naples real estate

Is White-Boxing the Way to Go When Selling Your Naples Home?

For most sellers, home staging plays a huge part in how quickly their home sells as well as for how much. But a trend we’re beginning to see with higher-end homes like those in Naples and Marco Island is something called “white-boxing”. That’s the complete opposite of home staging. So, is white-boxing the way to go when selling your Naples or Marco Island home? It just might be.

White-boxing is a new trend we're seeing in higher end Naples and Marco Island homes. Is this the right strategy to use when selling your home?

What is “White-Boxing”?

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White-boxing is the absence of furniture or furnishings of any kind. This provides buyers with a truly blank slate. Only white walls and blank floor space. No artwork, books, area rugs, dishes…nothing. Your Naples/Marco Island home is simply a “white box” filled with infinite possibilities.

What Makes White-Boxing Popular?

Today’s luxury buyers want to go in and put their personal stamp on a place. No matter how lovely of a home it may be, they want to tear down walls, rip up flooring and customize the space to fit their lifestyle. When a seller uses white-boxing, it allows the buyer and their designer to better see what they’d like to change instead of focusing on the furniture and fixtures. For designers, this blank canvas makes it easier to render their design concepts for the buyer to visualize once customization has been completed. Plus, buyers feel less guilty about gutting a home to redesign it if it’s already empty. In fact, these buyers may pay more for a white-boxed home than a staged one.

Does White-Boxing Work for Every Home?

No. It may seem odd, but many rooms actually look smaller without furniture in them. White-boxing works best when you have large rooms and a fabulous view. Otherwise, this might not be the best strategy. Determine who your buyers are before you list. Talk this over with your Naples REALTOR® to decide whether or not white-boxing is a good selling plan for your home.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos 

Naples Food Angels Need Volunteers

Did you know that one in six people in the United States goes hungry every single day. This includes men, women, and children. It affects families living right here in the Naples area. That’s heartbreaking and should never happen in a country as rich as our own. Places like the Naples Food Angels help feed these families in need every week. But they need your help.

What: Naples Food Angels
Where: The Current Community Center (13510 Tamiami Trl N #5, Naples, FL)
When: Every Saturday 10:30 am to 12 pm & Every Wednesday 6 pm to 7:30 pm
Contact: First Christian Church of Naples (239) 529-3977

Naples Food Angels Need Volunteers

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Naples Food Angels are looking for volunteers to help them with their food distribution efforts. Twice a week (Wednesday evening and Saturday morning), they open up their facility and allow local families in need to shop the shelves for free. Items they choose from include fresh produce, meat, baked goods, personal care products, and other available items. What began with service to just eight people four years ago has grown to serve over 1,000 people a month. As you can imagine, that means the Naples Food Angels need more hands helping pick up, pick through, and organize the bi-weekly distribution efforts.

How to Volunteer for the Naples Food Angels

With the Naples Food Angels, everyone is welcome. Age doesn’t matter. In fact, bring a service hours volunteer form from your school and receive credit for all duties performed as part of the Naples Food Angels family. Public service looks excellent on college applications, by the way. Currently, the “angels” need help with bakery pickups, retail rescue pickups, delivery of leftover perishables to St Matthew’s House, and distribution of food at the center every Saturday. They also need assistance with pickups at various donor locations as well as sorting and stocking the shelves of the facility at the community center throughout the week. In addition, the Naples Food Angels prepare bags for homeless teens going to two Naples area schools. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Dara Albert, volunteer coordinator with the Naples Food Angels, at (719) 304-9961.

Of course, donations are always welcome as well. The Naples Food Angels rely on donors as well as volunteers to fulfill their promise to bring good, healthy food to those less fortunate members of our community. If you’d like to donate food or personal care items in person, feel free to drop them off at the Current Community Center between 10:30 am and 12 pm any Saturday of the year. Or, you can donate money online as a one-time-only or regular recurring donation. All money raised is used to purchase food and personal care items for the families serviced by the Food Angels. Thank you and God bless.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos 

Current Home Remodeling Trends for Your Naples FL Property

Are you considering putting your Naples or Marco Island home on the market anytime soon? Or are you simply looking for a way to give your property a facelift? Look for inspiration in current home remodeling trends. While currently “trending”, these changes are classic enough that they will never actually go out of style.

Does your Naples home need a change? Thinking of putting your Marco Island house on the market? Utilize these current home remodeling trends to appeal to today's buyers.

Current Home Remodeling Trends

Eco-Friendly Materials

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We live in an ever-expanding eco-conscious world. More and more buyers look for homes that include eco-friendly materials in their construction. Current home remodeling trends utilize bamboo for floors and recycled glass for their counters or showers. Composite decking like Trex deck or CorrectDeck won’t rot or peel. High-performance low-E windows add another layer of insulation by reflecting the harsh sun glare and heat, maintaining a milder temperature inside. In the winter, they help keep warm air in and cold air out. Energy-efficient appliances like tankless water heaters, ceiling fans, and smart thermostats reduce energy usage as well as costs.

Using Wood Anywhere You Want

Why limit wood design strictly to your floors? Another one of the current home remodeling trends involves using wood on walls and ceilings, too. But we’re not talking about your grandparents’ wood-paneled walls here. Think about a reclaimed wood accent wall in the dining room. Or a wood covered ceiling in your family room, kitchen or your foyer. With the various grains, textures, and colors available, wood adds warmth to any room while bringing a calming natural element of the outdoors inside.

