Holiday Decorating Tips: Sanibel Style

Sanibel Florida BeachesGetting into the holiday spirit is lots of fun! Doing it Florida style is even more exciting because you can get so creative and really think outside the box. Who needs cold weather and snow to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest? Here are some holiday decorating ideas to get you started: 

Light Up Your Palm Trees

Turn your palm tree into a Christmas tree by adding lights and ornaments. You can also do this with your other tropical plants, inside and out. Use solid lights, multicolored lights, flashing lights, static lights, net lights, or all of the above, it’s up to you. Feeling lazy? Light snow projectors are easy to use and offer a variety of features like music, patterns, colors, and more.

Use Beach Inspired Decor

A beach and ocean theme is a great way to pull Florida and the holidays together. Experiment with different shells, crafts, sand dollars, and starfish ornaments. Wrap gifts in turquoise, blue, and vibrant beach colors. Make some holiday signs out of driftwood, a wreath with starfish and shells, mini seashell trees, and beach towel stockings. Hang clear ornaments filled with sand and seashells on the tree with a sandy tree skirt underneath. And don’t forget to bake some delicious sand dollar shaped sugar cookies.

You Don’t Need a Fireplace

Or a mantle for that matter. You can hang stockings almost anywhere! Hang them on the staircase, in the windows, on the doorknobs, and on the walls. As long as you can fill them up with goodies, you’ve found a good spot. A lighted floor stand is another great option to consider. Add some lights and sea life garland to the window frames and staircase railings. 

Add Faux Ice and Snow

Think about buying or making some fake snow. You’ll find some easy DIY recipes online. Sprinkle some snow on your outside trees and plants. Add some faux icicles and snowflakes to mix things up a bit.

If you’d like information about the Sanibel & Captiva real estate market, contact Phaidra McDermott today. She can help you find the right home on these beautiful Southwest Florida islands.


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    5 Reasons Sanibel Home Buyers Should Use an Agent

    Buying a Home on Sanibel IslandYou can start your Sanibel Island home search online, but you’ll never be able to replace a real estate agent’s guidance, insight, and local knowledge. Did you know that 87% of buyers used a real estate agent in 2018? This number has been increasing since 2001 when it was 69%. Here are some great reasons to use an agent when you buy your next home.

    1. An agent provides expertise. They save you valuable time and effort. The home buying process involves lots of paperwork. A real estate agent is familiar with forms, offers, counteroffers, disclosures, addendums, and amendments. 

    2. They supercharge your searching power. An agent has access to listings you may not be able to find online. They will find homes that are the best fit for your needs, your lifestyle, and your budget. A realtor knows the ins and outs of the local area and the price ranges for each neighborhood. 

    3. A realtor helps keep you relaxed and calm. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life, and a good real estate agent will be able to calm your nerves during the process. They will handle all communications and paperwork to give you peace of mind. Also, they can help you avoid costly mistakes and delays.

    4. A real estate agent negotiates on your behalf. If you have questions or concerns about a home before you submit an offer, your agent will communicate with the seller. They will negotiate repairs, credits, and sales price. You’ll get a competitive market analysis for homes currently on the market and properties that have recently sold. 

    5. They have all kinds of connections. A local realtor can connect you with mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and many other professionals you need. 

    If you’re planning to buy a home on Sanibel & Captiva, contact Phaidra McDermott

    Start Your Home Search


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      Staging Your Sanibel Island Home to Sell This Fall

      Sell Your Home on Sanibel IslandFall is officially here, even though we are still walking around in shorts and sandals on Sanibel Island. The weather is fantastic, the leaves haven’t changed or fallen, and life is great on our beautiful subtropical island in Southwest Florida. If you are thinking about selling your home this season, here are a few staging tips. 

      Think Less

      Remember, less is always more when it comes to staging. Buyers need to be able to see past the clutter and your personal belongings so they can imagine themselves living in your home. It’s very important to clean, declutter, and depersonalize your home. And don’t overdo it with fall decorations either. A couple of decorative containers with fall foliage, potpourri, or seasonal fruit is plenty.

      Enhance Curb Appeal

      If the outside of your home looks great, it will make buyers want to look inside your home. Water your yard and make sure the grass, trees, and bushes are green and trimmed. Pressure wash the exterior and consider repainting the front door, buying a new welcome mat, and hanging a seasonal wreath. If your mailbox or light fixtures need to be replaced, do it. If the numbers on your house are fading, polish them.

