How to Get Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of Your House

There are some supplies you’ll want to purchase to prepare for the cleaning that is about to happen:

  • Rags (lots and lots of rags)
  • White Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle
  • Baking Soda
  • Ammonia
  • HEPA A/C filter
  • Steam Cleaner

Get the air circulating with open windows and fans

The first step is an obvious one. We need to open every window in the home and turn every single fan on. Replacing the indoor air with some fresh air from outside will get you well on your way.

Wash or throw away any fabrics in the home

Ever go to a very smoky bar and even after you’ve left you can still smell the cigarette smoke on your clothes? The same applies in your home. Things like curtains, carpets or any upholstery that is staying in the home will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Things like fabric window coverings should be able to be washed in the washing machine. Here’s a trick—instead of laundry detergent, use a cup o white vinegar. Then, wash again using detergent. Allow them to air dry. Ideally, you can throw these items away and replace with your own new ones. If this is your choice, do not bring the new items into the home until the smell is completely gone or you’ll just get the new ones smelling bad too.

If replacing the carpet isn’t an option, the carpets will need to be steam cleaned. First though, sprinkle baking soda all over the carpets liberally. Let it sit for a few days. Then, you can rent a steamer at many grocery or hardware stores here in Naples. Make sure you get one with an upholstery attachment because you will use that on any furniture that is remaining. Repeat the process as necessary.

Clean up the HVAC system

Your air conditioner’s handler is your next stop. I would encourage having it professionally cleaned by a local company such as Conditioned Air. The air handler is taking air in around the clock so it only makes sense to have it professionally cleaned. Then, replace the A/C filter and go with the absolute best HEPA filter.

I know it’s a big step but having the air ducts professionally cleaned is another great thing to do to eliminate cigarette smoke smell in the home. There are a number of air duct cleaning companies in Naples so ask for recommendations in the Facebook Naples, FL group.

Wash the hard surfaces in your home

Grab your spray bottle and some rags and mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and hot water. You need to wipe down every square inch of hard surfaces—light fixtures, door knobs, ceiling fan blades or anything else that came into contact with cigarette smoke needs to be wiped down.

Scrub the walls too

I know, this is hard. If you want the smoke smell out of your home, you’re going to need to scrub the walls. Use a mixture of 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/4 cub vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda per gallon of hot water. Spray, wipe. Stay, wipe. Repeat.

Use ventilators to push air out of the home

Renting two ventilators (or more if you can afford to do so) is a great option. Placing one ventilator in the room to push air toward a window while another ventilator is at the window pushing the air out is a great technique. You can move your two ventilators around the home or use more as budget allows.

Paint the walls (and ceiling)

Drastic? Yep, but it really helps a lot. The walls of your home can harbor that nasty smoke smell so painting them after they’ve been cleaned is a great way to eliminate cigarette smoke smell from your home.

Look at it on the bright side—you wanted a fresh coat of interior paint in your brand new home anyway. This is just a good motivator to do so.

That’s a wrap! Have a better method of getting cigarette smoke odor out of a house?

If you have a method that works for you, please share it in the comments!

Why Do I Love This StoneCreek Listing So Much?

My wife, Laney and I, listed this home in StoneCreek (you can see it here) and we both absolutely love it. There isn’t one particular reason we like it but rather a collection of great features and benefits that make it the total package. Contact us and see it in person but first, let’s have a look at some of those characteristics that make it so special.

The layout and flow of the home

This StoneCreek home was built in 2017 and is the “Merlot” floor plan (floor plan) and features 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths and a huge loft upstairs for a total of 3,215 square feet. There’s a 3 car garage as well. What’s great is that the master bedroom and one of the guest bedrooms are downstairs so the layout works for everyone. Downstairs also has a living area, dining room, family room and kitchen.

The pool and the view

The owners had this pool custom built just last year and they made incredibly great choices. First of all, the pool has the two water features and the sun shelf (seen in the bottom right of the picture). It’s such a great pool to relax in, especially with the lanai TV where you can watch the game and relax in the pool at the same time! The travertine decking is a big step up from brick and stays cool in the sun. Plus, did you notice how the lanai has the photo frame screen? There aren’t any support bars for the entire back section of screen so the lake view is completely unobstructed.

I love the lake view on this particular home because it looks lengthwise down the lake. A big lot premium was paid to have the privilege of having this view!

The custom millwork and shiplap walls

I’m not sure who the carpenter was that did this work but I’d like to shake his or her hand. It is so well done and really makes the rooms stand out. With such tall ceilings, plain walls like the builder supplies can often look bland. I really like how the wood is angled to align with the staircase so perfectly.

The custom woodwork is featured throughout the house but I wanted you to see the master bedroom. It’s such a subtle touch but doesn’t the wall look so much better with this?

A gas powered home with an awesome kitchen to cook in

Very few neighborhoods in Naples have gas for appliances and I hear complaints from my “up north” buyers all the time because they don’t want an electric stove. I completely understand – cooking on gas is just better. Well, you’ll find that here in StoneCreek!

There’s a huge island in the middle of the kitchen with 4 stools and can be used as a great place to sit and eat.

You’ll also find the breakfast area that’s spacious and has lake and pool views through the beautiful bay windows. I could picture myself with the family sitting there for a meal. It’s just a really cool space.

Resort amenities that rival any vacation spot

Finally, the amenities. GL Homes built StoneCreek to be a community centered around unheard of amenities. There is an indoor basketball court! How many other communities can say they have that? There’s a massive pool with a lap pool and spa attached. How about a kid’s pool area with waterslides? Check! There’s a fitness center that will take the place of the gym you’re paying for. There’s billiards, a card room, social room, yoga/dance studio and a playground for the kids.

Are you ready to take a private tour of this home?

If you’re looking for a beautiful and spacious home in North Naples, you really should have a look at 4123 Aspen Chase Drive. This is one of those houses that we just don’t see hitting the market every day. It’s one of the most sought-after floor plans in StoneCreek and for good reason. There’s a flow to the home. The rooms are exactly where you’d want them to be with 2 downstairs and 3 upstairs. There are cozy nooks where you can curl up with a book or take a quick nap. There’s a 3 car garage which we don’t see as much as I’d like to. It’s just 4 years old but feels like it was finished yesterday. It has a custom pool and not just one of the few cookie-cutter pools that the builder had as options. It truly is one of my favorite properties that I have ever listed.

Contact me and take a no-obligation tour.

Things to do in Naples, Florida

Things to do in Naples on the water

Hit the Beaches

naples-public-beaches

It should come as no surprise that our first activity involves the beautiful beaches of Naples, Florida. With miles and miles of public beach access, you can be on the sugary white sand in no time! The water temperature ranges from a low of 67° in January to 86° in August. You will have plenty of options as to which beaches to visit. Some of our favorites are Delnor-Wiggins State Park in North Naples, Lowdermilk Park, or Clam Pass Park.

If you’re a resident of Collier County, be sure to pick up your annual beach parking permit to make visiting the beaches even easier (and free!).

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Fish off of the Naples Pier

naples-pier-naples-florida

The Naples Pier is located at the end very west end of 12th Avenue South and offers an amazing opportunity for visitors to enjoy a great day of fishing. At around 1,000 feet long, the pier has room for everyone! There are public restrooms with showers, a concession stand and beach supplies. You can even buy your bait at the pier.

What will you catch? You’ll find that just about everything is available off the pier including grouper, snook, sheepshead, redfish and even sharks! You don’t even have to have a license to fish from the pier so it’s a really great spot for people just visiting our great town.

Before you go, be sure to read the Naples Pier rules to avoid a ticket and fine.

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Cape Romano Dome House

cape-romano-dome-house

If you want a quick lesson in man vs. the environment, take a boat or jet ski ride down to the Cape Romano Dome House. The Dome House was built in 1979 with no intentions of being accessible by boat. Between storms and strong currents, the land was slowly washed away stranding the structure out at sea.

Bring a fishing pole if you visit the Cape Romano Dome House. It’s a popular spot for both fishermen and visitors now.

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Golden Gate Aquatic Center

golden-gate-aquatic-center

The Golden Gate Aquatic Center is a great place to take some lessons or bring the kids to play. The facility features a huge heated pool, wading pool and two water slides. There’s even both a 1 and 3 meter springboard.

Children under 3 are welcome for free while adults pay just $2.00 to enjoy the facility.

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Naples Princess

naples-princess-dinner-cruise

So full disclosure–this is one of my favorite things to do here in Naples and a really great spot to bring visitors. My wife and I have taken the cruise with visitors many times and it just doesn’t get old.

The Naples Princess is a 105-foot luxury yacht with the capacity for 149 people. You can take a tour of Naples Bay, see the gorgeous homes in Port Royal, or take in a sunset on the Gulf of Mexico. You can even take a dinner cruise and enjoy the bar. One of my favorite aspects of the Naples Princess is that you can go on the very top deck for the best views or enjoy the air conditioning inside the vessel.

There are daily cruises yet private charters, group events and even weddings are available on the boat.

Pro tip: You can often find deals on Naples Princess cruises on Groupon.

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Keewaydin Island

keewaydin-island-naples-fl

Keewaydin Island is a barrier island between Marco Island and Naples with close to 8 miles of beach and is only accessible by boat. It’s a great place for boaters to unwind and even bring their dogs–it’s the only Collier County beach that is pet-friendly. It’s a great place to enjoy the day with other boaters, swim or go shelling. Be prepared though as there are not any bathroom facilities or businesses on the island. However, various boats sometimes pass by offering refreshments.

How do you get there if you don’t own a boat? There are a number of shuttles, such as the Hemingway Water Shuttle, that offer rides to the island. You can also rent your own boat or jet ski.

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Rent a Canoe or Kayak and Explore

Kayaking in Naples FL

Another one of my favorite activities here in Naples, Florida is to grab the kids and rent a kayak. Exploring the local waterways in a canoe or kayak is a lot of fun. There are plenty of companies here that also provide guided tours. It can definitely get pricey to rent a canoe or kayak for an extended trip so do a little research and find the best deal for that day.

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Take a Sunset Boat Excursion

naples-sunset-cruise

Naples is known for its amazingly beautiful sunsets and our beaches are a fantastic place to relax and watch the sun disappear over the horizon. However, taking a sunset cruise on one of our boats is an even better experience in my opinion.

Pictured is the highly-rated Sweet Liberty Sunset Cruise that will take visitors on a 53′ catamaran from the Naples City Dock and into the Gulf of Mexico. Prices are around $40 for adults. The aforementioned Naples Princess is another fantastic option for catching a sunset.

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Go Shelling

Shelling on Naples beaches

The beaches of Naples and Marco Island make an outstanding place to stroll and find beautiful shells and you have many places to choose from. One of the most popular spots for locals is Barefoot Beach which is just north of Delnor-Wiggins State Park and can be access from Bonita Beach Road.

For the adventurous, consider renting a boat or taking a ferry to one of the remote barrier islands. Keewaydin Island is another great spot for shelling. Finally, a day trip to Sanibel Island can also be a fun way to find some of Southwest Florida’s best shells.

Please remember that it is illegal to take live creatures so be careful when finding starfish and sand dollars.

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Deep Sea Fishing or Backwater Fishing

Deep sea fishing in Naples, Florida

There are so many opportunities to fish the waters of Naples, Florida and one of the most fun ways is on a boat! Naples is full of incredibly skilled captains that can take you far offshore to fish the underwater wrecks or stay in the backwaters of the 10,000 Islands or our bays.

Companies like Pure Florida Deep offer a couple of ways to enjoy deep sea fishing. You can charter your own private boat for small groups or you can join other friends and families on their larger boat to save a little money.

Get out on the water and catch those group, snapper, mahi, snook and redsfish!

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Rent a Jet Ski

Jet Ski Rental Naples Fl

Jet skis are a blast and there are plenty of companies that rent them here in Naples and Marco Island. They can be rather pricey at around $120 per hour on average but it’s a great experience to have under your belt. There are even companies that provide jet ski tours of the mangroves and backwater.

Check sites like Groupon before you rent though. There are often good deals to be had!

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See the Manatees

Manatees in Naples Florida

What could be cooler than seeing wild manatees (or sea cows) in the water? These massive yet gentle animals are in the waters of Southwest Florida year-round so there’s always an opportunity to see them. However, finding them can be a challenge.

