful of when you open drawers, cabinets, closets, attics, garages of items that are disposables.  Paper and plastic bags, plastic storage containers and jars, magazines and newspapers, old mail, tax returns that are more than 7 years old.  You’d be surprised to find out how many Bonita Springs home sellers realize they’ve saved decades of tax returns and receipts.  Trust us, as a Bonita Springs listing agent I have a front row seat to those who are overwhelmed when they discover the hoard.

2. Make a one or two year departure commitment to your Bonita Springs home organization. If you have the luxury of time on your side, even a few years out from a move or downsize, commit to eliminating one item in your home per day.  This will force you to become a little introspective and ask yourself questions like, ‘when was the last time I used this’ and ‘do I really need 3 wine bottle openers’.  Now your thinking about all of the duplicates you may have just in case. 

3. Face facts, you’ve in Bonita Springs now and you may not need all of those winter clothes.  Time to sift through them and keep a favorite sweater or boots for the one day the weather is cold enough.  Also, since we’re amongst friends, let’s face facts about your current clothing size.  Some of us our never going to see some of those numbers ever again and it’s time to embrace it and move on with our new bodies. Winking smile 

4. Paper collected around the house is a silent enemy.  Start setting up online accounts and try paperless billing. It is a time saver, a paper saver and it keeps you from making those little piles of mail and bills around your house.  As a Bonita Springs listing agent, paper is one of the biggest clutter items that we have to hide for photos and for showings.

5. Photos, CD/DVD – purge or convert to digital files.  This is a tough one to do but you can get black Friday deals on Legacy Box reduce the paper and hard copies to either discs or flash drives.

For some people it is necessary to call an organizer, a coach to help you learn how to ready your home for sale.  There are also organizations like Caring Transitions that help home sellers in Bonita Springs transition to a smaller residence and select and weed through possessions that will or will not make the move. 

It’s always to start sooner rather than later.  A little home work up from will help you list your home to sell it quickly and for more profit, too.  To learn more, read also: Increase The Profit From Your Bonita Springs Home Sale

Posted in Seller Tips
Feb. 7, 2020

16 Reasons to Relocate to Bonita Springs Florida

Moving to Bonita SpringsMoving to Bonita Springs may be a new idea for you but the secret has been out for a while.  We will share with you all of the tips and tricks we’ve learned from living in Bonita Springs since the mid 1980’s and from helping hundreds of people not only relocate to Bonita Springs, Florida but we help them find the perfect agent ‘up north’ to sell their home, too.

Here are some great things to know about Bonita Springs, Florida before you move:

1. The People - It’s a great small town city and people are friendly.  People start looking familiar quickly and it doesn’t take long to make friends.  In fact, we have a guide for making friends after you relocate to Bonita Springs.  Read also, How to Make Friends in Bonita Springs

2. The Climate – Mother nature dishes up sunshine almost daily.  Our weather during the winter is the big draw.  People arrive from all over the world to both vacation and winter-over.  It’s one of the reasons we’ve been recognized as one of the best places to retire. Retire in Bonita Springs

Relocate to Bonita Springs3. The Nature – Bonita Springs is the ‘Gateway to the Gulf’.  We have many tributaries and rivers running through Bonita Springs that lead to the Gulf of Mexico.  Naturalists and outdoorsmen from all over the country come here to boat, paddle, fish, hike and birdwatch.

4. Accessibility – We have a great international airport RSW that is only about twenty to thirty minutes from Bonita Springs.  Many people find ease flying in and out while doing their homework and preparation in relocating to Bonita Springs.

5. Bonita Beach – We have miles of white sand beaches to walk. Plus, a variety of inland gated communities such as Bonita Bay, Pelican Landing, The Brook and West Bay Club purchased space on the beach for the residents to have access to the Gulf of Mexico.  That means you don’t have to spend millions to be able to ‘own a piece of the beach’. We have a tips for parking, too: Bonita Beach Parking Tips & Tricks Bonita Springs, Florida

6. The Storm Bubble – We just get fewer hurricanes on this nook of the coast than in other places.  It’s a historical fact.  Sure we have had hurricane come near and even through the area but far few than other places. Read also: 100 Years of Storm Tracking

7. Infrastructure – We are a new area.  When I moved here the population was only a couple thousand. Nearly every highway and utility is new.  We have great streets, biking and walking sidewalks, streetlights, water and sewer infrastructure. 

