Sunday, December 11, 2011

Florida Real Estate Steals Abound, Ibis Country Club is a Prime Example, Says Realtor Tali Wolder

Real estate in Florida continues to offer exceptional opportunities for great buys. Newer homes, completed at the peak of the market are showing the sharpest declines in price but offer the best value. Almost new homes are 50% of the original purchase price. Experts say, "Time to get off the fence and buy in Florida."

West Palm Beach, FL, December 09, 2011 --( While property prices appeared to have stabilized in most metro areas throughout the US, Florida is still showing price drops. This means exceptional value in short sales, foreclosures and the fate of sellers who paid too much and now just want to get out. In some areas, buyers are picking up luxury country club homes in prime locations for 50% of the original purchase price.

Tali Wolder, of Floridian International Realty, assists buyers purchasing in golf and other exclusive communities. She has one case that perfectly illustrates the current situation. Ibis Country Club is a world class golf community in West Palm Beach Florida. Many homes are newer, built in the past 5 - 8 years. She has an Ibis Country Club listing of a 4 bedroom plus den home with 3.5 bathrooms, decked out with very high end window treatments, most of the designer furniture is included and the home overlooks a private, deeded natural preserve.

The Sellers paid $740,000 in 2006 for this 3,000 sq. ft. Ibis home, brand new from the developer. Now, they are offering it for $419,000. It’s hard to beat for a virtual turnkey property. This deal and many similar ones are being snapped up by eager buyers of second homes and foreigners looking for their place in the sun. The seller is not short selling the home; he's taking a huge loss but wants to preserve his credit and understands that a sale will only be successful at current fair market value.

With a lot of inventory available, deals like this one will be around for a while. Astute buyers shouldn't hesitate too long as the best homes are being snapped up by smart investors who realize that this housing problem has brought about a surge in renters and therefore a shortage of quality rental units.

Florida now equals value in the real estate market. Buyers who have been sitting on the fence would do well to get off now and jump right in. If you don't know the Florida Market well, your best bet is to call a knowledgeable Realtor like Tali Wolder, she will give you a complete overview of the areas and communities and help you decide where to start. Perhaps the desirable Ibis Country Club?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fla.'s Housing Market Bouncing Back

/PRNewswire/ -- Despite national and global headwinds, Florida's real estate market is entering 2012 on an upward trend, according to three leading U.S. economists.
"Our state is in a mini-recovery," said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo at the state association's 2012 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference in Orlando. "Sales are trending up, listing inventories are falling, the supply of lender-related properties has stabilized, and we are seeing multiple offers on homes in some local markets."
Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C., says the U.S. economy will continue to face significant challenges, particularly financial concerns related to the European debt crisis. But he expects the U.S. economic recovery will continue next year, making it easier for Midwesterners, for example, to buy Florida homes.
"Florida's economy is recovering, with tourism and healthcare leading the way," Vitner said. "On a national level, we expect the U.S. will not fall into recession next year, although Europe faces serious problems."
Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said many Florida markets are showing sharp drops in inventories of homes for sale – a sign that demand is picking up and prices are stabilizing. "That's a major change from just a year ago," he said. "Buyers have stepped back into the Florida market."
Noting the state's powerful appeal to international buyers, Yun said he was particularly optimistic about the outlook for South Florida. "Don't be surprised to see a gain in home prices in the Miami and Naples markets in the next 18 months," he said. "From there, the recovery is likely to roll northward to Central Florida and then North Florida."
Tuccillo noted that foreclosed and distressed properties will remain a significant part of the Florida market in 2012, but lenders are feeding these properties into the market at a gradual pace rather than pushing them out all at once.
The event also featured a panel of Florida real estate professionals, who discussed the 2012 outlook for several sectors of the state's real estate market from a practitioner's point of view. Panelists were Clark Toole, president and COO, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Inc. in Florida, discussing residential real estate; Cynthia Shelton, 2009 president of Florida Realtors and a director at Colliers International in Orlando, discussing the commercial market; and Dean Saunders, accredited land consultant and broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, covering the market for land and undeveloped property.
Florida Realtors real estate and economic summit was webcast to 32 local association or satellite sites around Florida. "Turnout was high for our statewide event," said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. "We hope to hold more of these forums on a regular basis – sharing knowledge of market trends is a powerful way for our Realtor members to connect with buyers and sellers."
Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 64 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at
SOURCE Florida Realtors

Out&About in the Cape!: Fests, breasts and bands offer something for everyone

The weekend was abuzz with plenty to do. Festivals and fundraisers rocked the city from North to South Cape.

