Monthly Archives: August 2011

A Step by Step Short Sale Story

Boy Meets House; A Short Sale Love Story

Boy meets house.  Boy loves house.  Boy wants to spend the rest of his life with house.  House is a Short Sale.  House is an Active Contingent Short Sale meaning that the seller has already accepted an offer, and now it’s up to the bank.  Boy doesn’t care.  Boy is in love. 

    Boy makes a backup offer.  Boy waits.  And waits.  And waits some more.  Why must he wait so long to have the house of his dreams?

    “It’s not you, it’s me”, says the house.  “You’re fine, but the bank needs to know all about me and my owners.  Are the owners suffering financial hardship or do they have a stash of money hidden somewhere and just don’t want to pay their mortgage?  Are they secretly getting their brother-in-law to try and buy the house, cheap?   Who is the lender?  Is there  a second mortgage? Delinquent taxes or HOA  fees?  Liens?  That is what’s taking so long.  “It’s not you, it’s me.” 

    “Are you seeing other people?”  asks the boy.  “Why yes I am!”  replies the house.  “I am seeing a parade of potential buyers and their realtors.  I saw an appraiser.  I saw inspectors and a surveyor.  I see many people; you must be patient with me.”

    Boy loses house.  The bank accepted another contract.  Boy is unbelieving.  Boy is angry.  Boy cries.  Boy is resigned.  Boy is hopeful.  “Maybe that relationship won’t work out”, he wishes.  Boy waits.  He begins to see other Houses.  Before he becomes emotionally involved with Another House, his realtor calls.  The “buyers walked”, so House is available once again. 

    Boy is jubilant.  The house is now a “Bank Approved” Short Sale!  Boy thinks, “now it is easy”.  House says “that isn’t so”.  Boy must wait.  Bank must re-evaluate the house and it’s owners to see if the owners are still suffering financial hardship.  Has any unexplained money shown up in their bank accounts?  Are they secretly getting their nephew to try and buy the house, cheap?   Is there a third mortgage?  Deliquent taxes or Hoa fees?  Any new liens?  Boy waits. Boy is weary and dispirited. But then….

    Boy gets House.  And, they (want to) live happily ever after. 

Let me help you with your very own  Short Sale saga in SW Florida.     

Dana Carrera, REALTOR                 Sand Castle Realty,  2220-2 Venetian Ct.,  Naples, FL  34109        239-438-8078     


“Tropical Breeze” Short Term VACATION RENTAL in Bonita Springs, FL WEEKLY or MONTHLY

    Tropical Breeze is on the same residential property as Hibiscus Cottage.  So, if you have enjoyed some of the exterior photographs of Hibiscus Cottage, they will be the same for Tropical Breeze.  Located WEST of 41, just one mile to the Gulf of Mexico. 

“WEST of 41 is BEST” because we are the properties closest to the beach!  Our area WEST of 41, is also called Bonita Beach, but officially it is all  Bonita Springs.  Bike to the Beach;  just off Bonita Beach Rd.  one mile to the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

The atmosphere is tropical beach cottage chic, set in a lovely garden; a perfect retreat. Sit on a garden bench in our cobblestone courtyard or in your private screened porch and enjoy the bougainvillea, hibiscus, and fragrant jasmine blooming on the premises.  2 Bedroom/1 Bath.  This is NON-SMOKING and NO PETS home.  Park your flip flops here!

Garden Fountain Courtyard

2 Queen beds,  plus an extra roll-away twin bed              Tile floors throughout ceiling fan in L.R.                                                     Wireless Internet access                                                                   Central heat and air conditioning     Remote control ceiling fan in living room                                     Full size refrigerator and electric stove     Dishwasher          Coffee maker               Microwave    Toaster               Ironing board and iron                       dvd player

 TV in living room and 2 bedrooms          100% Cotton Linens provided, including beach towels      Screen porch          Utility room with washer and dryer

On-the-premisis KAYAKS are available for rental during your stay.  $10. per day per one-man kayak, you load and unload on your vehicle, or $30. per day per one-man kayak if we transport the kayak to Bonita or Estero Bay areas.  Special weekly or monthly kayak rental rates upon request. 

