Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate

 

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
Jan. 12, 2020

My Former Neighbors in Bonita Springs - The Olds - Episode 1

 

The Dress That Saved Bonita SpringsThings your 'parents say' is trending on twitter. It is hilarious to read what regular people have to say about their parents 'who try to be current' but mess things up.  One of my favorites is something 'The Olds' do when they message me.  For those who don't know 'The Olds' are neighbors I had a few homes ago.  The Olds is a term of endearment before anyone gets bunchy panties.  They aren't really family members but they've sort of become my parents by proxy.  My own parents have been gone for quite some time.  My father at an early age, my mother about seven years ago.

So the long story short with 'The Olds' is that they were my condo commandos.  They were always ticked off at something we were doing. Trust me, we didn't blend in and every Wednesday there was a three ring circus we called family dinner followed by a confluence of bikes, skateboards, baseball, Frisbee and dogs (all at once) running around and colliding in the street in front of their house.  It was a free-for-all in the street.  As a matter of fact, one time my son brought over an airboat and talked his sister into standing behind it, then he fired up the engine and blew her down the street.  I don't know why any of this would be upsetting. lol They just weren't having our rowdy family but I wasn't letting these kids get sugared up on dessert and doing this indoors.

At one point my daughter was going to get married and, at one point, in an effort to turn her one year old niece into a cooperative flower girl we put the dress on her every Wednesday night and would take a piece of cake to 'The Olds'. We'd show up at the door with the most precious child with her face hot read, tears rolling down her cheeks and booger bubbles.  We don't know why she fought this dress so hard but we did it for months and months until it quit being a thing.

ANYWHO ... the 'parents say' trend on twitter, one of which, is LOL which is supposed to mean laugh out loud but some parents don't understand that and think it means lots of love. I know a few people who think that including The Olds who will text me the most tragic things about their medical reports and then follow up with LOL.  We just found out that we need three operations and the recovery will be lengthy and painful.  We will probably die  lol.  Yes, an exaggeration but I get messages that should probably be sad but I end up giggling because they have no idea and I think it's the cutest thing in the face of the tragic tale it follows.

Which reminds me of something else. I have more stories about The Olds ... for another day.

Jan. 1, 2020

Bonita Springs Home Buying & Vacation Itinerary 1 of 12

Bonita Springs Home Search Vacation

Bonita Springs Home Buying & Vacation Itinerary 1 of 12

If you’re going to be visiting Bonita Springs to begin your serious search for a Bonita Springs condo or Bonita Springs home.   Enjoy a few recommendations for finding the best accommodations, dining and activities while you’re visiting. Through this year we will have a monthly post with a ‘weekend itinerary’ for anyone looking for fun things to do while searching for their next home or condo.  Enjoy!

Accommodations in Bonita Springs, Florida

One of our favorite recommendations for and easy breezy stay at a local hotel is The Trianon hotel in Bonita Springs. It’s located at the Promenade at Bonita Bay.  The hotel is walking distance to a hand full of restaurants at The Promenade and even an Italian deli.  Publix is across the street, as well.  Whether you venture out for dining or decide to eat within a walking distance there is plenty to do in a quarter-mile radius of the Trianon.

First day in Bonita Springs

A great breakfast recommendation would be Teri’s Diner which is located at the corner of Bonita Beach Road and Livingston Road. It’s where the locals eat and the food is superb. 

If you shop for real estate between 10 and 2 you can grab a fun lunch at Doug’s Seafood.  It’s another locals favorite and the best lobster roll in town.

Bonita Springs Art ShowHit up the Bonita Beach or one of the local art festivals. January in Bonita Springs and most of Southwest Florida are stacked up with festivals so there is almost always an art show somewhere.  The festival season run about Easter, something to keep in mind if you’re planning a trip.

We recommend dinner at the Edgewater Beach Hotel where you can either dine indoors or outdoors.The hotel has a great restaurant with a postcard perfect view right on the Gulf of Mexico.  You can even start with cocktails by the pool.

Second day in Bonita Springs

Enjoy the hotel continental breakfast as a time saver and grab a coffee to go. Hit the beach super early using one of the free beach access parking spots on Hickory Blvd.  You can learn more, here:  Free Bonita Beach Access  You stand a better chance of finding a spot super early in the morning plus the water is super calm and peaceful early in the morning.