Open Concept Kitchen

No longer are kitchens completely separate from the rest of the home. Naples homeowners love to entertain. A good host interacts with their guests, even when serving up food. One of the other current home remodeling trends we see in today’s homes is the open concept kitchen. Tear down walls where necessary to create an open sight-line to your family or living room. Add cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. A nice large kitchen island invites guests to visit with you as you add the finishing touches to the evening’s meal. Also, forget granite. Quartz reigns supreme in today’s Naples homes. Its lighter color comes in a variety of patterns and fits in well with the coastal or resort themes that are so popular in the Marco Island/Naples area. For the more cost-conscious individual, check out these budget-friendly alternatives to create a “wow” factor in the kitchen.

Outdoor Living Space

Finally, we can’t overlook the outdoor living space. Beautiful weather means that we spend as much time indoors as we do outdoors. So the last of the current remodeling trends I’m going to talk about shouldn’t surprise you at all. Adding a fully functioning kitchen outdoors, complete with sink, grilling station, and drink fridge makes entertaining a snap. Add a media center and large outdoor fireplace to keep the party going into the cooler months. And don’t forget to keep in mind your more physically limited friends, family and, potentially, yourself down the road when creating an outdoor space everyone can enjoy.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Keep Your Naples Home Safe While You’re on Vacation

Last Monday was Memorial Day. This signals that summer is close at hand. Our local schools let out soon. Many people choose the summer to take long family vacations, intimate getaways with their significant other or a fun jaunt somewhere with their friends. The last thing you want to do is come home to find that someone has broken into your home. Keep your Naples home safe while you’re on vacation. Utilize these helpful hints to lessen your risk of a burglary while you enjoy a much-deserved time away.

Going away this summer? Make would-be thieves think twice about targeting your home by using these vacation tips to keep your Naples home safe while you're gone.

Naples Home Safety Tips

Social Media Blackout

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First and foremost, the biggest Naples home safety tip I can give you is to keep off social media while you’re away. Enjoy your time. Take pictures to mark the occasion. But delay posting anything about your trip until after you return. You don’t need to advertise to would-be thieves that your house sits empty while you’re hundreds of miles away. This extends to email, as well. Some of us set automatic responses when we’re out of the office. Instead of saying “I’m on vacation between this date and this date”, a simple, “I’m currently out of the office. Please contact so-and-so if you need immediate help.” Don’t get into specifics of the why or when. Of course, you could forget about the “out of office” auto-reply altogether and have someone in your office monitor your emails while you’re away.

Set Your Timers

Next, use timers for your lights. Many thieves watch homes for days…even weeks before they actually strike. They learn the daily habits of its residents. If you don’t already own one, consider purchasing a timer for your lights. They’re available online or in home improvement stores. Some allow you to set up timers for various rooms at different times while you’re away. This helps keep up the appearance that someone is home. provides a list of the best outlet timers on the market right now based on user-friendliness, type, and design. Check them out to learn more before you head out to buy a system of your own.

Unplug Unnecessary Appliances

How would you feel if you came back from vacation to find that your Naples home burned down due to an electrical fire? Avoid this by unplugging any unnecessary appliances. Coffee pot, TV, computer, toaster, you name it. If you don’t use it while you’re gone, unplug it. Depending on the amount of time you’ll be gone, you may even want to unplug your refrigerator. Just make sure all perishable food items are not left inside and leave the door open to avoid mildew. Set your water heater to vacation mode by lowering the temperature. You can even turn off your thermostat as long as you don’t have plants or animals inside to worry about. If you do, you can still set the thermostat to a higher temperature than you normally would.

Keep Up Appearances

Nothing says “no one’s home” like a pile of mail or a lawn that looks like it hasn’t been mowed for a while. Put a hold on your mail with the post office for the time you’re away. It’s a quick form you can fill out at the post office. They won’t deliver your mail during the time frame you indicate. Regular delivery starts up again when you say. You can do the same for your daily or weekly newspaper delivery. Do you already have a landscaping service? Then, you won’t need to worry about your lawn. However, if you don’t, you might want to hire someone to take care of it while you’re gone.

House Sitter

Another way to keep your Naples home safe while you’re on vacation is to hire a house sitter. This can be costly but ultimately worth it if their presence thwarts a robbery. Or, instead of boarding your dog while you’re gone, have a pet sitter come by once or twice a day to check on them. The pet sitter feeds, waters and walks your dog. They can also bring in your mail and packages. But, the best thing they do is provide the appearance that someone is at your Naples home every day.

Tell Your Neighbors

If you’re friendly with your neighbors, let them know you’ll be away. They can keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it to authorities when they see it. Of course, if you plan on having a house or pet sitter drop by, let them know that, too. The more eyes, the better.

Lock it Up

Finally, this may sound obvious, but lock your Naples home up tight. Check all windows and exterior doors to make sure they are locked before you leave. This includes the sliding glass door and french doors. Oftentimes, burglaries happen due simply to opportunity. An unlocked car or home allows easy entry. Thieves take advantage. You lose out. This could have been avoided simply by making sure everything was locked up.

These small, simple tips make your Naples home safe while you’re on vacation. They can be very effective in making thieves think twice about targeting your property while you’re away. Then, you can enjoy your vacation without the worry of your home’s security.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos