Federal Assistance For Hurricane IAN reaches 5.5 Billion

More than $4.5 billion in federal grants, disaster loans and flood insurance payments have been provided to the state of Florida and to households affected by Hurricane Ian. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided more than $647 million in housing assistance, while the Small Business Administration has given out $1.68 billion in disaster loans and the National Flood Insurance Program has paid $2.29 billion in claims to survivors of the storm.
Support for Hurricane Ian Disaster Recovery Assistance
The Hurricane season of 2022 was one of the worst Florida has ever seen. Specifically, the damage to Southwest Florida has been catastrophic and will likely take years to recover. Congressman Byron Donalds is coordinating with “other Florida congressional delegation offices on a bicameral proposal to address both the 10% cap/itemized deduction components as well as providing Ian victims the same broader benefits as those from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.” While our area has been declared a Presidentially Declared Disaster area, the losses associated with Hurricane Ian are yet to be treated as “qualified disaster losses” which would result in a favorable tax treatment than what currently exists.

Please get in touch with your local representatives to let them know if you support this effort. For convenience, we have included links below so you can determine who your representative is.




Citizens Roof Coatings Clarification

In response to questions about roof coatings and sealants used with the intent to

repair and/or extend a roof covering’s useful life, Citizens would like to provide the following information to assist agents with determining roof insurability under our underwriting rules.

When a roof replacement is required, and a coating or sealant is used in lieu of

roof replacement, the risk remains ineligible for coverage with Citizens. Use of such materials does not constitute a roof replacement. See the following for further

Roof Coatings and Sealants
For new and renewal business, where a sealant or coating has been applied to the roof, Underwriting will review the risk, including age and condition of the roof, to

determine eligibility for coverage.

• Citizens may conduct inspections to verify the risk meets eligibility requirements.
Roof coatings – such as acrylic, silicone, urethane, soy, elastomeric or other similar coatings used for waterproofing or UV protection – do not meet Citizens’

requirements for proof of roof replacement.

Manufactured Home Repair/Rebuild Important Information

Multiple parcel MH park where each lot is owned separate response:
Lee County does not make decisions regarding the disposition of property within mobile home communities. A property owner does not need a determination or permission from Lee County to demolish a structure if they so desire. If a property owner seeks demolition of their structure, a Lee County demolition permit is required.

 If a property owner seeks to remodel or rehabilitate a structure that sustained storm damage, a Lee County building permit is required. If a property is located within a special flood hazard area, the FEMA 50% rule must be complied with. Under the 50% rule, if there is a substantial damage determination made through the permitting process, the property owner is required to bring the building into compliance with current flood prevention regulations including elevation above base flood. The substantial damage determination is based on a comparison of the cost estimate of the work required to restore the building to its pre-damage condition to the market value of the building (excluding land value). When the cost to repair equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building, the work is repair of substantial damage and current flood plain regulations must be complied with.  

For more information on the 50% rule, visit http://www.leegov.com/dcd/flood/building/improvements

An owner does not need permission or a permit to perform the following:

        •   Removal of debris from on or inside a structure
          • Minor demolition to prevent injury or prevent further damage to buildings (i.e. the removal of wet drywall to prevent mold growth)
          • Structural shoring and bracing
          • Replacement of broken glass within existing framing for windows and doors
          • Minor non-structural repairs made to the exterior of structures
          • Repair of minor water leaks that do not involve structural, mechanical, or electrical systems. 
If you should have additional or specific questions, please feel free to contact Jessica Leatherman, Code Enforcement and Contractor Licensing Chief at jleatherman@leegov.com.

Post Hurricane Updates for Ft. Myers Owners

Hello to everyone. We’d like to extend our thoughts and prayers to anyone who’s been affected by this devastating hurricane last Wednesday. Our communities such as Bayside Estates, Palmetto Palms, Thunderbird Manufactured Homes, and many others have endured devastating damage from Hurricane Ian. For many of you not here and those that are, we wanted to reach out to help with current conditions and the next steps to move forward.

