Moving Off Island – Any Tips?

I recently had coffee with a friend who lives here on Sanibel Island and she mentioned that she is planning on selling her Sanibel home next year to move just across the bridge into Fort Myers. “Any tips?” she asked, as we talked a little about her home and how the market has been so far this year.

I know she is familiar with the wonderful world of real estate, having moved a couple times for her career before finally retiring here on Sanibel. However, I could tell she was a little overwhelmed at the thought of selling her home and finding a new place off-island.

She mentioned she had started looking in south Fort Myers since it’s closer to her doctor’s offices. “Good!” I exclaimed, “So, proximity to your doctor’s office is a top priority for you – write that down.” She laughed, and then realized I was serious.

After jotting it down on a Jerry’s napkin, we proceed to list the “must have” features of the home she’s looking to buy off-island. As her friend, I felt compelled to help her work through the process, which can be overwhelming even to the most experienced home buyer.

Since she’s lived in Southwest Florida for awhile, I knew she understood that Fort Myers is NOT Sanibel. There are a number of differences between the two areas, and her home in Fort Myers will be different than her current Sanibel home. I wanted to warm her up to the fact that she might have to compromise a little in order to find a home that works for her and her husband.

“There’s hardly ever a home that checks every box on your list,” I explained. That’s why its important to not only list out your priorities, but to also break the list into “must haves” vs. “nice to haves,” and hold tight to this list when looking at homes.

Since proximity to her doctor’s office is a top priority for her, it might mean that she has to give on a certain home feature that isn’t available in her desired area. I know that’s not exactly what she wanted to hear, but it’s important for her to understand this before she starts her home search, or else she’ll never find “the perfect place.”

Of course I offered to assist in her home search off-island, as well as the sale of her home here on Sanibel. So, I offered a few tips to get her started…

Tips For Preparing To Sell Your Sanibel Home:

  • Schedule a walkthrough with your agent to give their professional advice on areas of improvement
  • Make improvements to your home that will help to increase the home’s overall value, or at least save you from taking a steep price deduction for a “simple fix”
  • Work with your agent to determine the best pricing strategy for the current housing market
  • Create a plan for showings, and start packing personal items to be moved – it’s never too early to start packing! You likely have more “stuff” than you think. 

Tips For Moving Off-Island:

  • Make a list of your top priorities, and break it into “must have’s” vs. “nice-to-have’s”
  • Determine the general location of your home search, and spend some time walking the neighborhoods, grocery stores, etc. to get a feel for the community
  • View homes with an open mind, understanding that it will not be the same as your current Sanibel home
  • Be ready to act quickly! “The good ones go fast” is an understatement, especially in hot markets like Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
Susan McCallion About Susan McCallion

Meet "Your Favorite Redhead." Susan was exposed to real estate while young with her parent's 8 Re/MAX offices in Connecticut! In 2008, Susan and Jim became permanent Sanibel residents, starting McCallion & McCallion to bring a fresh approach to real estate.