Bonita Springs relocation8. Housing – Because we are so new of an area both Bonita Springs and Estero have tons of new housing.  New housing means the newest building codes and homes and condos that need fewer updates and remodels than in historic cities.

9. Medical – Because we are so new the medical campuses are going up everywhere.  Right at the Bonita Springs/Estero line there are all sorts of medical parks, clinics and hospitals that are brand new. In addition the NCH Health System and Lee Memorial Health Systems are only minutes away in Naples and Fort Myers.

10. Parks – We had tons of great county and city planners who had the forethought to save land.  Bonita Springs is peppered with parks and recreation area plus the Lee County 2020 conservation project has preserved land all over the county for hiking, biking, horseback riding and more.

11. Golf – Not many people know this but Bonita Springs used to be the tomato capital of the world. Now it’s the golf course capital of the world and you’d be hard pressed to find a ripe tomato around here.  If you are a golfer, Bonita Springs is your next stop.

12. Tennis & Pickleball – Nearly every community has tennis courts and have been installing pickleball courts like gangbusters.  One of the fastest growing sports is pickleball.  Those who are relocating to Bonita Springs are always looking for leagues to play.

Relocating with Kids Bonita Springs13. Tax Benefits – It’s no secret that our taxes are favorable.  Our property taxes are low plus we have no state income tax.  Read also: Bonita Springs Florida Tax Haven High Net Worth Residents

14. New Schools and Colleges – This massive growth has also produced the need for schools of all types from primary through college. Most notably our area has ease of access to FGCU in Fort Myers and Bonita Springs has the newest high school in Lee County Florida. The state of the art Bonita Springs High School is located on Imperial Parkway.

15. We Are Low – We don’t have a lot of high rises, even on our beaches. We aren’t a vertical city so the density per square mile is much lower than the east coast cities of Florida that are basically concrete jungles. This also means that we don’t have a lot of building breaking up our sky line.

16. Outdoor Pet Friendly Dining – If your  best friend has fur, know that our climate and our restaurants are perfect for outside dining.  Many of our restaurants allow pets outside on the patio. From coffee shops to mall restaurants man’s best friend is like just around the corner!

Posted in Buyer Tips
Feb. 6, 2020

Increase The Profit From Your Bonita Springs Home Sale

Selling Your Bonita Springs Home Stage

Six Low Cost Pre-Listing Preps for Home Sellers

Increase the profit? Sometimes increasing the value of your home isn’t about increasing the actual list price dramatically but increasing the buyer’s perception of the value of your Bonita Springs home.  With the help of great Bonita Springs listing agent you can tweak your home or condo to get the most bang for your buck, receive more offers if the market will bear it and receive offers closer to your list price – sometimes even above list price.

The fact of the matter is a home is going to appraise for what it is going to appraise for whether it’s located in Bonita Springs, Florida or any city.  Let’s take, for example, a home valued at $400,000.  If you could realize 98-100% of list price as a sale price by investing a little time and a few hundred dollars, why wouldn’t you? Here are six low cost, easy items that can reduce the gap between your list price and offer price.

1. Pricing and inventory. Know the importance of pricing on search brackets. Nearly everyone has a smart phone or a tablet and they’re searching for homes online,  especially if they’re on vacation in Bonita Springs.  If a home is valued at $400,000 and you price it at $405,000 you’re missing a significant price bracket of $375,000-$400,000 instead of parking right on $400,000 and straddling two brackets. More exposure. More notifications to Bonita Springs home buyers who already have searches set up and are just waiting for a new listing notification. You should also know what your inventory rate is. If your real estate agent can’t calculate that number, it’s an issue. The speed and success rate of selling your Bonita Springs home will vary wildly if there is a two year supply of homes or if there is a two month supply of homes.