As about 25,000 of you know, The Holiday Festival of Lights was another soaring success this weekend, complete with Santa, snow and the annual lighting of the tree. The Christmas spirit of giving continued through the evening and into Sunday, as well.

After the Festival of Lights, we headed over to Diamond’s Billiards, not just for a night cap, but to support Bridget Rewis. Those of you who have followed the story on know that Bridget has battled breast cancer. Saturday nights Fundraiser at Diamond’s was a creative way for her to raise money for her reconstruction surgery. Owner, James Oswalt and his fiancée, Mary, were more than happy to help, selling pink cups, offering drink specials and raffles. Representatives for Budweiser, Mike and Brian, were also more the willing to jump in and support the cause. Some of the prizes included weekend getaways, gift certificates, NFL tickets and merchandise. I am still waiting to hear the grand total for the evening. Bridget’s surgery is scheduled for December 12th. She will be rockin’ her new ta-tas by Christmas!

Diamond’s Billiards is always ready to step up to support great causes and find creative ways to give back to our community. Another local watering hole that is notorious for their generosity and community outreach is Leapin’ Lizard. In the past, they have held fundraisers for Veterans, but this Sunday night was all about Dale Brown. Dale, who is well known for his band BlackWater Fla., is said to be “The best country singer in the area. Easily.” That statement was made by Dale's good friend, and fellow vocalist, Robb Brooks of Robb N The Cradle, who helped organize the Pig Roast, Auction and multi band concert. Bands included Hung Jury, Soapy Tuna, Back Lash and Torched, who donated their equipment for all the bands to use. Jacki, lead vocalist of Torched, worked hard throughout the evening tweaking lights and sounds for all other bands. At 10:30, when it was their turn to take the stage, he made it clear that he was happy to do anything to support Dale and his family’s effort to raise money.

The event itself was a lot of fun, the bands were wonderful. I missed the food, however, I am sure it was mouth watering and satisfied the crowd. Attendees, like Sam Huber and James Saunders, were thrilled with their auction hauls and Robb Brooks, along with all the others, showed a great deal of support for Dale, who clearly must be an remarkable guy.

That being said, it would be an absolute injustice to him if I didn’t tell his story.
Dale had a mole on his back for as long as he could remember. Earlier this year it started to change and in his words “get real nasty”. His wife, Kristy, pushed him to go to the doctor. The first one wouldn’t touch it. He sent Dale to a dermatologist, who also wouldn’t touch it. His next stop was to the surgeon. In September, they diagnosed him with Melanoma cancer. Dale then lifted up his shirt to show me the 12 inch scar down his back and then under his arm. They ended up taking what he describes as the “size of a tuna can, only three inches deep” out of his back and removed his lymph nodes.

Dale’s message through the evening, with everything that he is now fighting, is awareness. If a photo of his scar or getting his message out saves one person from this virtually unpublicized form of aggressive cancer, he can feel good about that. Dales told me an astonishing number. One person, every hour, dies from Melanoma. In the time it takes me to resize my photos from the weekend, one person is gone. By the time I finish writing, another. Astonishing.

circle have been affected by Cancer it sickens me. It also strengthens my commitment to use whatever vehicle I can to raise awareness. On February 17th, the resort at Marina Village will host Mardi Bras and Boxers. The krewe is working hard to make this event Cape Coral’s premiere fundraiser for our Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. You can found out more information about Mardi Bras and Boxers on their facebook page.

