Sonja Pound Your Naples Concierge Realtor® Sun, 18 Feb 2018 19:54:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sonja Pound 32 32 Adventure Sports in Naples Florida Sat, 27 Jan 2018 13:53:44 +0000 The post Adventure Sports in Naples Florida appeared first on Sonja Pound.


Think Naples is all about fine dining, art galleries and high-end shopping? You are partially right. But there is another side to Naples that is worth a look. There are so many events and activities that are sure to make you laugh and feel the adrenaline rush of experiencing something quirky and unexpected. Here are some adventure sports activities in Naples.

Swampbuggy Races

I don’t even know where to begin, other than by saying, you need to go to at least one Swamp Buggy Race. It is old-fashioned, simple fun surrounded by people that are genuinely having a great time and excitedly supporting the racers. You will likely laugh more than you have in a long time. I don’t mean Kevin Hart kind of laughing, but good times, family fun laughing. Basically, people race around a swamp in converted Jeeps and customized “buggys”. Sometimes they complete the course, other times they get stuck and have to be pulled out of the mud. If they choose a path that is well used, they will often sink deeper and deeper into the mud. It’s not uncommon for drivers to be sitting in mud up to their shoulders. They race six types of vehicles;

  • Pro-modified
  • Jeeps
  • 4-Cycle
  • Air Cooled
  • 6 Cylinder
  • V8 Sportsmen

For the 2017-2018 season, the next race is Saturday, January 27th. They are held at Florida Sports Park, located 12 miles from downtown Naples. It is a non-profit that was originally meant to raise awareness for Naples and Collier County. Each year they donate thousands of dollars as a result of the family friendly events held at the park. When you go, leave your heels at home. If you have boots and a cowboy hat, this would be the perfect place to wear them. Prepare for some country fun, including gator bites and other Southern-style food. Read more about their events by going to their Facebook page here.

Airboating in the Everglades

I took a 45 minute tour with Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides. The owner, Corey, is a Florida native, raised on a Seminole camp in Ochopee. If you see him, make sure to ask him questions about the Everglades and his heritage. You won’t find a better source of history than Corey. Once you are onboard your airboat, buckle up for an exciting tour. Each boat seats 10 people. The tour glides through a 200-acre preserve. Our guide pointed out many different bird species including Blue Herons, Egrets, Kingfishers and Ospreys. We also saw alligators, lizards, turtles and more. He zigzagged around the Everglades, through narrow waterways, under overgrown trees and then back to wide-open waters where he did donuts in the water. The kids on the tour loved it! He told us stories of old Florida, and cracked a few jokes. One included a spider dangling from above. That wasn’t his most popular joke – especially among the women on board.

Before you go, make sure to pack suntan lotion, a hat and sunglasses. Big, floppy hats don’t work. You will loose them the second your pull away from the dock. Even baseball caps are tough. I had to hold mine on my head most of the ride. You likely won’t get wet, except your feet slightly. I wore flip flops and was fine.

You can read more about Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides on their website –

Jet Boating

Head to Tin City’s Pure Florida for all things water related. Pure Florida offers fishing, sunset and sightseeing tours, boat rentals, eco and dolphin tours, jet ski rentals and jet boat thrill rides. I recently went on a jet boat ride and had such a great time. I went with a few adults and a group of kids. We were all laughing the entire time. You will get wet. Not water park wet, but be prepared. Your hat likely won’t make the entire trip. And, taking photos isn’t really something you can do safely. When you check-in, the captain will offer you a plastic bag for your phone and any other items you do not want to get wet. Use it. They will get wet. Put on suntan lotion and strap in for, “360-degree adrenaline rush turns, reach speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour and live the experience of a lifetime”, as described by Pure Florida. This is a great afternoon of fun for locals and visitors. When you are finished, you have many options in Tin City for lunch and a drink. For more information, go to Pure Florida’s website here.

While Naples is perhaps best known for high-end shopping, fine dining and beautiful beaches, there is another side to Naples worth exploring. Some of them are a bit off the path and likely not something you would think of doing. But, with a bit of research, you can enjoy so many adventures in the Naples area. If you know of someone visiting Naples, share this post with them. What’s your favorite activity in Naples?