One of your best chances of seeing manatees comes with a boat ride with a local captain. The captains know best where the manatees will be depending on the time of year. Companies such as Manatee Eco-Tours will take you by boat to look for these gentle giants.

If the weather turns cold, there’s an even better option in my opinion. Just north of Fort Myers is the Lee County Manatee Park. This place is awesome! There is a power plant adjacent to the park that expels warmer water into the channel. The manatees come in droves to enjoy that warmer water and you can walk right up to the canal and see them up close and personal. The best months are December, January and February as that is when the water is the coolest. The park is located at 10901 State Road 80.

Important note: It is absolutely illegal to touch or harass a manatee. If you see them in the wild, please keep your distance and enjoy watching them in their natural habitat.

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Yoga on the Beach

Yoga on the Gulf of Mexico Beach

You may have tried yoga in a studio but have you ever practiced yoga on the beautiful beaches of Naples? Listen to the waves crash as you relax. Many of our local yoga teachers have sessions where the price is your donation. Give Donation Yoga or Naples Beach Yoga by Innergy Health a try.

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Things to do in Naples on the land

The Village Shops on Venetian Bay

Village on Venetian Bay - Naples, Florida

Visit the Village on Venetian Bay when you’re in Naples for some incredible waterfront dining and shopping. There are over 45 shops and restaurants to check out and the shopping center is very walkable. It’s just one block from the beach at the intersection of Gulfshore Blvd. and Parkshore Blvd. in Naples. You can take a look at the full directory of restaurants and shops here.

What I personally love about Venetian Village is the ability to sit outside in the cooler months and be just feet away from the water. There’s really something for everyone in this shopping center so definitely make it a point to see it!

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Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden

The Naples Botanical Garden is a 170 acre garden just a few miles from Downtown Naples where visitors can walk through and see some of the most beautiful flowers, plants and trees in a truly gorgeous setting.

My favorite part of the Naples Botanical Garden is the Orchid Garden. Orchids from around the world are showcased and something is always blooming! Bring your camera for this part!

There are events throughout the year so be sure to check their calendar before you go.

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The Naples Players at the Sugden Community Theatre

Naples Players Community Theater

Located right in the heart of 5th Avenue South is a great opportunity for visitors to take in some theater. The Naples Players offers a number of performances each season with tickets being very affordable. Make an event out of it and have dinner at one of downtown’s amazing restaurants before taking in a show.

If you’re interested in participating, the Naples Players have educational classes available for both youth and adult actors. Already good enough to be in a show? Audition! You could end up in one of next season’s shows!

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Sun-N-Fun Lagoon

Naples Sun N Fun Lagoon Waterpark

Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a must-do activity here in Naples and super fun for the entire family. There are 5 water slides, a lazy river, family pool, toddler pool and even a diving pool with springboards! We’ve taken our two sons there and they absolutely love it–they can spend the entire day there having fun.

The park is located in North Naples near Immokalee Road and Livingston Road in North Collier Regional Park. Children 3 and under get in free. Kids under 48″ pay just $4.50 and everyone else gets in for only $8.00.

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Artis-Naples

Artis-Naples-Philharmonic

Artis-Naples is your home in Naples for the performing and visual arts. Artis features the Naples Philharmonic and the Baker Museum and is located near Pelican Bay and the Waterside Shops.

There are events throughout the year at Artis. Our local philharmonic members put on outstanding shows but touring acts come to the facility as well. In fact, I saw Bill Cosby perform about 10 years ago (before his legal troubles).

Check the Artis-Naples calendar and plan your visit!

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Naples Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is an Audubon sanctuary located about a half-hour from Naples in the heart of the Everglades. The park features a 2.25 mile boardwalk where visitors can see very diverse ecosystems. Your walk begins at the nature center and takes you through flatwoods, wet prairie, a marsh and a Bald Cypress forest. You’re bound to see animals in this incredible park. There are plenty of alligators, otters, deer and more. I even saw a spider eating a snake there! Check out the video below.


This huntsman spider was on a tree, feet above the water, and had a snake in it’s grasp. Really, what could be more entertaining to visit than Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary where spiders eat snakes?

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Tin City

Tin City Naples

Just east of 5th Avenue South and on the Naples waterfront is Tin City. It is a truly eclectic group of shops and restaurants as well as vendors selling sight-seeing attractions or fishing excursions. This is a must-do when you’re in Naples. Just look at how many different vendors are in this one area!

You will also find a number of activities based here such as Pure Florida for fishing/sight-seeing and Trike Tours USA.

You can spend all afternoon at Tin City and then have a fantastic seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants.

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Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

Naples Zoo at Carribean Gardens Giraffe Feeding

The Naples Zoo is a great spot to spend an afternoon outdoors with the animals. There are plenty of exhibits and shows throughout the day and some really unique attractions. The zoo is centered around a very large lake that has small islands in it. Each island houses a different species of monkey or ape and you can hop on a pontoon boat for a guided tour! My kids love it!

As great as the boat ride to see primates is, nothing beats feeding the giraffes by hand. Naples Zoo is home to five male giraffes and they’re friendly as can be. Guests can purchase a few leafs of romaine lettuce for $5 and have the opportunity to hand them to a giraffe to eat.

There is a really nice playground at the front of the property so your kids can burn off some extra energy after touring the zoo. There’s a cafeteria and other refreshment stations throughout the zoo grounds. When all is said and done, you leave through the gift shop where you can purchase toys, clothing and other souvenirs.

Pro Tip on visiting the zoo: Groupon regularly has deals for memberships at the zoo. Do the math on it but if you plan to go 2 or 3 times in a year, it may work out better to pay for the annual membership. Also, the Naples Zoo offers Collier County residents free admission on the first Saturday of each month. The free Saturday program has been suspended during the pandemic but should start up again soon.

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Off the Hook Comedy Club

Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples Florida

Off The Hook Comedy Club is located right in the heart of North Naples and is a great place to spend an evening. The club features a full liquor bar and a full menu making it a great place to unwind and see some touring comedians.

If you haven’t been to the club before, I think you’ll be shocked at some of the big names the club draws in. Jim Breuer, Carlos Mancia, Kevin Nealon, Mike Epps and even Ron White of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour have taken stage at Off The Hook.

There are usually 2 shows per night making it pretty easy to get a babysitter and see one. Check their calendar of performers and get some tickets!

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Naples Trolley Tours

Naples Trolley Tours

The Naples Trolley Tour runs from 8:30am until 5:30pm every day of the week and is a really great way to explore Naples. The trolley drives around Naples making stops at shopping, restaurants and attractions. You can get on the trolley at any of their locations listed on their schedule. When you hit a spot you want to check out, simply hop off! You can get right back on next time the trolley comes by.

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Celebration Park and the Food Trucks

Celebration Park Food Trucks

If you want to have a great lunch or dinner with seemingly endless options, head over to Celebration Park near downtown Naples. A number of food trucks occupy this small area in the Bayshore Arts District near the Botanical Gardens. There’s even a tiki bar! You can sit on the water while you eat as well.

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The Alamo Gun Range

The Alamo Gun Range in Naples Florida

A gun range may not seem like it should make a list of great things to do in Naples, FL yet this isn’t just a range. The Alamo Range features an indoor range, a huge shop and the training you need to be a better shooter. They offer gun rentals as well so you can still shoot even if you do not own a gun.

They offer the course you need to get your Florida Concealed Weapons Permit.

Pair this activity with a night out or a nice dinner in the area and you have yourself a great date night!

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Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples

Golisano Children's Museum of Naples - CMON

I have two boys and the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples has been an amazing resource where our boys have so much fun. Located in North Naples, the Children’s Museum features rotating exhibits that keep the activities fresh. There’s an outdoor area with even more things for the kids to do as well as a snack bar. Upstairs, you’ll find an arts and crafts room and a lounge for the older kids to visit. There’s even a library stocked with so many great books to read to your children.

Daily passes are available yet annual memberships prove to be the better value if you plan on visiting multiple times in a year.

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Waterside Shops

Waterside Shops Naples Florida

The Waterside Shops is a high-end shopping destination located at the corner of Pine Ridge Road and US41 in North Naples. The open air shopping center features a number of fantastic restaurants and great stores anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Apple.

It’s a really beautiful setting with beautiful fountains dotting the center of the mall. Definitely stop by!

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Mercato

Mercato Shopping in Naples Florida

If you’re looking for another great shopping experience, check out Mercato in North Naples. It is a mix of stores and restaurants with residences above. There are some great bars there like the English Pub and so many great places to grab a meal. Whether you want a quick and affordable lunch at Chipotle or an incredible steak at The Capital Grille, you’ll find it in Mercato. You can even take in a movie at Silverspot Theater!

What I personally love about Mercato is that they always seem to have a great event going on. There’s live music all of the time, children’s events and even events to bring your dog to! This is definitely worth checking out!

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Gordon River Greenway Park

Gordon River Greenway in Naples Florida

Right in the heart of Naples is the 140 acre Gordon River Greenway Park. It is huge and has 2.5 miles of boardwalk or trails to enjoy. You can even bring bikes or rollerblades instead! There is a kayak launch point, spots on the boardwalk to look out over the property or go fishing, restrooms, a playground and more.

The park is conveniently open 7 days a week from 6:30am to 10:00pm. Bring your camera because you will certainly see some awesome wildlife!

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Kowiachobee Animal Preserve

Kowiachobee Animal Preserve in Naples Florida

The animal sanctuary is an educational experience located in Naples. Hurt or distressed wild and exotic animals are housed here and cared for by a large group of volunteers. There are tigers, lions, a Florida Panther as well as birds, reptiles and much more to see.

The Kowiachobee Animal Preserve has great educational events throughout town where animals are showcased and spectators can learn a great deal about them.

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Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples, FL

I really love this spot in town. The Conservancy has activities to do both indoors and outdoors. They work to rehabilitate wild animals and have veterinarians on site. One of my favorite features of the museum are the electric boat tours. Hop on the boat and get an educational tour through the waterways nearby. If you’re more of a DIY type of visitor, you’ll enjoy the kayak rentals so you can explore the Gordon River at your own pace.

I had a personal experience with the Conservancy when a nest of turtles hatched next to a condominium parking lot. The turtles were heading in all directions and in the direction of traffic. I gathered them up and took them to the Conservancy where they were housed temporarily and later released into the wild. It’s a great place–take a trip and see why I love it!

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Naples Depot Museum

Naples Depot Museum on 5th Avenue South

Head down 5th Avenue South to find the Naples Depot Museum. The museum is actually in the Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station and has been fully restored. The museum tells the story of how Naples went from a tiny home to 300 people into what it has grown to today.

There is a train museum with a train ride for children. There are plenty of exhibits that rotate through, refreshing the museum and keeping it fun for multiple visits.

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Seed to Table

Oakes Farms Seed to Table in Naples, Florida

Seed to Table is simply indescribable. Yes, it’s a grocery store. Yes, a butcher shop too. It’s a 2 story wine dealer. A bakery. An ice cream shop. A sushi bar. It’s a playground. It’s an entertainment venue. You name it, it’s there!

This one of a kind, 75,000 square foot store in North Naples has it all. It is so cleverly thought out–you can select a steak and they’ll cook it for you in the store. You can have some wine straight from the shelves to your table. And aside from all of the culinary features of the store, there are constantly events for the public to enjoy.

Take it from me–you need to check out Seed To Table if you haven’t already.

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What is a “spec home” when discussing Naples real estate?

What is a “spec home?”

The term “spec home” is used a lot here in Florida and simply stands for “speculative.” Builders will take a lot that they own and simply start building a home they hope to sell later. The builder picks the design and finishes for the home and gets to work.

For the builder, this is an educated guess that someone will come along and purchase the home they’ve decided to build. That doesn’t guarantee that they will turn a profit on the home but here in Naples, FL that’s usually the case.

How is a spec home different from a custom home?

A custom home is just that—custom. The buyer gets to choose all of the details that go into a brand new home and can often make layout changes as well. If the buyer plans on being in the home for many years, custom homes are a great way to go since the buyer can make it exactly as she wishes. Spec homes will have many of the design elements chosen already and if the home is far along on the build the buyer likely can’t make changes.

Also, a custom home could take months to build. A spec home may be ready in a week depending on when the buyer finds it.

Advantages of buying a spec home

The biggest advantage in my opinion of buying a spec home is that it is already being built. The buyer will be able to take ownership far quicker than if they purchased a custom built home.

Another great advantage is that since spec homes are commonly purchased while still under construction, many builders will allow the buyer to make their own selections regarding counters, cabinets, flooring or paint color.

Finally, you may save some money purchasing a spec home versus going the route of a custom home. Spec homes are priced for today’s market whereas custom homes often have a slightly higher price if the builder is expecting the market prices to appreciate.

How do I find out about available spec homes?

Easy! You give me a call, text or email. The process of finding them is a bit different between buying in Golden Gate Estates versus in a developer’s community. It’s quite easy with a gated community because the builder will have a “spec list” of all spec homes ready to purchase with their prices and their of completion. In areas like Golden Gate Estates, I’ll give builders a call and find out what they have available.

Ready to see what’s out there?

If a spec home is right for you, please feel free to give me a call. I would love to send you options for you to choose from!

15 things I hate to see when I show real estate listings

Cluttered kitchen counters

Right or wrong, this shows the buyer that there isn’t enough storage space for all of those little items like coffee pots, tea pots, toasters and that sort of thing. The seller should declutter and find a great place to store those items while the home is being shown. Plus, decluttered counters simply make the kitchen look bigger!

Lights off or lights that don’t turn on

The term “light and bright” gets thrown around a lot by customers and for good reason. Buyers don’t want to buy a dark home so all lights should be on for showings.

Blinds not opened for natural light

Naples is a city in the Sunshine State, right? It’s so nice to walk into a home that’s full of natural light. Unfortunately, I often walk into homes where all of the blinds are closed and it feels like a cave. Buyers will always comment on the light when in this situation so don’t give them something to complain about. Get those blinds open and let that sunlight shine in!

Music playing

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. If music is playing when we walk into your home, our first thought is going to be, “What are they hiding?” Typically, this is a red flag that there is a lot of road noise so I always turn the music off for my buyers to let them discover what the seller is likely hiding.

The sellers

The sellers should never be at a showing appointment. Sellers that want to be home will often say, “We’ll just stay out on the lanai out of their way.” No. Find something to do for 30 minutes and let the buyers experience the home without the awkwardness or the feeling of being rushed.

The listing agent

Many listings are listing office accompany meaning the listing agent will be there for showings. In unique or high-priced homes, this is rather common. However, we don’t need you there to see most listings. It really makes the buyers uncomfortable and the buyers will usually stay completely quiet. This hurts the showing because the buyers can’t point out features to each other. Put the home on a lockbox and let me do the showing.

The fridge used as a bulletin board

On my kitchen fridge at the time of writing, I have my son’s artwork, a calendar, a list of things we need at the grocery store and about 5 other papers that are up there for no good reason. Everything is stuck to the fridge with magnets. But, my house isn’t for sale! You can bet that when I do decide to sell my home, all of that will be gone and the fridge will sit unencumbered.

Bad paint colors

You picked out some outlandish colors to paint your accent walls and it is absolutely beautiful in your eyes. Sorry, but it just became a major chore for my buyers that have to repaint. I know it isn’t fun but repaint those accent walls in a neutral color so they do not distract the buyers or make them dread the upcoming chore of repainting.

Bad rollers on sliding glass doors

Ever struggle to figure out how to get the locks unlocked on a sliding door only to then find it barely rolls along the track? If we have to drag your sliding glass door open to get to the lanai, you’re sending an unambiguous signal to the buyers that routine maintenance has not been done. Call a handyman and get these rollers going smoothly again!

Unkept landscaping

When we step out of the car, your landscaping is making the first impression. It it isn’t take care of, my buyers are subconsciously wondering what else isn’t taken care of on this property. Hire a gardener and make your landscaping a selling point and not a detraction.

Business cards on the counter

It is customary for REALTORS® to leave their business card on the counter when they show the home. It’s the duty of the listing agent or the seller to remove those cards as they’re left behind. I absolutely hate seeing a pile of 15 to 20 business cards there. All that does is show the buyers that this property has been shown that many times yet it is still on the market. What’s wrong with the property? Why aren’t others buying it? If they don’t want it, we probably don’t either.

Too much or big furniture

You know the best way to make your living room and bedrooms look tiny? Stuff them chock full of oversized (or too much) furniture! If you have to, rent a storage unit while your home is on the market and keep just those pieces of furniture that are needed.

Cleaning rags, towels on the floor, etc.

Laundry belongs in the hamper. I really hate walking into a bathroom (usually a kid’s bath) and seeing a towel on the floor. I also see wet rags next to kitchen faucets or in the sink a lot too. Throw them in the hamper before your showing!

Dishes in the sink

Come on, seriously? Before heading off for your showing, get those dishes in the dishwasher! It’s a small chore that pays big dividends.

Kid’s rooms that haven’t been decluttered

I’m a father of two boys so I know the problem of kid’s room clutter all too well. Toys, books, clothes and who knows what else are all over the floor. Definitely declutter those rooms and use that storage space that you rented to put the biggest toys or furniture in until your home sells.

What is the Difference Between “Pending” and “Pending With Contingencies?”

Over the years, a lot of people have asked me what “pending” or “contingent” mean when they see it on a listing. Let’s clear up those two terms!

A listing is “Active” when it first hits the MLS

The second a listing hits the MLS, it will have the status of “Active” meaning it is on the market for sale. This is when sellers are showing the home. I bring this up though because this does not mean that there are not offers. A listing can be active and have offers on it. The sellers just haven’t accepted one of the offers or may be still negotiating the terms.

A listing goes to “Pending with Contingencies” or “Contingenct” when an offer is accepted

Our contracts here in Naples have multiple contingencies built in. A contingency is simply something that could happen in the future with a recourse for the buyer/seller.

Some common contingencies are:

  • Financing Contingency – This contingency allows the buyer to walk away from the contract and get their deposits back from the seller if the buyer cannot obtain financing per the terms of the contract.
  • Inspection Contingency – The buyer has the right to conduct an inspection and ask for repairs/remedies from the seller. If the two parties cannot agree, the buyer most likely can walk away from the contract and keep their deposits.
  • Appraisal Contingency – The buyer has the right to have an appraisal done. If the appraisal is not at least the purchase price in the contract, buyer can terminate the contract and get their deposits back or the seller can reduce the price to the appraised value.
  • Sale of Buyer’s Property Contingency – The buyer’s home must close by a given date or the buyer may walk away from the contract and get their deposits back. Note that this contingency is almost never accepted by a seller here in Naples because our market simply moves too

All of these contingencies have time limits on them—for example, the inspection contingency defaults to 15 days per our contract. If any contingency is still in effect, the property is therefore Pending with Contingencies.