The photo galleries saw a lot of action this weekend. Take a few minutes to check out the beautiful pictures of The Holiday Festival of Lights and this week’s “Out&About” photo gallery featuring Bridget and Dale’s events.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jaimie Ross: Use Florida housing dollars for housing

Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have the ability to create nearly 9,000 jobs and $900 million in economic impact in Fiscal Year 2012-13, by appropriating the state and local housing trust fund money for housing, rather than sweeping those funds dedicated to housing into general revenue.
The faster Florida’s housing market recovers the faster Florida’s economy recovers. Using housing trust fund dollars to move the foreclosed housing stock and rehabilitate abandoned homes would put workers who are now unemployed or underemployed back to work repairing and refurbishing existing housing stock. Investing in Florida’s existing real estate market will stabilize property values for the entire community; support the businesses that supply construction related materials, and all of Florida’s businesses that rely upon consumers having money to buy goods.

Florida is highly dependent on sales taxes for revenue. When housing funds are used for housing, sales revenues increase. This means that when housing trust fund dollars are used for housing, it reduces the state budget deficit. State and local housing trust fund money can also be used for down payment and closing cost assistance to help potential homeowners access fixed rate mortgages at historically low interest rates. SHIP programs provide homebuyer counseling and ensure that homeowners are using only long-term fixed rate mortgages. The SHIP program has a proven track record of providing homeownership only to those families who are financially ready, willing, and able to benefit from homeownership. The SHIP program has withstood the test of time and compliance monitoring. It can boast flexibility and accountability.

On behalf of the 24 statewide organizations that comprise the Sadowski Coalition, from business and industry groups to low income advocates, I urge Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature to put Florida’s housing dollars into Florida’s housing programs to create jobs, stabilize the real estate market, and help reduce state budget deficits.

Jaimie Ross is facilitator of the Sadowski Coalition, a collection of 24 nonpartisan statewide organizations, ranging from business and industry groups such as AIF and the Florida Chamber of Commerce to special needs and low income advocates such as Florida AARP, Florida United Way, the Florida Housing Coalition and the Florida Coalition for the Homeless, as well as faith-based organizations such as Habitat for Humanity of Florida and Florida Catholic Conference, demonstrating a uniquely diverse breadth of support across the State of Florida.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Straight From The Mayor: Looking at our business and job future in Cape Coral

This week I want to use the opportunity to address the business climate and job opportunities in Cape Coral.
From January 1, 2011 to October 31, 2011 there have been 1,738 new businesses that have applied for licenses in Cape Coral. Of those businesses, 983 are home based. 755 of those businesses are an actual store front business in Cape Coral.

Cape Coral has over 1,100 acres of commercial-developed property available for light industrial facilities, health care, information technology, and professional headquarters. Our current infrastructure and strategic location support countless business opportunities. We also have a great deal of office space that is immediately available.

Areas of Cape Coral Set Up for Business Growth
The Veterans Investment Zone (VIZ) contains large plats of undeveloped lands, as well as existing office and retail centers in proximity to the new 220,000 regional VA Outpatient Clinic. We would expect to see hotels, motels, restaurants as possible businesses moving into this area. One has to remember we will be servicing Veterans coming from a large area of the United States. This should create many high paying jobs in the medical field. On top of the businesses I mentioned above, we are probably looking at rehab centers, assisted living facilities, perhaps even nursing homes to fill this area. What that means to Cape Coral, is we are going to have a lot of high paying jobs that are going to be generated in this area of the city alone. From doctors, technicians, nurses, therapists, and more, Cape Coral should see a healthy growth in professional, medical job opportunities in the future.

A second area set for business growth is our two foreign trade zones. These zones allow businesses to import parts and components duty free, as long as they use them to manufacture or assemble products for export. This area could bring in light manufacturing to Cape Coral. These businesses will be able to operate on a duty free basis, which in turn should create an opportunity to effectively compete with any market in North or South America. These areas will allow us to tap into the South American market. There is a lot of money in South America, and this foreign trade zone could have the impact of being able to attract businesses in from North and South America, Canada, Mexico, and beyond.
Tools to Help Businesses In Cape Coral
Our Economic Development Office has created many useful resources for both new and existing businesses in our city. We have site selection resources to help businesses find a proper place to execute their business plan. Another resource we have are strong partnerships and support for business through Florida Gulf Coast University, the Small Business Development Center, and Edison State College. Tapping into the employee market and creating skilled employees, we have the Micro Enterprise Center, Southwest Florida Works, and Hi-Tech North for employee training.