Buffalo Chips Bonita SpringsSince it’s your second day you can grab a few hours searching for homes and condos in the area or you can take second looks at the homes you saw for sale the previous day.   We typically have your ideal properties narrowed so you should have a pretty clear focus on day two.

Grabbing lunch at one of the local haunts might include outdoor, dockside dining at Big Hickory Marina and Grill.  It’s the epitome of Florida bay front dining with a beautiful view of the bay to the east and Sea Isles condo buildings next door.

If you’re looking for a rowdy place to catch a game and grab a casual dinner consider Buffalo Chips on Old 41.  It’s casual, comfort fare will hit the spot.  The restaurants claim to fame is ‘the hottest wings and the coldest beer’.  There is lots of local color in Buffalo Chips. It’s a staple of the area for as long as I can remember – the 1980’s.

You can enjoy the entire series here and additional weekender itineraries here:  Bonita Springs Real Estate Shopping & Vacation Planning

This post was originally written in January so there are seasonal events and items that may not be available if you visit in the summer months, for example.

Posted in Things To Do
Dec. 25, 2019

Bonita Springs Real Estate Shopping & Vacation Planning

Bonita Springs Home Buying

Bonita Springs Real Estate Shopping & Vacation Planning

Our typical real estate buyer come to Bonita Springs for a vacation or to visit family and then they get bit by the bug and being thinking about purchasing a Bonita Springs home or condo.  Frequently, those who are winter visitors  return home and begin searching for homes for sale on various online  portals, individual real estate agent websites, Zillow and Realtor dot com.  Since they’ve been to Bonita Springs before they often have an idea of what they are looking for in a home to purchase.  Lightening eventually strikes their inbox or their app and the perfect property either shows up or they find an opportunity to take a long weekend in the Bonita Springs or Estero, Florida area.  This happens often in the summer when shopping for a home in Bonita Springs has a little less competition. 

To that end, in 2020 we will be creating a monthly "weekender" itinerary for those who are visiting Bonita Springs to use to infuse a little fun into their home buying experience.  We'll plan the itinerary in two-day bites so that if you're just visiting for a couple of days we'll show you some fun, outside the franchise, ideas of things to do while you're here in Bonita Springs.  Stand by for the January  update!  We’ll link to the monthly posts in the comments below, as the itineraries are built.

You can also scroll through our posts of "things to do" in the area.  We have several hundred existing ideas on the website, already.  Start here:  Things to do in Bonita Springs

- Chris and Angela

Dec. 25, 2019

New Year’s Eve Naples Florida | 365/365 Things to Do

New Years Eve Naples Florida

New Year’s Eve Naples Florida | 365/365 Things to Do

Celebrate New Year's Eve in historic Old Naples with fireworks just off the Naples Pier at 7PM and snowfall on Third Street South at 8PM. Schedule a festive dinner with favorite friends and family at any of the locally owned restaurants and ring in the new year in the birthplace of Naples, known for its glamour and good times.

If you are looking for fun, inexpensive ways to find things to do for New Year’s Even in Bonita Springs or Southwest Florida  consider a trip to the Naples Pier to see the New Year ring in!

Posted in Things To Do
Dec. 24, 2019

Sunshine Ace Green Eggfest | 364/365 Things to Do

Sunshine Ace Eggfest Bonita Springs

Sunshine Ace  Green Eggfest | 364/365 Things to Do

One of our local favorite establishments, Sunshine Ace Hardware store has an annual event that is great for those who enjoy grilling and smoking as a pass time. 

Sunshine Ace Hardware is more than just a friendly neighborhood hardware store. They use this event to fundraise.  Proceeds from the Big Green EGGfest will provide youth leadership development opportunities for children through a partnership with the Farm City BBQ and its affiliated non-profit organizations right here in Southwest Florida. (www.FarmCityBBQ.com)

This annual Green Egg Eggfest takes place at Riverside Park in Downtown Bonita Springs, Florida.  If you’re looking for fun things to do keep in mind that this is a great, family friendly event.

You can keep tabs on future eggfest events on eventbright or on Ace’s page here. Sunshine Ace Hardware

Posted in Things To Do