Homeowners Discover Chinese Drywall…OUCH!

Chinese drywall has been an issue to homeowners and will continue to remain that way unless repaired.  Chinese drywall damages homes, depreciates its value, and causes inspection issues which can cause stress while closing a home.  Some of the reported issues from homeowners are electrical issues, chemical fumes, negative health effects, and metal corrosion.  The health problems vary from asthma, coughing, headaches, sore throats, and irritated eyes.

Signs of contaminated drywall are usually a rotten egg smell, corrosion or blackening of metal items within the walls, and frequent failure of air conditioning units and other appliances in the home.  Recently in Naples, FL,  nine homeowners in Bristol Pines have filed lawsuits since the discovery of Chinese drywall in their homes.  In New Orleans, a hearing is scheduled to determine how much reimbursement money will be given back to the thousands of people who are owed including $3.2 million to seven different homeowners.

The repairs are pricy and some people spend thousands of dollars replacing televisions, dishwashers, refrigerators, and air conditioners before they even discover what the actual cause is of these issues.  The health problems vary from asthma, coughing, runny or bloody noses, headaches, sore throats, and irritated eyes.  Homeowners affected by contaminated Chinese drywall will have to remove all of the contaminated drywall in the home and install new drywall which is $ per square foot.

Lee and Collier Counties – Fastest Growing Populations!

Did you know that Lee and Collier County have some of the fastest growing populations in the country?  Cape Coral- Fort myers and Naples-Marco-Immokalee have been growing and the U.S. Census bureau can prove it!  Cape Coral-Fort Myers ranked sixth in the nation and Naples-Marco Island – Immokalee ranked tenth in the country.  Statewide, the state has recorded about 300,000 new residents in the past year alone.

It is safe to say that Southwest Florida is no longer a well kept secret!  We’ve seen the most visitors to date and more and more of them want to make their stay either permanent or reside here for a few months of each year.  Since the economy has revived, new job opportunities and the housing market is in great standing, now is the perfect time for anyone to make the big move to Paradise.  Why stay frozen when you can walk on the beach in February?

February Sales Reports…Numbers Don’t Lie!

Recent NAR reports show more closed sales, higher median prices, increases in pending sales and more new listings for February 2015.  Florida Realtors released the latest housing data stating that closed sales of single family homes totaled 18,701! That is 19 percent more than February 2015.

The President of Florida Realtors,  Andrew Barbar had stated that the housing market continues to show positive momentum.  With interest rates rising in the next few months, no wonder sales have peaked!  Please are taking action during this time and the numbers do not lie.

The average median sales price for single family homes was up 9.1 percent from last year, now making it $179,995.  For condos,  it was up 8.3 percent making the median price $143,000.

Needless to say, Florida real estate has been on an upward spiral!

John R Wood Makes Joint Donation

John R. Wood Properties is proud to announce that it has made a joint donation, with Freedom Boat Club, to the Collier County Habitat for Humanity.  On March 11, 2015, a check in the amount of $1,400 was presented to Derek Perry, Collier County Habitat for Humanity Development Committee.  The check was presented by John R. Wood Properties President, Phil Wood, Freedom Boat Club President and CEO, John Giglio, Business Development Coordinator, Jim Cull and Member Executive, Dustin Tidwell.

The donation was raised by a collaboration between John R. Wood Properties (JohnRWood.com) and Freedom Boat Club (FreedomBoatClub.com) which donated a portion of agent referral proceeds from John R. Wood clients.  Freedom Boat Club provides alternative options to boat ownership through club-based memberships and activities, and has provided these services to numerous Wood clients as well as agents and staff.

“Our collaboration with Freedom Boat Club is a great opportunity for all involved”, stated Phil Wood, President of John R. Wood Properties. “Not only do our clients, agents and staff get the opportunity to experience the amazing Southwest Florida boating lifestyle provided by Freedom Boat Club, but our two organizations also can support our community through philanthropic efforts that make a difference.”

“We are very pleased to have partnered with John R. Wood Properties in this important community initiative,” added Freedom Boat Club CEO and President John Giglio. “Freedom Boat Club appreciates the opportunity to cooperate with our marketing partners and especially to help provide a better quality of life for those living in our region.”  Freedom Boat Club has 10,000 members in 86 corporate and franchise owned locations nationwide, with 14 clubs throughout the Southwest Florida market.

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By Nella Decesare

$280 Lawsuit over 5 High Rise Building Plans

Finding land to build on in Naples, FL is equivalent to a diamond in the rough.  Wildlife habitats can sometimes restrict and hinder building plans.  On the corner of Vanderbilt Dr and Wiggins Pass, Lodge Abbott Associates LLC have been battling to build on the piece of land since 2008.  The first proposal was to build a golf course and 62 homes.  As of last week, they proposed a plan to build five high rises which caused a $280 million lawsuit against Collier County.  The frightening thing to nearby neighbors is that with a simple majority vote, the case could be reopened for further negotiation of the land and fear that the land will not stay protected.  Lodge Abbott  obtained a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit for the project, agreeing to build in phases to not disturb the eagles. The developer also agreed to buy eagle habitat with an artificial nesting tree about a mile away.  Commissioners will make a final decision on Tuesday at 9:30 am.