Lover’s Key and Barefoot Beach State Parks close by with some great kayaking on the back bays.  Excellent seafood, restaurants and shopping nearby.  Bonita Springs is located ½ way between Naples and Fort Myers and all they have to offer.  Fort Myers International Airport is 15 miles away. 

Vacation rental rates:

May, June, July, Aug., Sept. and Oct. $450. per week… or $995. per month 

Nov. to Dec. 14:   $500. per week…or $1200. per month 

Dec. 15– Jan., Feb., Mar. and April $700. per week… or $2300. per month 

Monthly rental/refundable $100. damage/security deposit.    Weekly rental/refundable $50. damage/security deposit. The deposit can be mailed back to you within 10 days after check-out.   We must add 11% Florida tax.  Cleaning fee of $35.   Booking policy: 40% of rental fee due at time of reservation; remaining 60% rental fee due 45 days before arrival for monthly rentals and 30 days before for weekly rentals.  Cancellation 45 days prior to arrival for monthly rentals and 30 days prior for weekly rentals with no penalties. Less than the stated, cancellation fee applies.  If there is availability and booking is short notice, of less than 45 days for monthly rentals and 30 days for weekly rentals, entire fee is required at time of reservation.  WEATHER POLICY:  If there is an actual Hurricane WARNING, we reschedule not refund..  Check-in 3:00 PM and check-out is 10 AM

Tropical bedroom #1 Queen Bed

Tropical bedroom #1 tv

Tropical Breeze bathroom

 Blooming HibiscusBedroom #2 Queen Bed

View from street to Tropical  BreeazeTropical Breeze front door area

A peek at the past: Cheapest Single Family House in Bonita Springs in August 2011


Bonita Springs


List Price: $ 49,900             

                           Construction: Concrete block\stucco

3 BR 1 Full Bath, plus 1 more toilet and sink

Square Feet: 1260

Bonita Springs, Florida  is just a great location in general, with miles of Gulf of Mexico coastline, access to I-75, half way between Fort Myers and Naples Florida.  The RENTAL MARKET here is HOT, HOT, HOT.   If you are a CASH INVESTOR looking for RENTAL POTENTIAL properties or a handy homeowner who wants to pay cash as you go and own the home outright; this might be for you.  It IS a “handyman special”, for sure.  I’m no home inspector but I suggest a new roof, new flooring and it definitely needs termite treatment.  Use my CONTACT information to let me know that you would like more information about this house.   Located off W. Terry St. in a family neighborhood, within walking distance to Middle School. The street has that Olde Florida feel with lots of mature trees.

Financial: Foreclosure.  Freddie Mac.  Property sold AS-IS. Buyer will be responsible for doc stamps on deed.

CONTACT me for additional photos and details from my personal walk-thru of the property.

*Information written here is to the best of my knowledge; and may only be my opinion.  Prior to making any investment, information should be verified and the investor is advised to and responsible for obtaining professional legal, tax, construction, and home inspection advice/reports.

I’m In Love with Cabbage Key

Photos:   Old wooden structure of Water Tower, on Cabbage Key, FL  and  “Dollhouse” now used as Rental Cottage on Cabbage Key

Bonita and Fort Myers Beach are great but Cabbage Key, ahhhhhh; now there’s an island. First of all, you can’t drive there; accessible only by boat. And, it’s a nice boat ride too, not out into the open sea of the Gulf of Mexico but within the confines of Pine Island Sound with lovely islands always visible for those who may fear venturing into deeper waters.

While pulling into the dock you pass several wonderful, older, white houses. One is simply a dollhouse, if I might use a real estate embellishment term. But, no, literally. The original owners (after the Calusa Indians, of course) of the island built several cottages, besides their main house and this smaller one was for their child to use as a dollhouse or playhouse. The main house (built in the 1920’s) is now an inn and restaurant. I do love historic properties and I must say that they are few and far between in this stretch of Florida, so I was totally thrilled to discover these homes of character. The painted but worn-clean-to-the-wood, screen door alone made the trip worth it to me. I was happy that I had brought my film camera, just in case. Another highlight was the white, wooden water tower still in use. Writers, artists, dreamers and characters in general have called Cabbage Key home.