A listing is “Pending” when the contingencies have been satisfied

During the course of a real estate sale, the contingencies will go away. The appraisal comes in and satisfies the appraisal contingency. Negotiations are done on inspection items and the buyer and seller reach agreement and so on.

Once all contingencies are satisfied, the listing goes to Pending in the MLS. At this point, the lender, title company or attorney are doing their part
to bring the buyer and seller together for a closing.

Why do some listings stay “Pending with Contingencies” on the MLS when they’ve been on the market for a long time?

There could be a number of reasons why you still see properties marked “Pending with Contingencies” online. The most likely is that there’s a longer contingency such as the financing contingency still in effect. The financing contingency on the Naples contract defaults to 45 days in length so that could be the culprit keeping it from just “pending.”

The second reason is simple. Agents forget to change it! I’ve made that clerical error myself before!

Can I still make an offer on a “Pending” or “Pending with Contingency” listing?

Yep, but I wouldn’t bother. The odds of your backup offer being accepted and going to closing is about the same odds as seeing Bigfoot walk through your neighborhood.

Any questions?

One of my goals is to make sure all of my customer’s questions are answered clearly. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment or contact my wife or I directly. We’d love to hear from you!

5 Times When Renting Makes More Sense Than Buying

It’s no secret—I earn my living by selling property and stand by the fact that purchasing a home is the way to go… most of the time.

There are five instances however where renting is really your better option so let’s explore those scenarios.

You are new to Naples and not familiar with the area

If you haven’t lived in Naples before, you likely don’t know a heck of a lot about it. Our town is very different from one area to the next. It is so different in fact that people will cite these different areas as to where they’d like to be. I have people start their call all of the time saying they’d like to be in North Naples, Lely, East Naples, etc..

One thing I really dislike hearing from potential customers selling after a short period of ownership is that they picked the wrong area.

Renting for even a few months can help you avoid this expensive pitfall when purchasing. You’ll get to know the commute to work, the restaurants and shopping areas that you like and that sort of thing.

Your career may be taking you to somewhere new

Companies these days move employees around, open new locations or offer promotions if an employee takes a role in a new city. Take the great company of Arthrex for example. Their main manufacturing facility was located in North Naples yet they moved production to Ave Maria, over 40 minutes away. Employees had to suddenly have quite a commute to the new facility and renting may have allowed them to move closer to work once a lease expired.

Renting gives you the flexibility of simply walking away from your rental once the lease expires in order to move for work.

You’re planning on moving in the next 5 years or less

When looking to buy a home, it’s important to consider how long you will live there before moving.

Buying and selling real estate has a lot of costs involved so in most situations you will not want to purchase and sell in a few year’s time. Staying in a property for 5 years or longer will usually be long enough to offset those costs associated with buying and selling.

Your credit has some issues that need to be resolved

How’s your credit? When you purchase a home, your credit score can be the difference in high interest-rate swings on your mortgage. Or, it could be the difference in being approved or denied for a mortgage altogether.

Renting is the best solution if you’re working to raise your credit score.

You simply do not want to own a home in Naples

I know it’s tough to believe but some people simply do not want to own a home!

Maybe you simply want the ability to call the owner when something breaks and not have to deal with it on your own. Perhaps you don’t want to pay additional fees for things like landscaping.

Whatever the case may be, renting may be your best option if homeownership simply isn’t in the cards for you.

Why I Attend Every One of my Customer’s Inspections

I can’t tell you how many times I attend an inspection and the other agent isn’t there. I’m always surprised because being at my customer’s inspection is so important to me.

So, why do I attend every home inspection for both my buyers and sellers?

The home inspection can make or break the deal

The home inspection is one of the top items in the contract that can absolutely make the deal fall apart.

Under both of our NABOR contracts, the “as is” and the standard, there is a provision that allows the buyer to conduct a home inspection. When the buyer hires an inspector, items inevitably come to the surface and need resolution.

With the as is contract, you would think that would mean the buyer is taking the home as is. This is rarely the case in Naples. What happens is that the buyer holds the seller’s feet to the fire by saying, “We will walk away from this deal *unless you fix x, y, and z.”

With the standard contract, there are 6 areas of concern regarding the inspection. These are:

  • Systems and Equipment
  • Radon gas
  • Lead-based paint
  • Termites or wood-destroying organisms
  • Air quality (e.g. mold)
  • Open permits

These are a lot of areas for items to appear and the buyer will ask for a financial credit at closing or for the problem areas to be remedied by the seller.

With this being such an important part of the transaction and an area where things can fall apart, why would I not be there? It is too important for my sellers and buyers.

Some home inspectors are very dramatic

Inspectors are generally very good at what they do when it comes to finding latent defects in a home or condo. However, they can be very different when it comes to presenting the information to the buyer.

Consider these two statements regarding the same problem:

There’s a small electrical issue here that should be repaired. We see this all of the time but it really should be repaired.

—or—

Come look at this! This isn’t up to code so not only is it a code issue but it could easily lead to a fire or someone getting electrocuted.

It’s frustrating. We want our buyers and sellers to be fully informed but we certainly don’t want an inspector that turns a small, common problem into one that can cause the deal to fall apart.

By being at the inspection, I’m able to see problems like these where I know the remedy from prior inspections. I’m able to then help hold the deal together by explaining how it will be fixed or how much the credit should be for the repair.

How can I negotiate effectively for my customer if I didn’t attend the inspection?

Similar to the situation above, I need to know the details of the problems in the inspection report and that insight is gained by attending the inspection and being present when the defects are discussed.

I recently had a deal where the agent on the other side wanted a credit for a brand new air conditioner based on the inspection report reading that there was some corrosion on the coils. Really? A new A/C? Since I was at the home inspection, I was able to let the other agent know that what was truly said was, “You should get an A/C company in here for a routine maintenance where they can clean the coils.”

Needless to say, that $5,000 or so request was denied and we were able to negotiate it down to a service call.

It is my job to be there.

My last point is simple—I should be there because it is my job to do so. It’s so important for me to do everything I can to get my customers to the closing table smoothly and a big part of this is attending inspections.

I’m earning a commission on the sale so taking money without giving full effort is just not acceptable in my eyes.

Too many customers do not realize how important it is to have their agent at the inspection so they let it slide. If only they know how important it truly is, they would never accept anything less.

Things That Make a Buyer Walk Away From Your Listing (and never come back)

Things that make buyers walk away

Old carpet

Carpet that is worn, faded, improperly stretched or an odd color is something a buyer notices immediately. It can often make the entire home feel old or run down. It is often beyond repair so having the carpet shampooed isn’t a viable option.

What should you do?

There are two ways of fixing old carpeting. The first is to simply replace it. Pick a neutral color with a quality pad and have it all redone. The second option is to offer a flooring credit to the buyer. If the rest of the home is in fantastic shape and shows beautifully, a credit at closing in the amount of the carpet replacement estimates is a great way to go.

Old furniture

Furniture that is tattered or obviously old in some way can detract from a buyer’s positive experience in your home. I know, I know… the furniture isn’t staying with the home. Regardless, it leaves a bad taste in the buyer’s mouth.

What should you do?

If possible, get rid of the old furniture and replace it with the new furniture you were going to buy when you moved. Or, remove it and hire a stager to refurnish the home.

Walls painted in bold colors

We’ve all seen on HGTV’s (fake) shows like House Hunters where people walk in and instantly mention the bad paint color inside. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a buyer say, “It’s just paint. We can change that.” However, do buyers want to buy a home and have to invest a lot of time or money into a new paint job? Nope. I’ve experienced this too many times and can tell you that crazy accent walls or non-neutral colors can hurt the chances of your home being picked.

What should you do?

Repaint! It’s often just a room or an accent wall that has to go. Grab a gallon of paint down at Sherwin Williams and neutralize your home.

Yellowed smoke detectors, light cans or wall plates

This may be the easiest task on the list. Over time, outlet covers, light cans and smoke detectors tend to turn a yellowish, off-white color. These are so incredibly affordable to simply buy new and replace. Plus, it’s an easy task!

What should you do?

Head to Home Depot and purchase new replacements and take the time to replace every yellowed cover or smoke detector in your home. These are dirt cheap and you can often find them in “contractor packs” of 10, 25 or 50.

Dirty home

Although it seems obvious to have a perfectly clean home while on the market, this is sadly often neglected. Very few things detract from a showing as much as a dirty home.

What should you do?

Start with the entrance to the home and get all of the cobwebs and debris away from the front door. Make sure all windows are crystal clear as well. Heading inside, you’ll need to work diligently to get everything spotless. Even items like baseboards should be completely free of dust.

What I recommend is to do an incredibly thorough cleaning when the home hits the market. Then, spend 15-30 minutes each night straightening up. That will keep the home in tip-top shape and ready for short-notice showings.

Smoke or pet smell

We become accustomed to the smell of our own home and actually won’t notice a lot of the pet smells in the home. Or, homeowners may smoke in their own home which causes an awful odor.

What should you do?

Invite a close, trusted friend or relative over to your home to do a “sniff test.” You need someone that is going to be 100% honest with you to tell you if your home needs some help.

Don’t “cover up” a smell; fix it. If you smoke in the home, you’ll likely need to repaint to get rid of the smell or even replace carpeting. If it is a pet smell, make sure your pets are regularly washed and not having any accidents inside. Shampooing the carpet will help a great deal with pet smells.

Termites, bugs, etc.

It amazes me how often I will go into a home and see dead bugs hiding in places like the sliding glass door tracks or window sills. Few things turn off a buyer faster than seeing what looks like a bug infestation.

Call your local exterminator and then clean!

An exterminator is a quick fix to any bugs that are coming in. However, for a few days after the exterminator sprays, you’ll have dead bugs around baseboards and other areas of the home. Be sure to really clean deeply to get rid of the dead bugs and pay close attention to the windows and doors of the home.

Poor interior lighting

When I have showings on my listings, I make an effort to arrive before the buyers do and turn on every light in the home. A bright home shows so much better than one that is dark. It is really important to lighten up your home before showings.

What should you do?

Make sure you have adequate lighting in your home. Daylight bulbs do an amazing job at lighting a home and cast a very natural light. In fact, they’re somewhat hard to get used to after having yellow or white lights for years.

Also, clean every window and leave the blinds open. This is often the best way to have your home showed (assuming the view is ok).

Crowded counters

Crowded counters make the kitchen and the bathrooms look so much smaller and make buyers think they need to find a home with more space. Plus, it just doesn’t look good.

What should you do?

Get rid of everything on your counters. I know this sounds a bit crazy but even things like knife blocks need to be put away elsewhere.

A lot of times, we have things on our kitchen counters that aren’t even used often like mixers or food processors. Move those big items into the garage if you need to.

Clutter

Do you have a lot of stuff? It’s amazing how much we accumulate after living in a home for a while and clutter can make a home not only look smaller but also look like it is not well taken care of.

What should you do?

Have a Goodwill or St. Matthew’s House around you? It’s time to donate. Grab everything you don’t absolutely need and get it in the hands of someone that could really benefit from it.

If your home is admittedly cluttered but with things you really do need or keepsakes, consider renting a short-term storage unit.

Mismatched appliances

I see homes all of the time with various brands of appliances or worse, appliances that do not match in color. Stainless steel refrigerator with a black stove? That’s a no-no.

What should you do?

Well, this is a tough one. I don’t advise my buyers to replace appliances unless they’re old and need to be replaced anyway. If the appliances need to be replaced, buy all of the same brand and color. You can even score a great package deal at most big box appliance stores.

Sliders don’t roll properly

Buyers interested in your home will absolutely go outside on the lanai or balcony. I’ve seen so many buyers struggle to get sliding glass doors open because the lock isn’t easy to operate or the rollers prevent the door from sliding freely.

What should you do?

This is such an easy fix! There are plenty of window companies, handymen, etc. that can fix bad rollers on sliding glass doors! It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either! Give someone a call and get those sliders rolling!