Clean-up has begun in every community and we are so happy to see neighbors and strangers helping one another! Along with that, there are many rumors of properties and entire communities being condemned, and that FEMA will take your home. This is not factual information and many residents are already working to remediate their homes.The following are ‘Next Steps’ that may be helpful:

Home Cleanup Hotline Information:
Call 800-451-1954
• Cut fallen trees, removal drywall and flooring
• Ends October 28
#GulfCoastStrong #disastercleanup #cleanup

  • Contact your insurance company(s).
    • Flood
    • Homeowners
    • Hurricane
    • Auto
  • START THE WATER REMEDIATION PROCESS IMMEDIATELY if you are planning to try and save your home.
    • This is very important as in this environment mold will quickly infiltrate your home
    • Remove anything that has gotten wet and is porous from your home (clothing, furniture, food, books, etc.)
    • Remove Vapor Barrier if applicable
    • Pull up flooring and trim
    • Remove drywall that has been flooded or at least knock holes to help dry out
    • Spray these areas with bleach water
    • Run fans if you have electricity
    • Open windows to allow air flow
    • Bring plenty of old towels, trash bags, water, paper towels, sanitizer, etc. to help during clean-up 
  • Register with the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund
  • Lee Corp can assist in removal of and new Manufactured Homes set to today’s flood elevations
    Phone: 941-240-6161
  • If you are planning to return to your home, please keep in mind that there are many disasters relief and displaced residents in the area. Plan well to ensure that you have a safe place to stay.

Our communities will thrive again in time. Please stay safe and healthy! Contact us with any questions or referrals to help with the restoration process.

Best Regards,

Beth, Carol, Stu and Robin!


Beth Barton




How Your Equity Can Grow over Time

By Real Estate with Keeping Current Matters

It’s true that record levels of home price appreciation have spurred significant equity gains for homeowners over the past few years. As Diana Olick, Real Estate Correspondent at CNBC, says:

The stunning jump in home values over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has given U.S. homeowners record amounts of housing wealth.

That’s great for your home’s value over the last couple of years, but what if you’ve lived in your home for longer than that? You may be wondering how much equity you truly have.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has done a study to calculate the typical equity gains over longer spans of time. The data they compiled could be enough to motivate you to move. Just remember, to find out how much equity you have in your specific home, you’ll want to get a professional equity assessment from a trusted real estate advisor.

How Your Equity Grows

Let’s start by establishing how you build equity in your home. While price appreciation is clearly a factor that can help boost your equity, you also build equity over time as you pay down your home loan. NAR explains:

Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.

Average Equity Growth over Time

The study from NAR breaks down the typical equity gain over time (see graph below). It calculates the equity a homeowner potentially gained if they purchased the median-priced home 5, 10, or 30 years ago and still own it today.

These six-figure numbers are impressive and certainly enough to help you fuel a move into your next home, but they’re not a promised amount. Remember, your own equity gain will be different. It depends on how long you’ve been in the house, your home’s condition, any upgrades you’ve made, your area, and much more.

If you want to find out how much equity you have, partner with a trusted real estate professional for an equity assessment on your home. They can provide an expert opinion on what your house is worth today and how the equity you’ve gained over time can help you when you purchase your next home. It may be some (if not all) of what you need for your next down payment.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house and making a move, home equity can be a real game-changer, especially if you’ve been in your current home for a while. If you’re ready to find out how much equity you have, let’s connect.

Protect Our Ocean and Waterways for Manatees

By Nathan Cobb

Coastal Brokerage takes great pride and care for our unique local ecology and wildlife. Manatees may seem calm, relaxed and carefree, but don’t let their appearance fool you: It’s not easy to be a manatee. https://donate.oceanconservancy.org/page/108774/donate/1?val#oceanconservation#manatees#saveouroceans#conservation

Agents: Buyers More Interested in ‘Green Features’

By Nathan Cobb

Panhandle Realtors note an uptick in interest for energy-efficient homes, but it comes with a downside: Many homebuyers can’t afford the increased cost.

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – Local real estate agents say energy-efficient homes are becoming more popular.

However, the “green features” in these homes can be quite expensive, which could be a turnoff for some buyers since home prices in Bay County already are out of reach for many families.

According to the Central Panhandle Association of Realtors, there was a more than 30% jump from 2021 to 2022 in the number of real estate agents and brokers across the United States who said they helped a client buy or sell a “green” home during the past 12 months.

“Sustainability continues to play a growing role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, and this is becoming even more prevalent in the real estate market,” Leslie Rouda Smith, president of the National Association of Realtors said in a news release. “With the residential property market, in particular, home buyers have expressed increased interest in eco-friendly factors like solar panels and energy efficiency.”

However, Amin Delawalla, a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, said while solar panels can provide some serious benefits for homeowners, they also come with drawbacks that might limit their popularity in the local market.

In addition to solar panels, Delawalla said other popular green features include smart thermostats able to automatically adjust a home’s temperature based on if anyone is there, tankless water heaters that prevent homes from running out of hot water and showerhead faucets designed to save water.

“Solar panels are great, (and) they help you save on utility bills, (but) I think the (main) decision owners have to make is (if) they are going to pay for the solar panels upfront or finance them,” he said. “If you’re going to finance them, you have to be cognizant of (the fact) that if you sell your home before that loan is paid off, your new buyer might not be willing to take over that loan.”

That is especially true in Bay County, where it is almost impossible to buy a new home for less than $300,000.

Many local homebuyers don’t want solar panels because they make already high home prices rise even higher, Delawalla said.

According to Aric Bowen, operations manager for Sundew Solar in Panama City, the price of fitting a home with solar panels varies based on the size of the house and its electrical demand, but a good guess is a cost of $40,000 to $50,000 to fully equip a standard three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

This is what is needed to practically eliminate an electric bill, he said.

Still, buyers would have to pay a monthly fee of about $10 to $30 to remain connected to the power grid, and those who finance the panels also would have an additional monthly payment that could range from about $100 to $150, Bowen noted.

He also said it normally takes 15 to 25 years to pay off a loan for solar panels.

Like real estate agents, Bowen said he also has noticed a recent uptick in demand for solar panels and other green features.

“It can save (homeowners) money,” he said. “It’s a sound investment, and whether people like it or not, it does lower your carbon footprint. … The technology, I don’t think, is going anywhere. You have a roof, (and) you have this surface that you might as well do something (with) that’s going to make you money or save you money.”

Copyright © 2022, News Herald, The (Panama City, FL), all rights reserved.

The bulge in the lines has shifted toward fewer days for a higher percentage of homes. How quickly are homes selling?

Erica Plemmons is an economist and Director of Housing Statistics

© 2022 Florida Realtors®

2 of 3 Fla. Homes on Market Less than 30 Days

By Erica Plemmons Florida Realtors economist:

In 1Q 2022, half of new Fla. listings went under contract in 12 days – but look beyond that one statistic to see the shift in market speed. ORLANDO, Fla –Florida Realtors market metrics – such as closed sales, median sale price and active inventory – summarize what’s happening in your market. But sometimes, one number can’t present the entire story. In the first quarter (1Q) of 2022, the median time to contract for all property types in Florida was down to just 12 days. The median is the “middle,” so this means half of the homes sold in 12 days or less. This compares to 24 days one year ago, in 1Q 2021. You can find out if homes in your local area are moving off of the market faster than the state by reviewing the median time to contract on SunStats, an interactive market tool – a free service as part of Florida Realtors membership. The median provides a great starting point, but we can slice this data to reveal additional insights into the speed between listing and contract. A cumulative frequency graph shows the percentage of properties selling under a certain number of days. For instance, if 2% of homes sell on the day they’re listed (0 days), and 3% sell the next day, a total of 5% (or 1 in 20 homes) sold in one day or less. At 50%, a cumulative frequency chart tells us the same thing as the median time to contract.

The bulge in the lines has shifted toward fewer days for a higher percentage of homes. How quickly are homes selling?

In Florida across all property types, 68% (2 in 3 homes) sold in under 30 days in the first quarter of 2022. One year earlier, in 1Q 2021, about 54% of homes sold in 30 days or less, while only 41% sold at that pace in 1Q 2020. We can zoom in to look at these details.

Recall that 41% of homes sold in 30 days just two years ago; now, in 1Q 2022, 41% of homes sold in a week or less!

You’ve likely experienced this market frenzy since the pandemic uncertainty eased. A home today serves more functions than it did in the past, so buyers who find one that suits their needs swoop it up quickly.

As interest rates rise, demand levels may moderate and push the curve back, however. We’ll follow up with any notable changes in the data as the year progresses.

Erica Plemmons is an economist and Director of Housing Statistics

© 2022 Florida Realtors®