Currently, the biggest draw to the island is the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” theme, since it is said that Jimmy Buffet was singing about the inn on Cabbage Key. And, the fact that the walls are papered with signed dollar bills. The story goes that before the island was “discovered” the bar was mostly frequented by fisherman who may or may not have a dollar in their pockets the next time they stopped by for a beer. So, they would tape their dollars up on the walls of the bar with their names written on them to use as a credit for their next trip in, just in case. It was all interesting, needless to say.
Because all of Cabbage Key is privately owned, you and I won’t be moving there anytime soon. but I am happy that at least they remain open to the public and that I do live within boating distance. If you are going to make a day trip of it, I highly recommend the Captiva Cruises as a way to depart from Captiva Island and comfortably cruise to Cabbage Key.

I highly recommend a trip to Cabbage Key to clear your head and re-start your inspiration. You too may fall in love.

There are many affordable places to live that are within a short boat ride to Cabbage Key on Pine Island and Cape Coral.  Check out my CONTACT information if you want to find your place.

Great Local Places to Eat in Fort Myers, Florida

Ft. Myers does have it’s share of great places to eat.  I’ve enjoyed discovering these:

OPA!, Mediterranean Gourmet, specializing in Greek and Mediterranean Cuisine. On the corner of Winkler and Metro Parkway in a small shopping center. The GYROS are out of this world and they also have other homemade specialties, many delicious vegetarian dishes. This is a MUST STOP if you are anywhere in this area. I discovered OPA! because it is right down the road from the Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach REALTOR Association building, of which I am a member.   I’m not finding a website for Opa!                                        OPA!    2950 Winkler Ave. #201   Fort Myers, FL   33916                        239-936-2901

AUSTRIAN-GERMAN PAVILION RESTAURANT       I discovered this restaurant secreted in the middle of the courtyard of the Royal Palm Square, while attending additional real estate classes at a real estate school there. As they say: “Helmut and Helga welcome you to a pleasurable dining experience.” Eat indoors or out, under the umbrellas, in the European style. Hungarian goulash or schnitzel anyone? You must park and walk inside the inner courtyard where there are flowing fountains and streams; you cannot see the restaurant from Colonial Blvd.                 Austrian-German     1400 Colonial Blvd. #33   Fort Myers, FL  33907               239-936-8118

Mimi’s Cafe                        I am not a chain restaurant sort of person, however, Mimi’s is not your typical chain. 1) It’s French Countryside style 2) It’s a very small chain and 3) it retains it’s charming decor and delicious food and baked goods. Was treated to a wonderful breakfast of Crab Cake Florentine and Benedict. Loved to look at all of their memoribilia on the walls including old photographs from France. If you only drive down 41 from Naples to Fort Myers you will not see Mimi’s Cafe. You must turn into the Bell Towers Shopping Center at the corner of Daniel’s Parkway and 41. Go to the Daniels side of the Bell Towers shops.

Mimi’s Cafe   5070 Bell Towers Shops Ave.     Fort Myers, FL 33907       239 561-0073            

Welcome to WEST of 41


Bonita Sunset

Hwy. 41 is THE highway between Miami, Florida and Copper Harbor, Michigan; from Tampa to Miami it is also known as the Tamiami Trail.   I live somewhere along the Tamiami Trail, so SW Florida is home to me.  “WEST of 41” is a designation that is used to describe property that is located, ahhhhh, West of Hwy. 41 with the other landmark being the Gulf of Mexico.  So, when I invented the saying “WEST of 41 is BEST” please take that to mean that this includes beach front and other properties that are closest to the beach.  “WEST of 41” is an entire lifestyle that includes vacations, the beach, boating, kayaks, fishing, eating fish, wearing flip flops to dinner……

“WEST of 41” BLOG is to share an insider’s view of this area.; where to visit, what to do, vacation rentals, restaurants, shopping, real estate and lifestyle.

Did I say real estate?  My bad.  I am a REALTOR and I specialize in properties WEST of  Highway 41 from Sanibel Island to Naples including Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs.