Moving? 5 Things to Do Before You Pack

Moving TipsAre you planning to move in the near future? Here are some things to do before you start filling up boxes so you can make your move easier. With some planning and forethought, you can eliminate a lot of stress. 

1. Separate your items

Make a clean sweep through every room, closet, drawer, shelf, and cabinet in your home. Start with the biggest items first and work your way down to the smaller stuff. Categorize your belongings by things to keep, things to donate, things to sell, and things to throw away. 

2. Get rid of items you no longer need or want

Many charities offer free pickups for things you are going to donate. Go ahead and schedule it so you can get these items out of your way. Have a yard sale for anything you want to sell, or post it online. For the larger junk items that won’t fit into your trash bin, contact a haul away service or dumpster rental company.

3. Make a list of the items you’ll need right away

Once you get to your new home, think about the things you’ll need immediately. These are the items you want the movers to put on the truck last, so they are the first things to unload. Think about any essentials and important items you’ll need to get to right away. 

4. Designate a special area for items that won’t go with the movers

You may want to move some items in your personal vehicle. These may be things like sentimental jewelry, small heirlooms, financial documents, and small electronics. Put any of these items in a small room or closet so they don’t get mixed up with the other boxes. It’s important to know that moving companies are prohibited from moving hazardous materials. Your moving company will provide you with a list of these items. 

5. Make sure you have the right packing supplies

Take a look around at everything you need to pack. What box sizes do you need and how many of each size? What kinds of materials do you need to pack breakable items? Make a list so you don’t forget anything. Be sure to include tape, scissors, markers, labels, etc. If you have everything you need before you start packing, you won’t have to make any extra trips to the store.

If you need help buying or selling a home on the Sanibel & Captiva Islands, contact Phaidra McDermott today. 


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    Home Buyer and Seller Trends in 2019

    Sanibel & Captiva Florida RealtorIn November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), released the home buyer and seller profiles report for 2019. Here are some key findings from this year’s survey.

    Home Buyers

    • 89% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent.
    • 52% of buyers said that having an agent help them find the right home was what they wanted most when choosing an agent.
    • 90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend them.
    • 87% of buyers said their agent was a very useful information source.
    • The typical home search took 10 weeks.

    Buying a home is a major financial decision that can give you peace of mind and a great place to live. A good real estate agent will help you find just the right home for you. They will be your advocate, advisor, and guide throughout the home buying process. 

    Home Sellers

    • 89% of sellers sold their home through a real estate agent.
    • FSBOs sold for much less than homes sold with an agent. The median selling price for FSBO homes was $200,000 and the median selling price for agent-assisted homes was $280,000.
    • The typical seller lived in the home for 10 years.

    If you want to sell your home for the highest competitive price in the least amount of time, you’ll want to choose the right real estate agent. A good real estate agent will guide you through the home selling process with confidence and ease. 

    If you are looking to buy or sell a home on Sanibel or Captiva, contact Phaidra McDermott today. She’s happy to share her local knowledge and island real estate expertise with you.


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      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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