Phaidra McDermott

Tips for Staging Your Most Important Rooms

Beautifully Staged Home

Properly staging your home before selling has proven to increase the value and will often result in a quicker sale. The most important rooms of your home include the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen. The dining room, landscape, and bathrooms are next on the list. Guest bedrooms and the children’s bedrooms are generally considered [...]

Where to Find Live Music on Sanibel Island

Live Music with Acoustic Guitar

The music and nightlife scene on Sanibel Island is fairly low key, as it is a family oriented community. The restaurants and bars host local musicians and smaller acts in the evenings and on weekends. An evening performance of classical music is a short drive away in neighboring Ft. Myers. If you have a younger family member looking to cut [...]

Things to Consider Before Buying a Home for Retirement

Retirement Couple Walking On The Beach

When thinking about buying a home for retirement it is important to remember you will be growing older in the home. In addition to getting your finances in order, you will want to remember the importance of your social network, the proximity of grocery stores and healthcare, recreation, transportation, and the layout of the home (so you can [...]

Important Things to Disclose When Selling a Condo

Sellers Disclosure

The rules governing real estate sales vary from state to state. A seller’s disclosure is a document required by many states, but not all. Florida has a property disclosure-resident property form (SPDR) and a condominium disclosure form. Historically Florida has not required sellers to complete the forms, though the Florida Supreme Court [...]

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a 2nd Home

Beautiful Shoreline on Sanibel Island

Beautiful Shoreline on Sanibel IslandCaptiva Island and Sanibel Island may very well be the perfect location for your 2nd home. With the pristine beaches and heartwarming sunsets, you will enjoy year-round along with the golfing, biking, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, boating, and friendly shopping you will probably never want to leave. But you can return whenever you like knowing your little piece of paradise is in your hands. Phaidra McDermott is a lifelong resident of the islands and is well positioned to assist you in locating and purchasing your perfect waterfront home or condo on Sanibel Island or Captiva Island, or finding that once in a lifetime building opportunity! There are a number of things to consider when buying a second home. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before buying a 2nd home. 

1. Will this bring my family happiness? Of course, it will! A vacation home on either of these beautiful Florida islands will greatly improve your quality of life. Your family and friends will look forward to the yearly island pilgrimage as they join you for the month-long party in your waterfront home on Sanibel or Captiva Island. Perhaps you will plan your vacations around hurricane swells and cold fronts during shoulder season to take advantage of surf-able waves for the annual family surf-off (and don’t forget to bring breakfast in bed to the designated officials…nepotism can’t exist when everyone is family, so you’ll want to take advantage of every possible angle when garnering favor with the judges). And of course, the yearly shelling competition, organized by grandma, will bring smiles to the grandchildren and aspiring marine biologists in the family. 

2. Can I afford this? Owning a second home is expensive. You will want to run the numbers. A higher down payment is required for a second home, and you will have to meet a debt to income ratio of 43% or less to qualify for a second mortgage with most lenders. 

3. Can I rent out my 2nd home? Renting out your vacation home is a great way to make the numbers work. Of course, there are things to consider, like bylaws when renting out a condominium and peak rental times. Sanibel and Captiva Island do offer something unique, it’s always a great time to visit. You will be able to rent your home all year long, though some seasons will command a higher income. The peak season is December to April, as the rest of the country is looking for a retreat to escape the winter cold to enjoy the 72º-75ºF average island temperatures. You can rent out some of the prime months of the year (and command the highest rental rate during the high season) and enjoy your home with family and friends for the rest of the year in low season and shoulder season. The surf’s up during shoulder season on the island, thanks to the hurricane swells, and you’ll be sitting pretty in the waves hanging ten. There are plenty of investment and rental property opportunities available on the islands. I am here to answer all your real estate questions. 

4. How will I manage my property? Working with a property management company can ease some of the daily operations when you plan to rent out your home. A property management company, such as Select Vacation Properties, can take care of marketing your home to renters and streamline the reservations, house cleaning, maintenance, and local bureaucratic regulations. 

5. How will this affect my taxes? If you purchase strictly as a 2nd home and do not rent the home, you will be able to deduct mortgage interest up to $750,000. The IRS will recognize your home as a rental property if you rent it out 14 days or more per year, and the interest paid on the mortgage can’t be deducted though there may be additional tax benefits (deducting property tax, deducting operating expenses). You will definitely want to discuss this with your accountant before moving forward. 

