Build Your Dream Home on Your Captiva or Sanibel Island Property

Building a home on Sanibel and Captiva Island is not as hard as you may imagine. We have several experienced, high quality local builders, and there is still desirable, vacant Sanibel and Captiva property available. Whether you are looking for lots on the Gulf of Mexico, on a Gulf access canal, Bayfront, inland or on one of our two golf courses, the Gee Family Team can help you find the best Captiva or Sanibel Island property to meet your needs.

John Sr. and Ann Gee moved into the home they built in October 2015. From our personal experience of selecting the land, contracting with a builder, and navigating through the steps of the building process, we can help answer any questions you may have. John tells his story below and gives you the process he went through to build the house. If you are interested, his house is available to personally tour as well. You can choose to build the same floorplan on your own Sanibel or Captiva property for approximately $400,000. Feel free to call Ann Gee at 239-850-0979 for any questions related to lots and building.


Three Bedroom




Screened Lanai


Large Two Car Garage


1873 Square Feet


Owner's Suite


$400,000 + Lot


As real estate brokers, my wife Ann and I are always showing homes, condos and lots on Sanibel. Early in 2014, I was researching the lot market and found an acre lot on Henderson Road, up near the Sanctuary Golf Club. Love at first sight! Very quiet area with lots of Palm trees. A project! A dream come true.

I got home that night and introduced the idea to Ann, my wife and best friend. Next, we went to look at the lot, with me not trying to “sell it” to her. It worked. We bought the lot and were able to negotiate the price by a whopping 2%! The reason being there was another offer on the table and we loved the lot. Now we own the lot and wanted to build a new home and stay under $400,000 in construction costs.

We ended up choosing Woodland Custom Homes. We now have a working relationship with Woodland and are showing our new home as a model you can build. Today, the model costs $400,000 and includes $45,000 in “soft cost allowances”. Soft costs include the cost of fill, clearing the lot, permitting work and permit fees.  We recently moved into our new Sanibel home and feel very fortunate. We got a very good value for the money. The floor plan is attached.

The advantage of building a new home is having a floor plan you can make changes to, and it is built with the current building codes including the latest wind rated hurricane impact resistant glass doors and windows. Briefly, the process of building a home on Sanibel Island takes between 10 and 14 months. Most of the following steps are completed by the builder with your input.

Step #1 – Order a survey; this will show how much coverage area you can use to “cover” the lot with the footprint of your house.  Coverages are determined by the eco-zone. The city of Sanibel’s maps show which zone your home is located in. It could be in a 15%, 20% or 30% coverage area. For example, an average lot on Sanibel is 100 feet by 130 feet. A 13,000 square foot lot with 25% coverage will allow you to build a home with a “foot print” of 3250 square feet to place a home and a pool. In addition to the foot print, the city allows 5% of the lot to be generally used for a driveway.

Depending on the size of the lot and the development issues, a survey can cost between $600 and $3000. It takes 2-3 weeks to get a survey completed.

Step #2 – Determine with the assistance of your Realtor is the lot is located in a subdivision with restrictions. If so, get a copy of the homeowner’s association documents and restrictions.

Step #3 – Call and make an appointment with the city of Sanibel’s planning department. Discuss the time of home you plan on building and ask them about set back requirements and the rules regarding landscaping, adding fill and clearing the lot.  This takes 2-3 weeks with no charges from the city.

Step #4 – Speak with some local builders and give them an idea of the type of home you want to build, the size and your budget.

Step #5 – Choose a builder. Have an understanding how much the house will cost and the amount of allowances the builder will allow. For example, the house will cost $400,000. Specifications allow for $15,000 in cabinetry, 10,000 in flooring, $3500 in appliances, $1500 for ceiling fans. Spell out the costs for the allowance items. In addition, the builder will need to handle “soft costs”- these generally cover building permits, water and sewer hook-up fees, and some extra allowances for the cost of fill dirt and the removal of prohibited vegetation. Our builder allowed $45,000 in soft cost allowances because we have a very long driveway (240 feet). The nature of the lot you are purchasing controls this expense. In a perfect world, buy a lot that does not require a lot of fill and a minimum amount of vegetation clearing/removal. Between designing a floor plan and getting a firm price from the builder, this can take 4-8 weeks.

Step #6 – Obtaining a development permit. Your builder submits a survey to the city planning department with the location of the home on the lot, floorplan, site improvements, set-backs, driveway location and appropriate distances from open bodies of water. The city assigns your development to a city planner.  It takes 6-8 weeks to approve the permit.

Step #7 – Once the city of Sanibel’s planning department approves your plan, the plans go to the building department. They review all of the actual building details to make sure you are conforming to all of the building codes.  The city’s goal is to have the plans approved within one month.

Step #8Now you are ready to see your home get built. The builder coordinates the various subcontractors to build your dream home. Generally, this takes approximately 6 months. Be aware of various city inspections that require approval by the building department. The house itself…the planning needs to sign off that everything meets the development permit and natural resources approves the vegetation requirements. Following these inspections, you receive your certificate of occupancy. The state of Florida requires that you obtain a one year warranty on your home.  We just recently moved into our new home (see the attached floorplan).  We love the open layout and new finishes. In addition, our insurance costs are substantially lower than an older, ground level home on Sanibel. The new building codes require that the home be elevated and hurricane impact resistant windows.  We are very pleased with our builder. She gave us a great value for the dollar. The entire building process start to finish took 14 months. Take a look at the process from start to finish:

Start to Finish of the Sanibel Model Home for $375,000.