Our Economic Development Office has also instituted customized incentive plans in order to proliferate high wage job creation up to $2,000 per job. We have waived change of use road impact fees for existing buildings, and have created access to county and state economic development incentive programs. If that was not enough, we also have tax incentives. Some of these tax incentives afford businesses the opportunity to not have to pay certain taxes that they would pay in other places. Some of those tax incentives would allow such relief to businesses as not having to pay the following taxes:
  • Public service tax
  • Personal income tax
  • Corporate income tax on limited partnerships
  • Corporate income tax on S corps.
  • Corporate franchise tax on capital stock
  • State level property tax assessment
  • Property tax on business inventories
  • Property tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for export outside the state
  • Sales tax on purchases of raw materials incorporated for a final product for resale.
As you can see, that is a long list of tax relief that will hopefully entice businesses to set up shop in our area. This lack of taxing will allow businesses that open here to more effectively compete against businesses in other areas, where these taxes are present.

When one puts all these factors together, Cape Coral has the potential of becoming a the juggernaut of Southwest Florida. Add to that, we now have our new Economic Development Director, and you can see we are poised for business growth in the very near future. This will be an exciting time for Cape Coral.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Florida Markets Dominate Top Ten Turnaround Report --

Though the past four years have seen many cities suffering from large numbers of foreclosures and a loss in home values, ten of these real estate markets are now leading the nation towards a general recovery and stability of the housing sector.’s Top 10 Turnaround Town Report, based on third quarter 2011 data, includes six Florida markets: Miami, Orlando, Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota-Bradenton, and Lakeland-Winter Haven.

Each of these markets has experienced positive year-over-year median price appreciation, reductions in year-over-year median age of inventory and inventory counts, while also experiencing lower unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis. Florida’s success can also be tied to foreign buyers; the number of foreign buyers purchasing homes there increased from 10 percent in 2007 to 31 percent in 2011.

Let’s take a closer look:
Miami, FL: The number one town on the report, Miami has gone from being one of the first victims of the subprime crash to having a healthy inventory that is only half the size from a year ago. Today, Miami is only reporting one foreclosure for every 407 homes, compared to the national rate of one per every 213. And, condo sales have increased 79 percent in the first five months of this year, largely due to an influx of foreign investors.

Orlando, FL: Ranked second on the report, Orlando leads the nation in the ratio of searches to listings. Inventory has also obtained a balance with demand. Foreclosures hurt the market in 2007-08, but foreclosures in Orlando were down 58 percent in September, compared to last year.

Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL: Median prices in Fort Myers-Cape Coral have increased almost 33% year-over-year, according to’s October 2011 Real Estate Trend Data. In addition, foreclosures are down–only one in 313 homes in September–while inventory has been reduced and foreign buyers have been attracted to the area’s real estate prices. The metro ranked third on the turnaround report.

Fort Lauderdale: FL: A decrease in inventory coupled with an uptick in prices earns Fort Lauderdale the number five spot on the report. Inventory decreased almost 38 percent year-over-year, according to’s October data report. Prices have fallen about 46 percent since 2006, but are now going up.

Sarasota-Bradenton, FL: A total of 11 percent of all foreign buyers in Florida are in Sarasota-Bradenton specifically. Number six on the turnaround report, the market has seen a list prices increase of more than 17 percent year-0ver-year and a decrease of inventory of 32 percent according to the October data. The market still has a long way to go, after losing more than 55 percent of home values from 2006 to the second quarter of 2011 due to foreclosures.

Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL: A year ago, Lakeland-Winter Haven topped national foreclosure filing lists, but now the area’s distressed sale market share has decreased 46 percent. The area–ranked 7th on the turnaround list–has seen total listings decreased more than 36 percent year-over-year and median age of inventory decrease more than 17 percent, according to’s October data. Prices are also up 12 percent compared to last October.’s Top Ten Turnaround Town Report is compiled using a formula based on price appreciation, changes in inventory, median age of inventory, searches by visitors, and unemployment data.