I look forward to helping you locate your perfect tropical vacation home on Sanibel or Captiva Island. Contact me today!

Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't FSBO


Selling your home is a time consuming endeavor, especially for those inexperienced in the process. The allure of saving on agent commission fees leads many home sellers to forgo hiring a knowledgeable and well connected real estate agent. The “can do” independent spirit of the American homeowner can be put to far better use. Partnering with [...]

Sanibel Restaurants on the Water

Waterfront Restaurants in Sanibel Florida

Looking to explore some fabulous waterfront dining spots in Sanibel? With so many beautiful beaches and stunning ocean views, why wouldn’t you want to spend as much time as possible enjoying them? Sanibel Island has some excellent waterfront restaurants, including casual and fine dining options and a variety of cuisines. Here are a few of [...]

Best Seafood Restaurants on Sanibel Island

Seafood Cuisine

If you're a seafood lover, you're in luck! Because Sanibel has many fantastic seafood restaurants with delicious cuisines to match! Sanibel Island is a true tropical paradise, and if you're one for unique culinary experiences, there are several top-notch seafood restaurants on this beautiful island to wow your every [...]

How to Choose the Right Retirement Destination

Florida Beaches

Florida BeachesWhen it's time to retire, you enter a very exciting chapter in your life. For some people, retirement presents them with an opportunity to spend more time with their grandkids, take year-long trips around the world, or return to their old hobbies. 

Even so, with retirement comes the overarching issue of choosing the right retirement destination to live out your golden years. Ideally, most people would prefer to retire in a lush tropical location with all the quiet and splendor, but truthfully not everyone can afford this dream. 

Therefore, deciding where to live after retirement is a key life decision that requires careful thought and proper planning. You have to consider a few things. Do you have enough savings to last you a few decades comfortably? Or will you need a part-time venture or job to supplement and keep you afloat? Such important considerations can help you determine the best place to live out your retirement dream.

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the right retirement destination:

Tax Advantages

As a prospective home buyer, you need to be aware of the various tax benefits different retirement destinations have to offer. Florida, for example, is one of the most tax-friendly states in the U.S. for retirees. Property taxes are quite low, and there's no income tax on retirement income. Tax planning is key to maximizing your retirement savings, but don't be too hung up on tax savings, also consider the overall cost of living since these two things go hand in hand.

The Climate

Some areas have warm and temperate climates year-round. Others have both warm and cold extremes. If you are not used to a particular extreme, adjusting to your new location can be difficult and stressful. So choose a comfortable location with the best weather, especially if you're planning to do some outdoor activities. Aside from temperature, pay attention to other climate factors like humidity and consider how they affect your health and lifestyle. 

Availability of Medical Coverage & Services

Access to quality healthcare is a necessity since you're at an age when you’re probably going to need it the most. Therefore, when deciding on where to retire, take some time and research the medical coverage options available in your potential area, as well as accessibility to healthcare services. In some cases, you may need to purchase an additional private insurance policy. In others, you could benefit from government-sponsored health programs. All the same, it's important to know your options early to avoid issues down the road.

Leisure Activities

Some retirees prefer to live an active lifestyle. Others prefer to take things at their own pace in a more relaxed manner. If you're one for the outdoors, finding a location with plenty of hiking and biking trails might be a better fit for you than a busy, crowded city. By thinking through what leisure activities you would love to engage in your pastime, you can make the best decision on where to buy your retirement home.

Social Amenities

When evaluating the right retirement destination, you should consider the surrounding amenities. After retirement, many individuals feel compelled to retreat to a quiet secluded life, but end up forgetting they still have to keep up everyday activities, run errands, and pursue their interests and hobbies. In that case, if you wish to lead an engaged lifestyle, find a locale with fitness centers and other types of recreational activities to keep your body and mind active.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all locale that is ideal for all retirees. Everyone has their unique wants and needs when it comes to choosing the perfect retirement destination, and that's okay because we all have different lifestyles and financial capabilities. If you’d like more information about buying a home on the beautiful Sanibel or Captiva Islands, contact Phaidra McDermott, an established real estate agent and lifelong resident of Sanibel Island.