      Use Warm Colors

      Regardless of the weather or the color of the leaves in Southwest Florida, fall still brings a season of change. Make the interior of your home warm and inviting by adding a fresh coat of paint to your interior walls in warm neutral colors like caramel or cream. Use bolder fall colors for any accent walls. Then toss a couple of red or orange throw pillows on the couch.

      Read more about home staging & preparing your home to sell.

      If you’d like to sell your home on Sanibel Island, contact Phaidra McDermott today!


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        Sanibel Island House Hunting Tips

        Home Buying TipsBuying a new home is an exciting life changing event, especially when you’re buying a home on beautiful Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida! Make sure you work with an experienced real estate agent who has plenty of local area expertise and who can provide expert advice to keep you on the right track during your search. Here are a few preparation tips to make your home buying experience more rewarding. 

        Research Locations

        Do you want to be on the beach or close to town amenities? Do you need to be convenient to hospitals and local services? Keep these questions in mind as you consider which areas and neighborhoods are best for your needs.

        Make a List of Wants & Needs

        Take the time to make a list of the features you really need in a home and the ones you’d like to have. Outlining your specific needs and wants will help you and your agent find the homes that best match your criteria. 

        Get Pre-Approved

        A pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender tells you how much you’re able to borrow. It’s important to know your budget before you start shopping for homes. Getting pre-approved also helps you show sellers that you’re a serious contender when you submit an offer. 

        Dress for Comfort

        Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes when you go out to look at houses. You may tour lots of homes in a day, so think comfortable walking shoes with support and casual clothes with a relaxed fit to make the long days more enjoyable. 

        Be Ready to Make an Offer

        In case you walk into a home and absolutely love it, be prepared to make an offer. Your agent will work with you to make sure your offer is competitive and that it’s within your budget and the home’s value.

        Take Notes

        Keep notes on all of the homes you’ve looked at, what you like, what you don’t like. Listing out the pros and cons will help you narrow down your options. Revisit them once you’ve taken a break and look them over with a new perspective.

        Contact Phaidra McDermott for more information about buying a home on Sanibel Island or start your home search today!


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          Golfing on Sanibel & Captiva

          Golf Courses on Sanibel & CaptivaReady to take a break from the beach and enjoy a game of golf? Here is a list of the golf courses on Sanibel & Captiva. Click on the links below for more information. 

          The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club
          949 Sandcastle Road, Sanibel 

          Voted by Gulfshore Magazine as the “Best Golf Course in Lee County”, The Dunes is situated in a gorgeous wildlife preserve with breathtaking views, so it’s a great place to connect with nature. You’ll find beautiful lush tropical landscapes on the front nine and a wildlife preserve on the back nine. The 18 hole championship course features the only public aqua driving range on Sanibel or Captiva Island. The club also has an award winning restaurant and bar. 

          Sanibel Island Golf Club
          1100 Par View Drive, Sanibel

          Enjoy a game of golf in a natural setting with beautiful views of the Sanibel River. This 18 hole course has been voted “Sanibel Island’s Best Golf Value” and offers some great amenities and excellent service. Take a journey along the 200 acres of semi-manicured natural barrier island terrain. The course is fair though challenging for all levels. Plan to grab a delicious meal at Malia Island Fusion Cuisine after your game. 

          The Captiva Course at South Seas Island Resort

          This nine hole executive course, designed by Chip Powell, is voted as “One of the Top 5 Short Courses” in the world. The course accommodates all skill levels and abilities in a beautiful setting with views of the gulf and sandy shorelines. The resort has a variety of dining options including Harbourside Bar & Grill, The Pointe, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, and the Crooked Snook Tiki Bar.

          The Sanctuary Golf Club (Private)

          Recognized by Golf Digest as one of the best private courses in the U.S. and the club is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. This championship course was designed by Arthur Hills and borders the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge offering beautiful views of the Pine Island Sound and mangrove forests. The club boasts world class cuisine from an award winning culinary team and it also has a state of the art wellness center. The course is enjoyable and challenging. 

          If you want to venture out a little further, you’ll find plenty of golf courses in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. 

          To learn about real estate opportunities on Sanibel & Captiva Islands, contact Phaidra McDermott.


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            Best Public Walking Trails on Sanibel Island

            Walking Trails on Sanibel IslandThere are about 25 miles of walking and biking trails on Sanibel, which gives you a great opportunity to create your own path and explore the island. Or, choose one of these popular public walking trails below. Each trail offers a unique experience.

            Nature Center Trails 

            Enter through the SCCF nature center. For a shorter half mile walk, go to the Sanibel River Tower and back, or explore all 4.5 miles in the heart of the island through the interior freshwater wetlands.

            Periwinkle Preserve

            A restored migratory bird trail with an informational kiosk. Parking is available at the corner of Casa Ybel and Periwinkle Road at Jerry’s or Mango Bay. From there, walk or bike west on the Periwinkle bike path to the trail head (about 1/10 mile).

            Bob Wigley Preserve

            Bike or walk to the trail head, or drive and park at the Community Bank at the corner of Casa Ybel and Periwinkle Road. From there, walk to Casa Ybel bike path (about .5 mile) to two short trails in this 27 acre preserve. One trail leads to a gazebo and the other to an overlook on the Sanibel River.

            Bailey Homestead Preserve

            The 28.3 acres includes the family home and The Shipley Trail, which connects Roadside City Park and Pond Apple Park. The trail runs parallel to SCCF's Native Landscapes & Garden Center and begins at the Chamber of Commerce. 

            Sanibel Gardens

            The preserve is located just north of the Bailey Tract. Park at the trailhead and enter across from Bailey’s General Store. The trail is accessible from Inn Island Road. 

            Pond Apple Park

            Access the trail from the back left of the Chamber of Commerce parking lot. The trail is about 2.5 miles and is home to alligators, raccoons, and many rare and endangered species of birds.

            Bowman’s Beach

            The trail runs parallel to the beach, which offers some of the best remote beach space and shelling on the island. 

            Lighthouse Park

            Park at Lighthouse Beach and take a moment to view the Lighthouse, which is not open to the public. Also has a fishing pier and picnic area. 

            Indigo Trail

            The trail is four miles roundtrip and easy to access from the J.N. Ding Darling visitors center. There’s a good chance you’ll spot some wildlife along the way.

            Calusa Shell Mound Trail

            A short .40 mile trail provides information about the ancient history of the island and the Calusa tribe. Wheelchair accessible.

            Bailey Tract

            Park at the trailhead and walk or bike along the trail on loops from .3 miles to 1.1 miles. This is one of the lesser known trails at Ding Darling and is separate from the other trails on Wildlife Drive.

            If you're thinking about making a move to Sanibel Island, start your home search or contact Phaidra McDermott to learn about the local market.


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              Sanibel Island Sunset: Best Places for Viewing

              Sanibel Island SunsetSanibel Island boasts exceptional views of the sunset and here are a few of the spots that offer superior sunset views. Just keep in mind that the sun sets in different spots on the beautiful Southwest Florida horizon during different seasons. During winter months, the sun sets further to the south and in the summer it sets further to the north. 

              Blind Pass Beach

              This area is the farthest west on Sanibel Island and you can expect prime sunset viewing from this location any time of the year. Many visitors and locals go to this spot and it usually draws more of a crowd during peak season.

              Turner’s Beach

              Located to the north of Blind Pass, this beach faces semi-west and it’s a great place to watch the sunset and it’s also a popular spot for shelling. You’ll see some beautiful rock formations in the area but there is limited parking. 

              Causeway Islands Park

              Spend the day fishing, picnicking, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, shelling, sunbathing or relaxing in the shade. Then sit back and watch the beautiful sunset over the causeway for a one of a kind roadside experience.

              Bowman’s Beach

              Facing southwest, the sunsets from here are best viewed if you look to the north during the summer months. Another great place for shelling, swimming, picnicking, and a leisurely stroll along the beach.

              Sunset Cruises

              A sunset cruise on Sanibel and Captiva gives you the opportunity to go out on the shimmering waters and enjoy the sunset. You may even see some dolphins and other marine life. You’ll find a variety of cruises, charters, and boat rentals.

              For all of your Sanibel & Captiva real estate needs, contact Phaidra McDermott.


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                Where to Shop on Sanibel Island

                Shopping Sanibel IslandGet ready to enjoy some fun island shopping on Sanibel Island. You’ll find a variety of unique stores, specialty shops, and art galleries, and so much more. Many of the shopping areas offer plenty of parking and are convenient to restaurants in case you want to take a break and grab a bite to eat. Here are just a few of the popular places to shop.