Related posts:

  1. Top 10 Early Turnaround Towns from Part II
  2. REALTOR Data: Market Continues to Stabilize
  3. Top 10 Early Turnaround Towns From Part I
  4. May 2011 Real Estate Trends (DATA)
  5. Data: Listings Notch Upward As Home Buying Season Starts

Read more: Florida Markets Dominate Top Ten Turnaround Report |® Blogs

Friday, October 28, 2011

America's Best and Worst Housing Markets, 2011

Want to know how bad the real estate market is? Just drive down almost any street in the U.S. and you’re likely to see “for sale” signs lining the road. Come back a month later, it’s a good bet the same signs are still there—and quite possibly a few new ones, too. But while there’s a lot of housing pain, there’s also some good news. That’s because in some markets across the country not only have home values improved, a few have even seen double-digit growth.
So where is this miracle occurring? Believe it or not, the city that has seen the biggest increase in home value is in Florida. That’s right—the state that has seen home values plummet 52.3 percent from 2006 peak levels. Nearly 96,000 loans were modified in Florida through August 2011 under President Obama’s Making Home Affordable program. Joblessness, foreclosures, and high inventory hamper recovery in nearly every corner of the state, with rare exceptions. In this case, the rare exception is Weston, a high-income city of more than 65,000 people near Fort Lauderdale where the median home value has risen 15.1 percent to $280,000 from February 2009 to August 2011.

A survey of the 1,000 largest cities nationwide by online real estate marketplace Zillow for identified the markets with the biggest gains and losses in home value, ranking Weston the best-performing city since Obama took office. In contrast, the U.S. median home value fell by 9.9 percent over the same period.
What’s behind Weston’s success? Ines Garcia, an agent for EWM Realtors in Weston, describes the city as “Broward County’s cul-de-sac.” “It’s like driving into a gated community: the landscaping, the manicuring all around the city,” she says. “We were very lucky. Weston was one of the last communities to fall and one of the first to recover.”
Other winners: Arlington, Mass., where the median home value increased by 14.8 percent since February 2009; Brookline, Mass., at 13.6 percent; and the D.C. suburbs of Burke, Va., at 13.5 percent, and Vienna, Va., at 12.8 percent, Zillow data indicate.
Of course, the winners are far outnumbered by the losers. The city with the worst-performing market in the survey is only 50 miles from Weston in Homestead, Fla., where the median home value dropped by 48.8 percent since February 2009. Rounding out the bottom worst-performing markets: former manufacturing city Pontiac, Mich., with a 47.4 percent decrease, and New Jersey capital Trenton, at 46 percent.
While those in depressed housing markets hope for solutions from the White House, “I don’t see how any President is responsible for the housing market in a particular area,” says Steven Blitz, director and senior economist at ITG Investment Research in New York. The federal government and national housing policies have a limited impact on a local level.
According to Zillow Senior Economist Svenja Gudell, under current conditions the median U.S. home value will likely fall another 3 percent to 5 percent and not reach trough until 2012 at the earliest. The Obama years have been bad ones for housing, yet government was not alone in breaking the housing market—and it cannot be alone to fix it.

Here's America's five best housing markets:

No. 5 - Vienna, VA | Photo: Robert Shafer/Getty Images
No. 5 - Vienna, VA
Percent change: +12.8
MSA: Washington, D.C.
Population: 15,687
One of the gems of Fairfax County, Vienna is home to such attractions as the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and the rolling greens of the private Westwood Country Club. According to the Zillow Home Value Index, the median home value in the city was $638,500 in August, and the median sale price was $ 645,400 as of Aug. 31.

No. 4 - Burke, VA | Photo: Michael Melford/Getty Images
No. 4 - Burke, VA
Percent change: +13.5
MSA: Washington, D.C.
Population: 41,055
A green area of parks, cul-de-sacs, and community centers with pools on the outskirts of the greater Washington, D.C., area, Burke is an affluent community within Fairfax County. The median home value in the city was $434,200 in August, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, and the median sale price as of Aug. 31 was $427,300.

