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Old 03-18-2016, 10:35 AM
 
2 posts, read 45,160 times
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My husband and I have spent most of this past winter looking at retirement possibilities in southwest Florida. In our search we have found canal-front houses so expensive with huge HOA fees in Estero, Bonita Springs, and Fort Myers. This is not the case in Cape Coral which is just north of where we wanted to buy. Why??
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Old 03-18-2016, 11:18 AM
 
Location: North Port,FL
249 posts, read 289,403 times
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Be careful of the canal front homes. Do you want gulf access? If so, expect much higher prices. The Cape has quite a few freshwater canal homes. Nothing wrong with them, except if you want access. Also be careful of long rides to the gulf.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Golden GateEstates
320 posts, read 347,568 times
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They still have water and sanitation issues in Cape Coral that will be long lasting. A lot of homework needs to be done if you choose to live here.

I chose not to. Too many upcoming surprises. I doubt if things have changed that much.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:50 PM
 
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One reason that canal-front homes in Cape Coral are somewhat less expensive is old fashioned supply and demand. Cape Coral has a big supply. There are about 400 miles of canals in Cape Coral. With 2 sides to each canal, that's 800 miles of canal-front property (actually slightly less, as some canals are adjacent to the mangroves, and have homes on just one side of the canal). Of those 400 miles of canals, 225 miles of canals (450 miles of canal frontage) have access to salt water and the Gulf. 175 miles of canals (350 miles of canal frontage) are "land-locked", and they are dead-end canals to nowhere that are freshwater canals. That's a lot of canal frontage, even if you just count the saltwater access canals. Those other towns have nowhere near that much canal-front property, so they have a relatively small supply, so those few canal front properties in those other towns command a higher premium.


As others have mentioned, you do need to research how long of a canal ride it is to the open water. Some people don't care as much, as they enjoy cruising down the canal taking in the sights and waving to their neighbors. Others want to be "on the fish" in open water as soon as possible. So, obviously personal preferences come into play.


Best luck in your search!
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Cape Coral
390 posts, read 544,576 times
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In addition to what Living the Florida Dream said:

Bonita and Estero are more expensive just because they're closer to Naples. The farther south you are, the more expensive the houses, on canals or otherwise.

Cape Coral is farther away from beaches than the other communities. The beach at the Yacht Club doesn't count as a beach for this purpose because it's on the Caloosahatchee, which is really gross.

There are concerns about water supply. Much of the city is still on wells and septic systems, which puts a lot of prospective buyers off. That's one of the reasons why houses are so much more expensive in south Cape than north. I haven't heard much good about being on city water in areas that have it. I personally like being on a well, but I have a whole house RO system, which makes all the difference in the world. I'll also eventually get socked with a ~$20,000 bill for the city water and sewer utilities when they expand to where I live. You have to plan for that if you are looking at the north part of CC. That's another reason why houses in south CC are more expensive, they've probably already paid the assessment. This is something to be aware of. Some people are financing the assessments, and you might end up taking over the payments for them. You have to specifically look for that when buying a Cape house.

Weird politics... CC is run kind of like an HOA, and the city government has a notoriously voracious appetite for tax and fee (which, of course, is just tax by another name, only without a vote by the people that pay it) dollars. People that know about it are a bit leery of living under the way government is run here. I personally haven't had much problem with it, but there have been a few head scratchers that make me wonder how it was possible that they went that way.

Landscape. CC was cleared when they built it, and all the vacant lots get mowed several times a year, so the native vegetation doesn't get a chance to grow back. Much of it looks like a Kansas prairie, and is so different from everything else around that a lot of people don't like it. Being from Colorado, it actually made me feel a bit more at home when I moved here, but now that I'm becoming more Floridaified, I kind of wish I'd have picked a spot that was a little more in tune to the regional landscape. A lot of older developed neighborhoods that have mature landscape look really nice, but out here in the NW sticks, it will be quite a while before it has that tropical paradise look.

Jobs... there are none.

Last edited by NoSnow4me; 03-18-2016 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:58 PM
 
179 posts, read 291,992 times
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I agree with NoSnow4me on the other factors he he/she mentioned. I have always wondered about the lack of trees issue in the Cape, and if there was a connection to there being so many mid-westerners here. (NoSnow4me - I assume you're from eastern Colorado ... or at least east of the Rockies, as you mentioned it reminds you of home). With so many Midwesterners in the area, is there a lack of trees simply because the native Midwesterners don't really notice a lack of trees, or are not all that bothered by it? What say you my mid-western friends? My other half is a midwest native, by the way, and she was amazed at all the trees in the eastern U.S.

Lots of developments get clear cut by developers, but then the locals plant trees to replace them. In Cape Coral, many of the locals never bothered to plant trees. For the heavily vegetated neighborhoods you see with beautiful Royal Palms and Coconut Palms you see on the east side of South Florida, as well as parts of SW FL, those trees did not fill in naturally. They were planted by locals/residents. If you let an area naturally fill in, it would be mostly low-rise palmetto scrub, some pines, wild grasses and vines, ... with very few "nice" looking palms. With the exception of the Keys and a few patches of the far southern part of the state, Florida just does not get large lush expanses of nice, coconut palms like you'd see in the Caribbean of South Pacific. Left to its natural state, Florida would be quite scrubby. It was hell for early settlers to cut through. I can't really blame the early developers for clearing out most of that stuff. It had to be removed for the canals and for room to build, ... and it would have not been desirable vegetation by most residents, anyway (except for some of the pines). The part that is lacking is the planting of new trees after the clearing of the land. Some of that could have been done by the developer, but we as locals can do it, as well. It would be great to see a group lead a citizen effort to encourage the local residents to plant more trees. Small palms from the local nurseries are not that expensive, and they grow in pretty quickly. We all just need to take that step.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:13 PM
 
2 posts, read 45,160 times
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You've given me a lot to think about. Thank you!
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:33 PM
 
4,722 posts, read 14,813,116 times
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Midwesterners don't care for trees?
I believe there is more then cornfields in the Midwest.
Very strange statement, or just silly.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:50 PM
 
180 posts, read 243,018 times
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We chose an area where people have landscaped and planted trees. But i have always been puzzled that in some areas people dont seem to care. I guess to each his own. I am used to trees and shrubs, its the norm in wisconsin where i come from. But is it difficult to maintain a yard here? I guess we will find out.
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:54 PM
 
180 posts, read 243,018 times
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NoSnow4me - what is the tax and fee that you speak of? Getting permits to build or something like that?
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