                Periwinkle Place

                This shopping oasis is located on over 40,000 square feet and boasts 7 park like acres, 26 shops, and the Blue Giraffe Restaurant. The variety of shops offer something for everyone and include clothing, beachwear, jewelry, toys, gifts, island art, and much more.

                Olde Sanibel Shops

                A pet friendly shopping center with an assortment of boutiques like Island Paws, On Island, and JB Designs. It’s also home to the award winning Over Easy Cafe with outdoor dining. A favorite among locals and visitors alike.

                Tahitian Gardens

                From the whimsical to the elegant, this shopping mall features a variety of stores from clothing and jewelry to toys and unique gifts. Each store boasts a unique shopping experience and you’ll also find some delicious eateries.

                Bailey’s General Store

                A full service grocery and hardware store that also has a coffee bar and sushi to go, as well as a daily lunch and dinner menu. The store provides fresh produce, meats, seafood, gluten free products, and more. 

                Sanibel Farmers Market

                Open on Sunday’s from the first Sunday in October to the last Sunday in May. Features breads, honey, seafood, meats, flowers, cheeses, and local produce. Family friendly event. Dogs are not allowed in the vendor area. 

                Questions about Sanibel Island? Contact Phaidra McDermott


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                  Downsizing Your Home for Retirement on Sanibel Island

                  Retiring on Sanibel Island: Downsizing Your HomeAre you thinking about downsizing your home for retirement on Sanibel Island? Get ready to simplify your life, save a few bucks, and start a new adventure in Southwest Florida. 

                  Deciding to relocate and downsize can be a difficult, exciting, and emotional process. No matter if you’re moving a few miles away or to the other side of the country, downsizing can help you improve your finances and your lifestyle. A smaller home gives you lots of ways to save money. You can cut back on the amount of maintenance and upkeep, property taxes, utility bills, and more with a smaller home. This will give you the opportunity to do some traveling and cross off some of the things on your bucket list, too. 

                  It’s a great idea to start planning in advance. Here are some things you can do to make the downsizing process easier.

                  Keep an open mind. Try to look at all the positive aspects of moving into a smaller home. Your new home will require less upkeep so you can spend more time with your grandchildren. You’ll also have more time and money for leisure activities.

                  Plan ahead. Figure out how much downsizing you’ll really need to do. Imagine your new home and make sure it fits within your budget. Do you want to be on the beach? Close to town amenities? Is a condo or single family home best suited for your lifestyle and your budget?

                  Give yourself plenty of time. Go through your current home room by room and decide what items you want to keep, give to family or friends, donate, sell, or throw away. Don’t try to declutter or get rid of things too quickly. 

                  Start Your Home Search!


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                    Getting Your Home Ready to Sell on Sanibel Island

                    Home in FloridaHere are some tips to attract more buyers and increase your chances of selling your home faster and for a better price.

                    Clean the exterior. Pressure wash the exterior of your home to really freshen it up. Remove any bird droppings, dirt, mold, and mildew. Don’t forget to clean the rain gutters, windows, and screens.

                    Freshen up your lawn. Add a pop of seasonal color on your patio with some potted plants and flowers. Keep the yard mowed and edged and the bushes neatly trimmed. Add some fresh mulch, pull any weeds and remove dead plants.

                    Enhance your entryway. An inviting doorway makes buyers want to come inside. Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door, replace outdated hardware and light fixtures, and add welcoming decor like a new doormat. 

                    Scrub the inside. Clean everything in your home from the ceiling fans to the floors, including baseboards, windows, and windowsills. Pay extra attention to the bathrooms and kitchen and really make them shine. 

                    Get rid of clutter. A home with less inside is going to be easier to sell because buyers are easily able to see themselves living in the home rather than surrounded by your stuff. Decluttering your home will also help make your future move easier.

                    Depersonalize. Take down any family photos, school artwork, and other personal effects so these things don’t distract potential buyers. It’s important to neutralize your home decor so buyers can visualize your home as their own.

                    Get organized. Clean up and organize your kitchen and bathroom drawers and cabinets. Straighten up all of the closets and the utility room. Potential buyers may want to take a peek inside.

                    Stage your home. Make the rooms in your home appear larger by rearranging the furniture. Freshen up paint where needed. Keep clean towels displayed in the bathroom and fresh linens on the bed. Before each showing, turn on the lights and open up the blinds in every room to really brighten it up.

                    If you have any questions about selling your home on Sanibel Island, contact Phaidra McDermott, your trusted local realtor and lifelong island resident.


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