Landscaping not maintained

Last but not least is this no-brainer. What do we see the second we pull into a driveway? The landscaping! Don’t you want to make the best first impression you can?

What should you do?

Spruce up your landscaping with flowers. They look beautiful and add color that will help make the best first impression possible.

Remulch! Mulch is dirt cheap and Ace Hardware will deliver it for free! Grab yourself some bags and you’ll be shocked at how much better your home looks.

Get the trimmers out and make the bushes look uniform by making them the same height and evenly trimmed.

All this sounds great but what if you live in an HOA that handles your landscaping? The best thing you can do is call the landscaping company and let them know you’re looking to sell. Tell them you need things spruced up. They will usually help you out. If they do not, it’s time to put in an ARC (Architectural Review Committee) request with the HOA board and get to work on your own!

What are my thoughts on the current real estate market? Will it cool off soon?

Where do we stand as of July 15th, 2021?

We’re in unprecedented times in regard to inventory shortages

In a balanced market where supply and demand are equal, we tend to see the usual signs—homes stay on the market for around 90-100 days on average, there are multiple homes to choose from in a given price point, and prices hold rather steady.

In this market however, we are seeing major shortages of inventory as buyers are scooping up homes very quickly. As of the latest real estate stats published by NABOR for May 2021, days on market before going under contract was a short 43 days! Only a year ago in May 2020 that number was 90 days! There’s where our inventory is being eaten up.

As of today, July 15th, 2021, there are only 1,033 properties on the market. 606 of those are single family homes. We’re seeing pockets of shortages too—for example, I have a few customers right now that need a single family home in Naples with at least 4 bedrooms. Unfortunately, only 285 of those homes meet that criteria.

Prices have continued to rise

In May of 2020, NABOR reports that the average closed price for a single family home was $744,242 and that number rose to $1,140,487 in only a year.

I recently heard a broker say, “Asking price is the starting bid” and that quote resonated with me as it couldn’t have been truer. I’m watching my customers bid over asking price, with excellent terms in the contract, and fail to be the winning bidder.

But it has to appraise, right?

For buyers that are obtaining financing, the property has to appraise for their mortgage to be approved. However, many buyers are either waiving their appraisal contingencies altogether or shockingly, the home actually does appraise!

My opinion is that the market is showing signs of cooling off

I know it doesn’t feel that way to buyers right now but I do feel that the market is showing signs of either leveling off or cooling down. It is going to take a while but here are the clues that I see.

Price decreases

I couldn’t believe my eyes but I saw homes that I felt were overpriced have price decreases recently. While it appears that prices are all creeping up and up, some homes were lowering their price to be more in line with the market valuation of their home.

While these price decreases are still rare right now, it’s a good sign that we’re seeing some at all.

Days on Market are creeping up

I took a customer to see a home a couple of weeks ago and as we’re walking up the driveway my customer looked at me and said, “This one has been on the market 10 days. I wonder what’s wrong with it.” It’s a funny thing to hear, right? Only 10 days and it seemed as though the home was lingering on the market. Of the 606 single family homes on the market at this second, the average days on market is actually 51.

Inventory picking up

I can’t speak for the entire market on this point but for my customers in North Naples looking in the popular single family home communities, we’re starting to see new listings hit where they hand’t before.

Fewer multiple offer situations

My last few sales where I represented the buyer were situations where we made our offer (each time at asking price or below) and had a signed contract without dealing with multiple offers. This is a huge change from just a few months ago.

Less “Sniping”

I have an index card that I keep on my desk with the names of each buyer I’m currently working with. This list is strictly for customers ready to submit an offer the second something that fits their needs comes on the market—I call this “sniping.”

I’ve learned from many other agents that they have customers doing the same for chosen neighborhoods. There are zero properties matching these customers’ search results so when one pops up they go for it.

“Sniping” is one factor that leads to multiple offer situations. For example, I have two a customer that wants to live in the community of StoneCreek in North Naples. These homes were selling under $1M in the past and the lowest priced listing is $1,499,000 at the moment. If one were to hit the market today, multiple buyers waiting on a home in the neighborhood would surely submit offers and we’d have ourselves another bidding war.

With homes staying on the market, some price decreases happening, and new listings coming online, sniping will hopefully be a thing of the past soon.

“I’m waiting until after COVID passes”

I speak to potential sellers every day in hopes of getting new listings. I cannot tell you how many potential sellers say, “I’m waiting to list my property once COVID goes away.” I don’t know when COVID will truly be a thing of the past but it feels like it is going away, right? We’re in groceries stores now without masks, people are going out to eat in droves, and our short-term memory is starting to forget all about this horrible virus. Although it is far from gone, my opinion is that potential sellers are starting to get comfortable with the idea of strangers coming into their homes for showings. I think that each day, more and more people will consider it “safe” to have showings and that should help our inventory rise.

Foreclosure release should lead to more inventory

Sadly, I predict that we will see some foreclosures hitting the market soon. We all know the financial toll COVID has taken on many people. Businesses couldn’t survive and folks lost their jobs. Again, we should see an uptick in inventory as these homes hit the market.

So after all of that, what is my opinion?

We’re cooling off.

I feel that more inventory is coming online which leads to prices stagnating (or perhaps decreasing in some neighborhoods), days on market to slightly rise, and fewer bidding wars to jack up the prices. I think it is going to take time but we’ll see popular neighborhoods actually have more than one home at a time for buyers to choose from!

What do I personally think about all of this?

High prices, bidding wars and low days on market sound awesome for a REALTOR®, right? High prices mean high commissions! How could I not love this market?

The truth is, my wife and I hate it. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a REALTOR® is seeing the families you work for find a home they love at a price they can afford. We love showing property and witnessing the moment when a buyer falls in love with a home and decides to put in an offer on it. Then, it is so amazing to sit at a closing table a month or two later and see the smiles and pure joy as they’re handed the keys to their new home.

I used to see those moments all of the time but that isn’t happening as much since these families simply can’t find a home that matches their criteria or budget. Instead, I’m seeing a lot of frustration from buyers as they wait for a home to hit the market or they lose a multiple offer situation.

Let’s bring on the cool-down and give these buyers some options!

What is your opinion?

I’m not the only person with an opinion on this so I would love to hear from others. Drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this real estate market.