Effective Property Tax Rate in Florida – Lowest in the U.S!

Florida homeowners have the opportunity to enjoy filing taxes with a lower effective tax rate than any other state in the U.S.  RealtyTrac reported the average effective tax rate in the U.S is 1.29 percent and in Collier county, it was 0.86 percent in 2014.

Higher tax rates tend to be in the Northeast, the Rust Belt and Texas, said the vice President of RealtyTrac.

Florida is a vacation destination with thousands of second home buyers.  In return, these buyers do not require much government funding, if any at all.  However, a lower tax rate doesn’t mean that the tax bill will also be lower.

Recently, new trends with the Millennial generation show that they are most interested in neighborhoods that are already established.  They aren’t necessarily concerned with the tax bill, but the schools, roads, and local public facilities.

Reported from RealtyTrac: Last year, the national average single-family property bill was $3,188, RealtyTrac found. In Lee it was a bit lower at $3,080, while in Collier County, it was 35 percent higher at $4,313.

There are also exemptions available to residents, such as the homestead exemption.  This exemption takes away $25,000 from a home’s assessed value!  The length of ownership also affects tax rates.  People who have owned their home for over 20 years have the lowest rates.

US Absorption Rates January 2014-2015

Absorption rate is a measure of how many ‘months worth of homes’ are currently on the market.  Bank of America recently released a map the fluctuation of the absorption rate per state from January 2014 to January 2015.  It’s calculated by using three data points: time frame, number of homes sold within that time frame and number of active homes within the time frame.

Absorption rate 2014-2015

Canadians Flock to Florida

Canadians have begun to flood the south to escape the winter chills and also for the housing affordability.  It was reported from a Toronto, Canada-based BMO Private Bank that U.S. prices are expected to continue in an upward trend in Florida, Arizona, and other popular Canadian vacation property areas.

House prices have risen 19 percent in the past two years, BMO says – but their only about halfway to their peak.  The median home price in Florida is $169,400. In comparison, the median home price for major centers in Canada is roughly $230,192 when converted to U.S. currency.  The price difference is undeniable and almost too good to pass up.  All the regions in Florida are affordable except Miami which is considered ‘modestly’ affordable.

Florida continues to be a hotspot with Canadians – the largest foreign buyers of Florida housing. More than 500,000 Canadians currently own real estate in Florida. Popular areas include Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Orlando-Kissimmee, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach, Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Naples-Marco Island.

According the Florida Realtors News,

BMO offers the following tips for Canadians buyers:

  • Consider how much time you’ll spend south of the border.
  • Consider how many months of the year you’ll live there, so that your purchase reflects your lifestyle.
  • As of June 30, 2014, travelers were required to swipe passports both when they enter and when they depart each country. Canada and the S. will share the information. If you exceed 183 days in the U.S. in a year, you become subject to U.S. tax laws.
  • What states and neighborhoods fit your needs?
  • Since you are responsible for property maintenance, consider how easily you can access your property from your Canadian home throughout the purchasing process and after acquisition.
  • Consider flights, airlines, travel time and commuting costs.
  • It’s important to understand the differences in mortgage financing and how interest is charged in the S.
  • Understand the impact of penalties and withholding taxes if you decide to sell your home in the S.
  • Do you understand the status of the property? For instance, is it labeled as short sale or on foreclosure? The status of the property can have a variety of implications. Be sure to consult an expert before making any buying decisions.
  • Is the purchase for investment or lifestyle? This affects where you buy and how you hold the property. Understand the options and what benefits you in the long run.
  • If your purchase is for income purposes, keep in mind that renting a property means added responsibility. Research the possibilities of increased utility usage, property management needs and the area’s vacancy rate.

Naples Preserve

Naples Preserve is a unique area of 9 ½ acres on the corner of US 41 and Fleischmann Blvd.  It is composed of two upland habitats: Pine Flatwoods and Oak-Rosemary Scrubs.

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A 0.4 mile self-guided nature walk allows you to explore and enjoy various sights of gophers, tortoises, birds, butterflies, wildflowers, trees, and so much more.  The most popular months of o view wildflowers and butterflies are between August and September.

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Local Medical Company Makes ‘Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For’

Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list contained one particular Naples-based company, Arthrex.  Arthrex is a medial device manufacturer that ranked 94 on the list of best companies to work for in the United States.  This proves their testament to uphold their reputation for a great work environment and their commitment to making people better.  They invest in their employees with concern for their well-being and professional development to aid in their long-term success.  Arthrex has 2,000 employees in the U.S. with 2,000 in Florida and the others in California.