No. 3 - Brookline, MA
Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
No. 3 - Brookline, MA
Percent change: +13.6
MSA: Boston
Population: 58,732
The affluent suburb of Brookline shares a border with Boston but has a unique feel, with upscale stores and cute restaurants. The town is mostly residential, with historic houses that hearken back to the Revolutionary War. It is also the site of the Country Club, the oldest country club in the U.S., which was founded in 1882. The median home value in the city was $506,900 in August, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, and the median sale price was $513,200 as of July 31.

No. 2 - Arlington, MA | Photo: Getty Images
No. 2 - Arlington, MA
Percent change: 14.8
MSA: Boston
Population: 42,844
Settled in 1635 as Menotomy Village, an Algonquin word for rapids or swift water, and later named Arlington, the area has a rich history that includes part of Paul Revere's famous ride. The town has a high level of median income, great schools, and green parks. Home sales in this Boston suburb have increased for the last four years, according to The median home value in the city was $475,800 in August, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, and the median sale price was $468,200 as of July 31.

No. 1 - Weston, FL | Photo: Getty Images
No. 1 - Weston, FL
Percent change: 15.1
MSA: Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
Population: 65,333
The country's top-performing housing market since President Obama took office: Weston, a luxury community near the Everglades in the Fort Lauderdale area. The city has been home to such pro athletes as former White Sox player José Canseco and the Florida Marlins' Hanley Ramirez, according to real estate news site From April 2008 to April 2011, the population grew about 5 percent, estimates the University of Florida Bureau of Economics & Business Research. In 2006 ranked Weston one of "The Best Affordable Suburbs" in the U.S. The median home value in the city was $280,000 in August, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, and as of Aug. 31, the median sale price was $335,000.

Multiple Signs Point to Real Estate Rebound

Posted By Susanne On October 24, 2011 @ 4:15 pm In Consumer News and Advice
 The The past few weeks have showcased numerous signals that the real estate market is on the rise. Recently, we have reported statistics pointing to an industry turnaround, including a 15 percent rise [2] in housing starts in September; a surge in builder confidence [3] in October, an increase in mortgage applications [4] and a slew of regional market [5] improvements across the country [6].

A recent Marketwatch story written by Amy Hoak points out that housing markets in the Great Plains, including those in North and South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Louisiana and Iowa, are showing the most signs of strength these days, according to a recent report from Veros, a risk management and valuation services firm.

Hoak notes that Bismarck, North Dakota., is expected to be the strongest market in the country in the year ahead, with housing values appreciating at a 5.6% clip, according to Veros. Other markets projected to be among the strongest in the year ahead include Honolulu; Fargo, North Dakota.; Harrisburg/Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and Pittsburgh. Washington, D.C., and Boston remain strong city markets.

Hoak writes that while not many markets are fully rebounding, at least a good number of them likely won’t see values fall at quite as rapid a pace as in recent years, according to the report.
“Overall, the recovery in the housing market is limited to just a few markets and is taking a long time to occur. The encouraging news is that many markets are no longer expected to be rapidly declining,” says Eric Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling for Veros.
The weakest U.S. markets are in Nevada, inland areas of California, Washington and Oregon, according to the report. The weakest market in the year ahead: Bakersfield, California, where foreclosures have been a huge problem.

Hoak wraps up the story with words of assurance; While prices aren’t on the upswing in many places, at least they’re not expected to fall that rapidly in the coming year.
RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: [7].

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cape Coral's Oktoberfest off to a great start

From young to old, thousands came out in force this past weekend for the 26th annual Cape Coral Oktoberfest.
Hosted by the Cape Coral German American Social Club, Oktoberfest has become an annual tradition in Cape Coral.
Starting on Friday night, thousands poured through the gates of the social club and the crowds did not stop until the gates closed Sunday night.
The two-weekend festival started off with a bang this weekend, with club officials estimating 14,000 people going through the gates on Saturday night alone. The crowd became so big on Saturday night that it literally shut traffic down on west bound Pine Island Road from the German American Club all the way back to Nicholas Parkway, “It is amazing how many people showed up on Saturday. We could not have asked for a better turnout,” said Oktoberfest Chairman Paul Mills.
Those who braved the traffic found it worth it, as they socialized with old friends, new friends and family while enjoying German music, filling up on Schnitzel, Brats and Potato Pancakes, while washing it down with steins of beer.
The festival has been a main attraction in Cape Coral since 1985, “My grandparents had a winter home in Cape Coral when I was a kid. We would come down here from New Jersey every year since I was five years old and go to Oktoberfest,” says Angel, who now lives in Naples and is starting the Oktoberfest tradition with her own children.
Others attended Cape Coral's Oktoberfest for the first time, "We just bought a house in Cape Coral and heard about Oktoberfest from a friend. We are having a great time. We are looking forward to all of the other Cape Coral festivals we have heard about," says new Cape Coral resident Sandy Sheldone.
Whether they were first timers or Oktoberfest veterans, from the official tapping of the keg on Friday night by Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan, to the last song played on Sunday night, the good times seemed never ending by all who attended this weekend's festival.
The club, who has hosted the event for the past 26 years, ran this weekend’s event like a well oiled machine. While thousands were enjoying the festivities, hundreds of volunteers worked around the clock, ensuring everything ran smoothly. From club members to local dignitaries, volunteers worked hours ensuring everyone was well fed, and the drinks were flowing, “I enjoy coming out here working with the German American Club and interacting with people. It is a great time,” said Cape Coral City Council Candidate Lenny Nesta, who is a second year volunteer for the event.
Nesta was not the only local high profile volunteer seen at Oktoberfest this weekend. Decked out in his famous lederhosen attire, current Cape Coral City Councilman Erick Kuehn spent Friday night herding people toward the Sausage Kitchen. Another Cape Coral City Council candidate, Dave Stokes spent Friday night pouring steins of beer to the ever thirsty crowd.
The club says this year is shaping up to be another successful event for the club, “It just seems to get bigger and bigger each year. Last year we had 35,000 people. This year we are hoping for 39,000. It was not that long ago that we had 29,000 for the event. It seems the minute you think this festival cannot get any bigger. It does,” said Mills.
The festivities resume next weekend, with gates opening Friday night at 4pm and going to 12pm. Saturday hours are 12pm to midnight. Sunday wraps up the festival from 12pm to 9pm.
If you are interested in attending this year’s Oktoberfest, the festival takes place at the Cape Coral German American Club, located at 2101 SW Pine Island Road in North Cape Coral. Tickets cost $6 at the gate. Admission is free for children under 12 years of age. For more information about Oktoberfest, visit

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hoping for a quick sale? Stage your home: Furnish rooms, clean, get rid of clutter and focus on kitchen, bathrooms and closets.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Florida’s existing home and condo sales up in September

ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 20, 2011 – Florida’s existing home and existing condo sales continued their upswing in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Existing home sales increased 10 percent last month with a total of 15,036 homes sold statewide compared to 13,723 homes sold in September 2010, according to Florida Realtors.

“One of the most overlooked statistical trends in all of real estate is the growth in home sales, both single-family and condo, in the state of Florida,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “We’ve seen an upward trend in sales since January 2011, and September’s sales were a full 10 percent above September 2010. Even prices, which have been static over the past few months, are well above where they were in January 2011.

“One of the reasons for this is stabilization in the distressed property market. This is not a problem that’s going away, but there’s a degree of certainty that is helping the market.”

Fifteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported higher existing home sales in September; 11 MSAs had higher existing condo sales.

The statewide median sales price for existing homes last month was $133,900; a year ago, it was $135,000 for only a 1 percent decrease. According to analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in August 2011 was $168,400, down 5.4 percent from a year ago, according to NAR. In California, the August statewide median resales price was $297,060; in Maryland, it was $241,564; and in New York, it was $220,000.

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 6,666 units sold statewide in September, a 10 percent gain over the 6,035 units sold in September 2010. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $87,200; a year earlier, it was $81,800 for a 7 percent increase.

“Historically low mortgage rates and stabilizing home prices all across Florida’s local housing markets continue to attract potential buyers – housing affordability conditions are very favorable right now,” said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “However, financially qualified buyers are still being denied home loans because of overly restrictive lending requirements, and that’s a significant obstacle to the housing recovery.”