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Protect Yourself From Real Estate Identity Theft Fri, 05 Jan 2018 03:38:22 +0000 The post Protect Yourself From Real Estate Identity Theft appeared first on Sonja Pound.


As technology continues to advance it seems that criminals are right there for the ride. Unfortunately, they have also targeted the real estate world. As you know buying and selling a home can be an emotional and sometimes complicated process. Now we need to add securing our identity to the list. You can no longer cross your fingers and hope that you are not the target of a scam or identity theft online. With education, procedures and caution, you can minimize your risk.


Secure Your Identity

  • Use a password vault. I use Dashlane to generate and store all of my passwords. They are always random and a mix of characters and symbols like this; 0FhT(QeZdX. They are never my dog’s name, children’s birthday, anniversary date… If I need to share a password with someone, I share via Dashlane. It securely sends it to the recipient. Another feature I like is the ability to change all passwords at once. The dashboard also tells me if I have any weak passwords that should be changed. There are many options for password vaults like, LastPass and Zoho Vault. You can read about them here.
  • Share passwords sparingly and securely. Never email, text or use Facebook messenger to share your passwords. All it takes is one hacker to get into your account and steal your identity. Yes, it’s super easy to text it, but take the extra minute to share via your password vault. In the end, using a vault will save you months of headache, in the event that your identity is compromised. Don’t take the chance.
  • Know who you are speaking with. Never share your personal, private information with unknown people or businesses. If you receive a phone call or email requesting private details, do not immediately provide information. Do a search and make sure it is not a scam. Search for their phone number and call them back. If they are requesting a wire transfer for a real estate transaction, do not implement before confirming with your lawyer and mortgage broker.
Let’s face it. We are all addicted to our phones, Wi-Fi and the ease of online shopping, bill paying and money transfers. Take a look at this infographic to learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft when buying a home.

Avoid These Mistakes

Public Wi-fi: I know it’s tempting to hop on the public Wi-Fi when you are sitting at a coffee house or at work. Never share financial or sensitive information when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi hub. It may be fast and simple, but in the end, it’s just not worth the security risk.

Suspicious Emails: Do not open emails and links coming from unknown sources. Check the email address carefully. Scammers can send emails that look like they are coming from someone you know and trust, but they are really phishing sites looking to steal your identity and financial details. According to Wikipedia, phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. There have been instances where a phishing email looks like it comes from a reputable company, but it does not. An example would be an email from At first glance you might think it’s from Microsoft, but if you look closely you will see that Microsoft is spelled incorrectly.

Go Old-School: When possible, drop off papers in-person, use a courier or an encrypted document sharing site. Hackers and scammers are looking for your financial data. Don’t make it easy for them by sharing openly via email.

You can't cross your fingers and hope that you are not the target of a scam or identity theft online.Click To Tweet

If you are in doubt, ask questions. When I email all of my customers, I include this message:

WARNING: DON’T BE A VICTIM OF WIRE FRAUD  Wire fraud is on the rise.  Cyber criminals are known to hack email accounts and send emails with fake wiring directions. These emails are convincing and sophisticated. Always confirm wiring procedures with your Escrow Officer at a trusted and verified phone number.  Never wire money without confirming that the wiring directions are legitimate and correct.

Premiere Plus Realty does not send nor receive wire instructions via email. Please confirm any wire instructions via telephone calls or direct person to person contact. Under no circumstances should you send any funds to any party without first calling and verifying the accuracy of wire instructions provided to you.

If someone is pressuring you to act quickly, that could be a warning that they are not legitimate. You have every right to ask questions and to verify the business and people you are doing business with. As they say, better safe than sorry.

Do you know someone buying or selling a home? Share this post using the share buttons and tag them in your post. Help protect them from identity theft.


Related Content: Selling a Home with Smart Home Devices

Whether you are buying or selling a home, your list of things to do can be LONG! Making a list of what needs to be done well in advance of your move will make the process easier. If you are selling and would like a downloadable Moving Checklist, sign up here.

