Benjamin Dona is a 18 year SW Florida gulf coast resident. He moved to SW Florida from St. Louis, Missouri in 1997. He and his wife, Terry Dona, were long time owners of a federally-regulated mortgage banking firm in multiple states and added an active real estate division - Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors - in 1998. Ben possesses multiple advance degrees in Business (MBA), Management (MA) and Pharmacy (BS) and spent his early years owning a chain of drugstores in the mid-west. Devoted to his business, buyer and seller education, and the protection of SW Florida's natural resources, he's an active real estate professional and a trusted sage on the world wide web for blogging about all things real estate related in Florida.
There are currently 260 blog entries published by Benjamin Dona.
Thursday, December 21st, 2017 at 3:52pm. 9,503 Views, 0 Comments.
A familiar phone call each week comes in, "I want to speak with the listing agent for property such and such." A very common occurrence in our office as our website lists all active properties for sale in the six major areas that we cover (Bonita Springs, Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva Islands – known as the Lee Island and Paradise Coasts). Let's chat a few minutes about representation in Southwest Florida and what you should know before making this inquiry.
You’re in a quandary when on the receiving end, because first and foremost the person on the other end isn't really interested in anything you answer, only whether or not you'll direct them to the listing agent. OK, with thousands of properties listed on our…
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 at 5:49pm. 8,251 Views, 0 Comments.
What You Need to Know if You Are Considering Signing Up with VBROBy Michael Lehnert onAugust 17, 2016 Posted in Condominium, Leasing, Real Estate
Relatively recently, sites like VRBO have revolutionized how people travel. They also have made it easier for the average person to rent out their home without the need for professional assistance.
Are you considering renting your second home or condo during this fast-approaching Southwest Florida tourism season? If so, have you considered that you might be fined if you don’t have a license?
What You Need To Know
Florida law requires anyone in Florida renting a home to guests more than three times a year for stays which are less than 30 days to have a license. This means most of…
Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at 2:40pm. 5,073 Views, 0 Comments.
The following is a round-up of recent news affecting mortgage interest rates and lending guidelines for 2015.
Mortgage interest rates have dropped dramatically to start off the new year. In some areas, 30 year fixed rate mortgages are available at 3.75% and 15 year fixed rate mortgages are as low as 3%. Falling oil prices and concerns over Europe's economy have driven the 10 year treasury rate below 2% and mortage interest rates have fallen accordingly.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will now allow 3% down payments for conventional fixed rate loans. Both entities have specific guidelines for using this program. Check with your lender for the specific details and criteria required.
The conforming mortgage loan limit between regular mortgages and jumbo…
Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 11:07am. 4,425 Views, 0 Comments.
Limited inventory continues to be the story of the Naples area real estate market as we head into season in SW Florida. Demand is definitely outweighing supply. Statistics* released Friday by the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) for the 3rd Quarter of 2014 showed an 11 percent decrease in closed sales year-over-year and 12 percent drop from August's sales numbers. Pending sales were down 10 percent year-over-year and dropped 4 percent from last month. Overall home prices continued to rise though jumping 13.5 percent to $265,000 year-over-year. For September, the closed sales price was up 1 percent to $262,000 from August's $260,000. Inventory fell 9% and average days on the market (DOM) shrank 45 percent year over year.
Here's the recap of the 3rd…
Sunday, August 17th, 2014 at 12:14pm. 3,823 Views, 0 Comments.
It's time for another look at how well Florida's Do Not Call Law is working to curtail one of the most annoying grievances Florida residents regularly complain about having to endure - the dreaded and unwanted phone solicitation.
It was seven years ago that we first blogged about how the state of Florida was getting serious about countering unsolicited phone calls from telemarketers of any sort. At that time (June, 2008), then Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson was happy with having collected $1.5 million in fines and judgements against companies that were found to have inappropriately contacted residents on the list over the first six months of the year.
This past week, now Commissioner Adam H. Putnam announced…
Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 12:50pm. 2,258 Views, 0 Comments.
The Bonita Bay Golf Club in Bonita Springs is updating and improving itself once again. Recently the club spent $11.5 million on the golf course and the clubhouse, changing out the pro-shop for a new 4,700 SF open air bar and casual grill. Now, with nearly 2,000 social, sports, and golf members, the association purchased (for $4.25 Million) the 60,000 SF Bonita Bay Medical Centre, located just to the back of the Creekside's golf course and next to The Promenade. The three story building will give the club plenty of room for expanding its services to its members.
Plans for the space, which will be called the Bonita Bay Lifestyle Center, include a new 18,000 SF fitness center with spa and a new high-tech golf training studio. The lifestyle center will…
Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 at 1:15pm. 3,402 Views, 0 Comments.
The following excerpts on economic expansion for the State of Florida come from The College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida's quarterly economic projection report for July 2014. According to their findings, between now and 2017, it is expected that Florida’s economy will expand at an average annual growth rate of 3.7% and payroll job creation will average an annual pace of 2.6%. Both measures are well above the pace expected for the national economy.
These are some of the highlights of the report with regards to the housing market:
- As of May 2014, 41.7 percent of single-family home transactions were cash sales, down slightly from 46 percent one year earlier. It's the fourth year in a row that cash sales were at 40…
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 7:04pm. 2,559 Views, 0 Comments.
Bankrate has released its annual survey on home loan closing costs* again. In Florida, the news was actually better than expected. For 2013, the closing costs on a $200,000 home purchase averaged $2,517, a fall of $323 over last year's cost of $2,840. And, while still expensive, Florida's number dropped it from No. 4 in 2012 to No. 9 on last year's list.
The survey found that the national average for origination and third-party fees this year totaled $2,402, up 6% ($138) from $2,264 in 2012. The results indicated the fees charged directly by lenders went up 8.4%, while fees charged by third parties for things such as appraisals and title insurance and title closing fees rose 3.2%.
Most interesting was the main reason given by the lenders for the cost…
Sunday, July 20th, 2014 at 6:59am. 2,517 Views, 0 Comments.
The Naples real estate market has cooled somewhat now that the summer season is in full swing in SW Florida. Statistics released yesterday by the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) for the 2nd Quarter of 2014 showed a 4 percent decrease in sales year-over-year and 1 percent from May's sales numbers. Pending sales were down 8 percent year-over-year and 11 percent from last month. Overall home prices continued to rise though jumping 10 percent to $273,000 year-over-year. For June, they were up 2.5 percent to $282,000 from May's $275,000. Inventory and average days on the market (DOM) shrank substantially year over year and from May to June.
Here's the recap of the 2014 2nd Quarter's numbers*:
- Overall closed sales increased 11 percent for homes…
Thursday, July 17th, 2014 at 3:28pm. 3,327 Views, 0 Comments.
The Florida Open golf tournament has not been held in SW Florida since the Florida State Golf Association took over the Florida Open in 2010. That will change this weekend as the Bonita Bay golf club will host the annual event at its Bay Island Course at Bonita Bay in Bonita Springs, and the Cypress Course at Bonita Bay East in North Naples.
The Florida Open dates back to 1942 and has been won over the years by such notables as Bob Murphy, Gary Koch, Bruce Fleisher, John Huston, Dudley Hart, and Bart Bryant.
The three-day, 54-hole tournament will host 156 players and have a cut to the low 60's plus ties after Saturday's second round. The final round will be played on the Cypress Course on Sunday. Locals teeing it up on Friday include: Charles…