According to Freddie Mac, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.11 percent in September, down from the 4.35 percent average during the same month a year earlier. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Things You Need to Know to Sell a Home That’s Underwater

More and more people are in over their heads when it comes to their home. In this tough economy, many have fallen behind on their mortgages and don’t know where to begin to rid themselves of the property that they can no longer afford. Real estate agent and short sale trainer Mike Cuevas of Exit Realty and Agent Redefined has five things homeowners need to consider when their home is underwater.

1. Understand the process. A short sale is when a lender agrees to discount a loan due to an economic hardship on the part of the homeowner. Typically, a short sale is used to prevent a home from being foreclosed. Usually, a bank will allow a short sale if they believe it will result in a smaller loss than the expense required for foreclosing.

2. Compare it to foreclosure results. Foreclosure can be extremely damaging to an individual’s credit report and it can have long-term effects. Since we live in a credit driven society, keeping a good credit rating can save a family thousands of dollars in attractive finance rates for vehicles, home mortgages, and other large items. A negative credit report and poor score can affect everything you do from renting an apartment to buying a car.

3. Bankruptcy and its impact on your future. Filing for bankruptcy will consolidate your debt and can wipe out your liabilities, but it will not prevent an eventual foreclosure, it will only delay it. However, if all you need to do is delay a foreclosure and there is little to no other major outstanding debt which needs to be settled, then there are other methods which may be more suitable. Trying to conduct a short sale while in bankruptcy requires strategy and a plan. It is best to consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney prior to making any decision in order to gain the proper information and make an appropriate plan. If your home is the only debt that is creating an uncontrollable situation for you, a short sale option is likely your best bet versus a bankruptcy. If you have other debt you need resolved after filing bankruptcy, a short sale is still a necessity unless you don’t care about a foreclosure eventually being reported onto your credit.

4. Discover if you are qualified. Though the process differs based on individual, it is broadly understood that in order to qualify for a short sale, the seller/homeowner must show legitimate hardship. Common reasons include: death, divorce, loss of job, relocation, etc. As long as the property is inevitably headed towards foreclosure it will qualify for a short sale.

5. Consider the benefits. One of the major benefits of a short sale is that it ends the financial and emotional nightmare quickly. From the day a homeowner accepts a contract to the time the property will close can take up to 90-120 days. Losing one’s home is a painful process, but short sales can help families to decrease the time and frustration they spend in financial limbo, and it can help to maintain their credit and move forward into the future.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is the thought of decorating a big, blank room scary? Hire an interior decorator. They can save you time and money and enhance your style.

Cape Wants To Clean Up Downtown

Posted: Oct 11, 2011 4:45 PM EDT Updated: Oct 11, 2011 5:57 PM EDT By Alex Boyer, NBC2 Reporter CAPE CORAL, FL -
The Community Redevelopment Agency is trying to attract more customers to the area off Cape Coral Parkway, but with vacant, overgrown businesses – it's a challenge. That's why officials are trying to improve the city's image by cleaning up some of its streets.
Lou Simmons is proud of the business he's built. Simmons and his wife own the Cape Coral Dog Bakery in downtown Cape Coral.
"Just a complete success story," said Simmons.
Simmons wants to keep that success going by keeping the south Cape clean.
"There's still some very bad spots that have to be addressed," said Simmons.
And they are - one by one. 

There have been ten pages worth of code complaints in the south Cape over the past four months. People have reported abandoned businesses, overgrown grass and trash littering properties.
"If you go to a city full of trash and debris you don't want to go down the street," said Simmons.
That's why the CRA pays for its own code enforcement officer.
"We're just trying to get the best possible looking downtown as we can," said John Jacobsen of the CRA.
The officer patrols all 1900 acres in the south Cape.
His constant presence seems to be working. Jacobsen says code complaints have decreased over the past year. And in turn, pedestrian traffic is starting to pick up.
"If we can get the whole CRA district looking better, acting better and attract more people," said Jacobsen.
Almost all of the ten pages of complaints have been closed out, which means the complaints have been taken care of. The CRA hopes to continue on the positive path.

Housing Market In South Florida Ripe For The Picking

  Housing market in South Florida ripe for the picking By Todd Wilson | September 16, 2020 at 12:05 AM EDT - Updated September 16 at 9:42 AM...