2. Fix everything you can easily. Make a list or better yet get a pre-inspection and get a handy man to fix the items that come up.  Your listing agent will have trustworthy dependable help who can economically perform these repairs and adjustments.

3. Eliminate polarizing issues such as odors, drastic paint colors, a carpet with a wrinkle or granny window valences.  Don’t let a pepto-pink room become the point of contention when it can be eliminated for a couple hundred bucks. The same goes with a carpet wrinkle.  Even the oldest of carpet gets a facelift when the wrinkle gets pulled out. The last carpet stretch we had done was in a home in Bonita Golf and Country Club.  The home was beautiful and priced right but it looked like it needed new carpet. It was nearly as good as new with a $150 fix!  Home buyers turn mole hills into mountains when they start guestimating repairs.  After the carpet was touched up, the home buyers never even brought up the carpet and the home sellers were thrilled with their offer price that didn’t include a request to replace carpet after closing. $150 for a fix or a couple grand credit for new carpet, you be the judge.

4. Throw in a one year home warranty. It takes me about 4 seconds to pop off a text message to Donna at Home-Tech to find out how much a warranty is for a particular property.  Maybe an A/C isn’t brand new but is working well and has seen regular maintenance. Alleviate a buyers worries with a $400 warranty and give them a year of peace of mind with coverage of appliances and major components.

5.  Fluff up the front of the home and the front door.  Make it pleasant to get to the home and to get into the home.  Curb appeal sounds corny to some people but home buyers really appreciate curb appeal.  Dust the beds with fresh mulch or put in fresh plants.  Oil or adjust the front door.  If you’re selling your Bonita Springs home and your deadbolt is installed upside down … even after living with it for all of these years, fix it.  WD the lock and hinges.  Make it easy to get in, without the hip bump.

6. Stage your home for showing success, from the photos through showings.  We offer our home sellers complimentary staging and readying service with our listing program.  It makes all the difference in the world to present well in the photos and get more buyers over the threshold and to make them stay longer when they tour.  We have to make enough space for them to imagine their possessions in your home. You don’t have to have the newest, most modern decor.   We can help you create a neutral space that give buyers pause for thought.

Give Chris a call if you’d like to learn more about listing your Bonita Springs home and how to easily and inexpensively get prepped for sale. 239-273-7430 is text friendly, too!

Posted in Seller Tips
Feb. 2, 2020

Bonita Springs Realtor’s Insights of HGTV Beach Episodes

Bonita Beach Home Buyer

The Dirty Dozen of Real Estate Insights from Watching HGTV

​So I recently spent the day in bed with a fever. Those tourist cooties got the best of  me despite having had both the flu shot and the RSV shot.  We have a newborn preemie in the family so both Jerry and I got the shots. 

So, armed and immunized I totally caught something else and was down for the count. Plus I am only able to take a few, almost unhelpful, medications.  [Helpful hint: Do not Google symptoms of Corona Virus when you are running a fever. It’s not helpful at all.]  Anyway, for the first time in my life I watched a ridiculous amount of HGTV. It was the beach episodes series so I decided to see how buyers around the world and their real estate agents behaved.

Here are a few gems that I gleaned from my HGTV experience.

1. If an agent takes you to see a house that's listed for 1.3 and your ceiling budget is 1 million and that agent says well everything's negotiable the odds of you negotiating away $300000 is pretty slim and it's stupid.  I mean, really, people.

2.  Too many real estate agents don't know the difference between granite and Silestone.

3.  I know people and I'm pretty sure if there was a follow up with some of these home buyers I could guess how many years they were going to make it before they were divorced. Nothing to celebrate, of course. But, like I said, I know people.  Whoo, some of these people are not happy.

4.  Happy wife, happy life.  Husband and wife can debate a home and the husband cannot like the home but if the wife decides that's the best home for the kids they are getting that home.  It happens in Bonita Springs, Florida and it happens all over the world, apparently.

5. At the risk of sounding like an 'OK Boomer' I do not understand how these kids can be in their twenties afford multi-million dollar properties.  None of this makes sense and there are sparks popping off my brain.

6.  I just saw a huge, old school, rear projection big screen TV. Yikes!   Y'all need to write into the contract that it gets carried out of the home prior to closing.  Those big tv’s and armoires are the kiss of death.  I had a listing in Spanish Wells and we had to eventually call a junk person to chop up an armoire and haul it away.

7.  Is it possible that any of the participants of these shows watch themselves after the fact and don't think, wow, I seemed whiny and spoiled plus maybe that they should have smiled a little? 

8.  ... and the buyers just opened up their tablet and found a house that fits absolutely none of their search criteria, pulled over and asked the agent if they could go inside.

9.  They cut out the part where you just know the agent, no different than on Bonita Beach or Barefoot Beach, tells them it's illegal the have living space on the ground floor of this stilt home, but that everyone does it anyway.  Which is true.  We lived in the shores about 25 years ago. What a game room we had at that house!

10.   That one house is wood frame with multiple gables on the roof. The insurance costs are going to be crazy cakes. Those buyers need to run that and the elevation certificate by the insurance agent before they write an offer.  Trust me.

11.   Now I'm watching a first time home buyer who wants move in ready, totally modern, nothing to fix, as a first home. Kids these days just don't have the patience to work themselves into a quality residence by starting off conservatively or patiently waiting for a great opportunity. We are 'right now' society!

Ha!  The commentator just interjected 'we can find something with sweat equity you also have to be willing to sweat'.

12.  You all know this is just acting after the fact.  They’ve already shown, offered and usually closed on the home before they go back and have the ‘reality tv' moment.

Jan. 30, 2020

Bonita Springs Homes Seller Pre-Inspection Tips

Ready Your Bonita Springs Home for Buyer & Inspectors

Thinking of listing your Bonita Springs home for sale? You're probably going to get it ready to sell and fix up a few things. When is the last time you visually inspected:

  • Bonita Springs HomesWindow frames and ledges
  • Pocket doors
  • The a/c unit
  • The wall grate/vent in the a/c closet
  • The a/c filter
  • All a/c vents in each room
  • The refrigerator door magnet strip

These are the secret hiding places for mildew and mold like substances that raise red flags. When you’re reading your home for sale be sure to look in all the nooks and crannies when cleaning  and staging your Bonita Springs home.

Posted in Seller Tips
Jan. 15, 2020

Bonita Springs FL Real Estate Update Dec 2019 Stats

Bonita Springs Home Sales Dec 2019

Bonita Springs FL Real Estate Update Dec 2019 Stats

This is the last update of sales in 2019. December usually wraps up with closings high in foreclosures.  High, being relative to the market. We have few foreclosures in the market but the banks that do have them try to get them off the market by the year’s end. 

Bonita Springs and Estero Florida real estate sales closed at a consistent level.  That dip in sales in 2017 & 2018 is due to an active storm season.  Remember our old friend Irma?  We didn’t have power for a few weeks plus all pending sales usually have to be re-inspected after a storm causing closing delays.

We’re still fairly cash heavy but there is a healthy portion of conventional loans processed.  Remember, conventional doesn’t necessarily mean that the borrower comes up with 20% down. There are a variety of loan programs available that offer far less as a down payment.  We have great resources for mortgage brokers so if you’d like a referral to a local lender just send us a message.

Last, don’t forget that January through Easter is our busy season.  Homes and condos priced well, in good condition are a commodity.  Especially under $500,000.  You might not be the only interested buyer so when you’re ready to buy, be ready!  Also, it takes a little more work to get into occupied properties because owners and even tenants are in town so give several days notice so we can get you on the calendar and we have enough time to obtain showing approval from the occupants.

It’s a beautiful time of the year. If you’re in town and need recommendations for fun things to do be sure to click our tab of Fun Things to Do in SWFL.

Posted in Market Reports