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Naples 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Fri, 08 Dec 2017 02:12:39 +0000 The post Naples 2017 Holiday Gift Guide appeared first on Sonja Pound.


It’s time to turn on the Hallmark Channel, watch Christmas specials, bake lots of cookies and deck the halls. And it’s time to go shopping for the perfect gifts to wrap and put under your tree. As Andy Rooney said,

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

These locally owned and run small businesses are perfect for gift cards, entertaining out-of-town guests and relaxing during the holidays. I love to support local businesses year-round. This year I am sharing some of my favorite Naples small businesses where you can find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. I’ve also included a few last minute options from online retailers. Here’s my Naples 2017 Holiday Gift Guide.

Gifts for Foodies (and wine lovers)

Jane’s Cafe on 3rd: Jane’s in my favorite place for breakfast. Their menu is vaired and they have great options for vegetarians and vegans, too. Try the vegan ranchero veggies. On a beautiful Naples day you will want to sit in the courtyard all day listening to the fountain, while you enjoy great food and company. Gift cards for Jane’s are sure to be a favorite for family and friends on your list. Follow them on Facebook.

La Colmar Bakery & Bistro: This newly opened Naples eatery will delight you from the moment you walk in. You will immediately smell the freshly brewing coffee, cappuccino, espresso and baked goods. It’s as charming as if you were sitting in a Parisian bistro. La Colmar is a great gift giving idea – who doesn’t love when you show up at their house with delicious pastries? Learn more about them on Facebook.

The Continental: Part of the D’Amico restaurant group that includes Naples favorites like Campiello’s and Cafe Lurcat, Continental is dining with a twist. Their mixologists will concoct the perfect cocktail all while you dine and listen to live music in the beautiful courtyard. Service is attentive (greatly improved since opening) and atmosphere can’t be beat. Dining inside is nice as well, but if you’re in Naples, why not enjoy the great weather? If you have out-of-town guests that are escaping the winter chill, they will appreciate outdoor dining in December. Book your reservation via OpenTable and connect with them on Facebook.

Ocean Prime: Self described as modern, social and electric, Naples own Ocean Prime is a hot-spot for locals and tourists alike. Enjoy small plates, specially priced sushi and drinks during Happy Hour, seven days per week from 4-7pm. The bar is always alive, while the dining areas are a bit more reserved. Wine lovers will appreciate the Coravin, allowing them to serve outstanding wines by the glass. Going to a show at Naples Players? Ocean Prime offers a Pre-Theatre menu that will allow you to be seated just in time for the show. For every $100 in gift cards you purchase, receive a $25 bonus card reward (limited time offer). View their menu here.

Arrive Bearing Gifts – Perfect Hostess Gifts

Monogrammed Goods: One of my favorite stores in Naples, at Monogrammed Goods you will find as the name implies, lots of monograms. Pillows, pajamas, notebooks, clutches, towels… the list goes on. It’s a great store for hostess gifts and those that are a bit more particular. Monogrammed Goods has something for most on your list. Visit them in person and on Facebook.

Naples Soap Company: Head to their Tin City location for natural bath and body products including sea salt soap, body butter, candles and essential oils. Their handmade soaps smell amazingly fresh and would make the perfect hostess or housewarming gift for the holidays. Visit their website for full product line and locations.


Norman Love Confections: Who doesn’t love chocolate? Norman Love has four local chocolate and dessert salons. You can also find a selection of items available in retailers, such as Whole Foods. They offer stocking stuffers, gift baskets, Naked Love cakes and towers of chocolate. See their holiday collection here.

Lola Mia Roses: Flowers put a smile on everyone’s face. Surprise someone this holiday season with a stunning box of roses from Lola Mia. These are not your typical flower arrangements, and that is what makes them a show-stopper. They are artfully arranged in a beauitful box completed with a satin ribbon. Take a look at their selection here.

Adventure Seekers on Your List

Pure Florida: It’s not just for tourist. A few weeks ago I went on a Jet Boat tour with a bunch of my son’s friends. We had a great time. Try it – super fun and something different. They have many boating options making it a perfect gift card option for boaters on your list. Learn more here.

Naples Air: Do you have a future pilot on your Christmas list? If so, this is the perfect gift. Naples Air offers flight lessons and also has a charter service. This would be ideal for the photographer on your list. Take to the skies and let your photographer click away as you soar through the clouds. Learn more here.

The REVS Instiute: The REVS Institute is known as the premier destination for automotive research. You will have the opportunity to explore such classics as – 1935 Duesenberg,1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Colonial, 1909 Ford Model T and many more. You will be hard-pressed to choose a favorite. This is the perfect gift for any auto enthusiast, as the REVS Institute shares how the automobile has changed the way we live, showcasing a collection of over 100 automobiles. Learn more on their website.

Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides: A tour of the Florida Everglades isn’t just for tourists, although it’s fun to take visitors here for the afternoon. With native Floridian guides you will be taken deep into their 200-acre preserve, seeing wildlife along the way, hearing stories of old Florida and having old-fashioned fun. Do you know the Florida Everglades is 1,509,000 acres? Corey Billie’s airboats hold ten people. Gather a group and enjoy the ride. For more information, visit their website.

Fitness Fanatics Will Love These Gift Ideas

Ferrari Fitness: Located in Bayfront Place, this small, private training gym is ideal for anyone that wants to get in shape. The owner, Livio, offers one-on-one, small group and sports specific workouts. He is a rugby player, opera singer, tennis player and overall fitness enthusiast. Purchase a package of training sessions for anyone on your list that is a beginner and wants to get in shape or needs to change up their workouts to overcome a plateau. Learn more here.

JusTennis: If you have a tennis player on your list, this is the place to go. You will find everything from racquets to tennis socks. Family-owned and operated, friendly and always helpful. Not sure what to gift your tennis player for the holidays? Stop in – they will help you choose just the right gift. Visit them online here. They are located on US 41 just south of Vanderbilt Beach Road.

Last Minute Online Options

Rodan + Fields: My llifelong friend, Alison, is a Rodan + Fields Independent Consultant.I met a women that had beautiful lashes so I asked her what she did – sure enough it was Lash Boost. I just started using the Lash Boost and it’s amazing. I also use their skincare line. They have great teen products, too. Connect with Alison for your skincare needs and for gift giving. Alison will help you choose the right products for you and for anyone on your Holiday list.

Beachbody Workouts and Supplements: I have been a Beachbody customer and coach for eight years. If you or someone on your list is trying to get in shape or wants to take their fitness to a new level, then Beachbody On-Demand is the perfect gift. With On-Demand, customers have access to hundreds of workouts like P90X, Insanity, Body Beast, 21 Day Fix and many more. Stream them on your iPhone, iPad, smart TV and more. My friend, Suzanne, a winning WNBF Pro Figure competitor will be your coach along the way. Find out more here.

Looking for the perfect gift for someone on your list? Start with this Naples 2017 Holiday Gift Guide and support local small businesses.Click To Tweet

Do you have a favorite Naples business? Tell us who they are in the comments below. Using the share bar at the top and bottom of this post, share on social media and help support Naples small businesses. If you are out and about shopping, remember to consider supporting Toys for Tots or the Naples Humane Society this holiday season. Both organizations would be happy to receive any gift; large or small. Happy Holidays and happy gift giving!

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How to Sell Your Home Faster Thu, 09 Nov 2017 02:16:39 +0000 The post How to Sell Your Home Faster appeared first on Sonja Pound.


Selling your home? Want to know how to sell your home faster? I’m pretty positive you don’t want it on the market for months-on-end. Nobody enjoys making their home open house or short notice showing ready. You know what I mean. Each morning before you leave your on-the-market home, you have the usual morning to do list. Now add to your list;

  • make all beds
  • put all dishes away
  • clean the sinks
  • finish and put away laundry
  • empty garbages
  • put kids toys away…

The list seems endless. You are busy. You need to sell your home yesterday! Take a look at these nine factors, from Florida Realtors, that can help you sell your home faster.

Sell Faster | Sonja Pound | Naples Florida

What does that mean? What should you do and what should you leave for the new owners? Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors mentioned in the infographic, to help you decide what you need to do to sell your home faster. Also remember that your Realtor is an excellent resource.

Curb Appeal

We have all seen homes that have no curb appeal. And we have all seen homes that make you stop and stare. Whether it’s a home in your neighborhood or one you’ve viewed on Pinterest, homes with curb appeal make people stop, look and envision themselves living there. It starts with the mailbox and continues to the front door. There are many little fixes you can do to create better curb appeal. Here are some suggestions;

  • Paint mailbox
  • Keep lawn nicely trimmed and edged
  • Maintain sidewalk and path leading to front door
  • Plant seasonal flowers in a container or small beds near front door
  • Paint front door
  • Place new mat at entrance
  • Install new exterior light fixtures
  • Add new house numbers

For more ideas, take a look at my Pinterest board all about Curb Appeal.

Move-In Condition

Most people, especially in seasonal markets, do not want major projects. They likely do not want to spend their 4-6 months here living through construction. It’s also not optimal to manage contruction from afar. According to The Wall Street Journal, “homes that can be marketed as move-in conditions sell 12 percent faster.” Talk with your Realtor before you make a decision on upgrades or remodeling. He/she will be able to advise you, based on the market, if your planned changes create value and move-in condition for potential buyers.

Quality Photos

It’s no secret that home buyers are starting their search by looking at real estate online sites. It’s easy to pass by a listing with unprofessional photos. We have all seen the ones with a cluttered kitchen, dirty dishes in the sink, barely made beds, dark photos that make the rooms look cave-like… If you want to sell your home faster and for more money, please work a Realtor that always hires a professional photographer. It does matter. If you are still not convinced, scroll through some of the photos on this Facebook page, Bad MLS Photos and this website, Bad MLS Photos.  If nothing else, you are guaranteed to laugh.


If you want to sell your home for top dollar and sell it faster, home staging will help set your home apart from the competition. According to Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than non-staged homes.

Staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than non-staged homes.Click To Tweet

Related: Read my recent post, Home Staging to Sell Your Home


You’ve heard, location, location, location. It’s also about pricing, pricing, pricing. According to Zillow, “homes prices around or slightly below market value are almost 50 percent more likely to sell within 60 days than those priced 12 percent or more above market value.” Your Realtor will be able to provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis. This will help you choose the right listing price for your home.

Do you know what happens when a home sits on the market for months? One of the biggest issues is that the listing gets stale. It is no longer showing up on the first few pages of  Zillow, and Trulia. Typically people do not change the search parameters when they are using one of those sites. They will see newest listings first. So, if your home was listed six months ago, it might be on page 12 and nobody will see it. Pricing your home correctly is imperative to the timely sale of your property.

Right Realtor

Working with the right agent will make a world of difference. It’s important to find someone that knows your area well, understands the local and global market and knows how to market your home. Ask them for marketing samples and to outline their marketing plan for your home.

RelatedSelling a Home with Smart Home Devices for more helpful information as you prepare to sell your home.

Selling a home can be a stressful process. If you and your agent work together from the beginning, to identify any areas that will make your home stand out against the competition, the process of selling should be much easier and faster. Remember it’s your agents job to guide you through the entire process. They are there to answer any questions and to help sell your home for the most financial return and in the shortest amount of time.

Before you go, don’t forget to sign up for my email list. I will send you weekly emails about Naples happenings, monthly and quarterly real estate market updates, my open house schedule and other real estate related news. You can quickly sign up in the box below.

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Home Staging to Sell Your Home Thu, 26 Oct 2017 10:00:05 +0000 The post Home Staging to Sell Your Home appeared first on Sonja Pound.


What is home staging and why should you consider it as a part of your sales strategy? Often people spend days previewing properties with their Realtor®. At a point it becomes difficult to remember each house. They all sort of blend into one memory. But, if you think about it in terms of a few questions, it becomes more clear. Ask yourself which home;

  • Makes you feel something?
  • Can you picture yourself living in?
  • Can you envision your children playing and laughing?
  • Would you look forward to making meals for your family?
  • Can you already smell Thanksgiving turkey dinner?
  • Would be perfect for watching the game?

Likely, if you are trying to envision answers to all of these questions in the empty home, it’s not that simple. First you are trying to imagine it with different paint colors, then comes figuring out where the furniture goes, lighting, accessories… At this point, you are probably a bit exhausted thinking about all of the work the house needs. You have no time or energy left to think about any of the above questions. You are ready to move on to the next house that isn’t so much work. Now think of your home. How would a potential buyer answer the questions above?

Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in. -Barb Schwarz Click To TweetSometimes it is difficult to look at your own home objectively. That is where your Realtor comes in. He or she will likely have a home staging expert on their team. Together, they can come up with a plan to stage your home. Remember, the goal is SOLD in the least amount of time and for the highest price. Take a look at this infographic for even more reasons why you should consider staging your home.



Source: NAR 2017 Profile of Home Staging,,, Barb Schwarz

Home Staging Sells

The four images below are from a Realtor® friend, Lori Wakefield of Keller Williams Lake Travis. This was her vacant listing in Lakeway, Texas, an area just outside of Austin. This home was originally listed for $595,000. After two weeks Lori lowered to $575,000.  A few weeks later she lowered to $549,000. It had been on the market for 60 days. Showings had improved, but no real interest in the property. She then decided to have it staged, with listing price remaining the same. 13 days later the home was under contract.

On the flip side, if the home you are looking at was decorated in the ’80s, it might be difficult to get past the wallpaper borders, geometric patterns and fake plants. It might have great space, but that wall-to-wall red carpet and wicker furniture are too distracting. That is the last thing you want potential buyers to feel – distracted. You want to showcase all of the features and benefits of your house. You want them to see that the family room is open to the kitchen, the ceilings are 15 feet high, the recently remodeled master bathroom… If you are not already conviced that home staging works, take a look at these statistics from National Association of Realtors (NAR):

Home Staging | Sonja Pound | Naples Florida


 Simple Home Staging Fixes

Everyone loves family photos and mementos, except for potential buyers. I know it’s tough to box them up, but consider it a way to pre-pack and have one less thing to do when your home is under contract. Here are some simple staging fixes you can do;

  • Declutter. This includes closets. Make your home look spacious, not stuffed.
  • Clean Carpets. Not only will they look great, but it can remove any odors.
  • Make Minor Repairs. Has to doorbell not worked for months? Have lightbulbs burned out?
  • Paint. With the help of your Realtor or a designer, choose a nice neutral.
  • Pack. Pack family photos, knickknacks, seasonal items in your closets…
  • Store: Put bulky and extra furniture in storage.
  • Organize. Take the time to organize cabinets, closets and the garage.

According to Barb Schwarz, “Clutter eats equity.” When your home is for sale you want people to walk in and imagine themselves living there and not making deductions in their head for the work they will have to do if they purchase your home.

Selling a home can be an emotional time. Hiring a Realtor® with a proven marketing plan that includes staging if needed will make the process much easier for you. They will be able to look at your home objectively, and partnered with a home staging expert, recommend any changes that will make your home more attractive to potential buyers. When you are ready to move, make sure to sign up below for my email list and I will send you a Moving Checklist that will help you stay organized through the process.

Selling your home in the Naples, Florida area? Look at my Proven Sales Plan to see how I will market your home. If you need an amazing Realtor anywhere else in the world, I can help with that too. Call (856-857-7250) or email me now.

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Irma Strengthens Sense of Community Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:10:28 +0000 Are you thinking about moving to Naples but worried about leaving your community that you have known for years? You likely have so many questions, including; Will I fit into the Naples way of life? What are the people like? Will I be accepted into groups? Will it feel like home? Is there a sense […]

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Are you thinking about moving to Naples but worried about leaving your community that you have known for years? You likely have so many questions, including;

  • Will I fit into the Naples way of life?
  • What are the people like?
  • Will I be accepted into groups?
  • Will it feel like home?
  • Is there a sense of community?

All of these questions can be explained by talking about Hurricane Irma. On Friday, September 8th, my family and I checked into our community shelter. We are fortunate that our neighborhood restaurants and gym are hurricane rated. We arrived, along with about 200 residents. I wasn’t sure what to expect being in relatively tight quarters with mostly strangers. Families claimed their hurricane living space and set up for the remainder of the storm. When a hurricane is headed your way, it’s a waiting game. There is nothing else to do except prepare. And then sit and wait. As we all waited in the shelter, people wandered around talking to other residents and making the best of our situation. There were still people awake and laughing at 2:30 am. The next day was more of the same, except that Irma was due to make her first appearance. By Sunday, people were beginning to get anxious. We lost power a few times early in the day making it difficult to keep up with Irma’s track. Anxiety was also building as people began to worry about their homes and the impact Irma would have on the place we call home.

Irma Community | Sonja Pound | Realtor

As the eye wall approached, people were gathered around the windows watching as trees bent to near horizontal. As the storm intensified, we all continued to share stories, ask questions and watch in awe at what Mother Nature was capable of. We were without most power. The kitchen was powered by a generator, so we continued to be well taken care of. Many staff members brought their families to the shelter so they could continue to work and make sure all members were safe and taken care of. I can’t say enough about the staff of Grey Oaks Country Club. Everyone from the managers (Joe and Chris), chefs (Mike and Ryan), servers (Natasha) to maintenance employees. Joe and Chris worked around the clock. They slept a few hours each night, and were right back to managing their club and assisting members. So many were there and all pitching in to help. And the best part; they did it with a smile on their face and with genuine concern. From the stories and photos I have seen on Facebook, Grey Oaks is not the only club that sheltered people during the storm.

Naples is a community overflowing with people that don’t hesitate to assist when needed. Click To Tweet

To watch a brief recap of Irma, watch this: Hurricane Irma Video

Through the entire hurricane, not one person was unpleasant. Even with the stress of perhaps not having a home to return to, everyone was helpful and upbeat. Our club shelter served food and had plenty of water on-hand. But, people were still sharing their personal snacks and food they brought into the shelter. Teens were actually talking! Imagine that? A group of them, including my children, sat and played UNO for hours. They talked and laughed with old and new friends. It was so nice to see them connecting on a more personal level, all while Hurricane Irma was wreaking havoc on our neighborhood. There was a true sense of community among strangers.

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
-Vince Lombardi

As were are now in the recovery phase of Hurricane Irma, neighbors continue to help each other. I have been in contact with several neighbors that were out of town for the storm. We all help each other. We check on each other’s homes. We offer to help clear debris, provide food and water and have each other over for meals. And those that were well prepared for a hurricane, and have generators, have offered to open their homes to those without power. We cheer when a neighbor’s power returns even if ours has not. And this is not just in times of natural disasters. I find Naples people to be genuine, friendly and supportive – all day, everyday.

I had the opportunity to talk with so many strangers about their life in Naples, their children, pets and activities. I hope to run into many of them again. People tend to come together when times are difficult, but I find that in Naples, people are always ready and willing to offer help. To answer the question about a sense of community – yes, Naples is a wonderful, accepting and helpful community. It does not take a natural disaster to feel that sense of community. It takes a willingness to put yourself out there and try new things. It takes being open to new people and new activities. It is just like many other things in life – if you put effort into meeting new people and forming strong relationships, it will happen.

Will Naples compare to your current community? Maybe. Perhaps you will feel even more at home here, as you get to know the people of Naples and what our city has to offer. You will find that most people are not from Naples or even Florida. We have many people from Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky… At one point, everyone that has moved here had to find their new community. With people so open and friendly, you will too. If you are looking for great groups to join or have suggestions, please post in the comments below.

It’s important for you to know that we are ready for our seasonal friends and tourists to arrive. Please watch this video to see how Naples has quickly recovered from Irma, due in great part to our sense of community and willingness to help one another. We are happy to welcome you back to enjoy all that is Naples, Florida.


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Summer Drinks for Your Next Party Thu, 28 Sep 2017 10:32:49 +0000 The post Summer Drinks for Your Next Party appeared first on Sonja Pound.


There’s nothing like throwing a party at your house in the summer. Family and friends are always happy to enjoy Naples weather and a few expertly crafted drinks.

It's time to graduate from the ordinary beer and wine.Click To Tweet Before your next event, practice making these drinks that your guests are sure to appreciate. Why not invite some taste testers over? I’m sure your friends will be happy to help you out.

Directly from the St-Germain website comes these three favorites:

St-Germain Cocktail

2 parts Brut Champagne
1.5 parts St-Germain
2 parts Club Soda

Start with a tall Collins glass full of ice. Add above ingredients. Garnish with a twist of lemon. I prefer it plain or with a few muddles raspberries at the bottom.

Tip: You can substitute Sauvignon Blanc if you prefer. But, make sure it’s a good one. It really does make a difference.


St-Germain Shandy

5 parts Pilsner Beer
1.5 parts St-Germain
2 Lemon Wedges

Fill a pint glass half way with ice. Add ingredients, squeeze two of lemon wedges into the glass and give it a stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge or slice.

Peartree Martini

1.5 parts Pear Vodka
1.5 parts St-Germain
.5 parts Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Fill a shaker half way with ice. Add all ingredients and give it a shake. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of D’Anjou pear and a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

During the holidays, St-Germain offers a boxed set that includes a bottle of St-Germain, a glass carafe and stirrer. It makes it super simple to make them for a group. The carafe has simple marking lines showing you how much of each item to add for the perfect St-Germain Cocktail. You can purchase now via my Amazon link: This link sells the glass carafe and stirrer; you supply the St-Germain.

More St-Germain recipes here:

You can print or save the above recipes by clicking image below.

Sonja Pound | Summer Drinks | Realtor

For those of you reading this in the cold of winter, remember that Naples winters are just like spring in New England. You could enjoy summer drinks year round. Contact me if you are tired of shoveling snow and bundling up just to go to the coffee shop. In the meantime, share your favorite summer drink in the comments below.

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Selling a Home with Smart Home Devices Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:10:17 +0000 What is a smart home? Selling a home with smart home devices? First you need to understand what a smart home device is. It can be as simple as a Ring® doorbell or as involved as being able to control your entire home via an app on your iPhone. Today, it is incredibly easy to […]

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What is a smart home?

Selling a home with smart home devices? First you need to understand what a smart home device is. It can be as simple as a Ring® doorbell or as involved as being able to control your entire home via an app on your iPhone. Today, it is incredibly easy to manage your daily life via an app. When you wake up in the morning, your coffee can be brewing, your oven can be cooking your breakfast and the lights can softly turn on to illuminate your path to the kitchen. While you are enjoying coffee on the lanai, you can turn on some music and adjust your home’s temperature all within seconds. As you finish your first cup of coffee, your doorbell rings. Since you are not expecting anyone, you take a look at your front door area via the Ring® app. It’s FedEx, likely delivering another package from Amazon. You click on the talk button and ask him to just leave it at the door.

Fast forward eight hours and you are just about to leave work. When you arrive at home you would like to relax in the hot tub. You use your Jandy app to turn the heat on, you adjust the outdoor lighting, add some music and in a few short minutes you will make your entrance at a home that is completely ready for your arrival.

While you are in the hot tub, you decide to change the music. You simply speak to Amazon Echo and ask her to read an Audible book instead, call a local restaurant for delivery and check the weather for tomorrow. And while she’s at it, what’s the score for the Patriots’ game?

While you were doing all of that, your front lights came on, a lamp in the family room turned on and the ceiling fan in your bedroom was turned to low, just as your television began airing your favorite show.

Sounds great, right?

What happens when you sell your home that has smart devices? #smarthomeClick To Tweet If those devices are staying with the home, like your doorbell, you will need to leave the new owners with access to those devices. That means returning them back to factory default settings. This will delete all of your personal information from the account. For instance, if you currently control your lighting via an app, you need to leave detailed instructions for the new homeowner, in order for them to have working lights. You also want to make sure that your personal information is no longer stored – like credit cards and passwords. If you have to, set up a free email address and change the devices over to that email account. Once you have closed on the home, provide the new owners with access to those accounts. They can log in and change the email address and password.

Here are some things to consider as buyers and sellers of homes with smart devices.

Smart Home Sellers

  • Make a list of smart devices that will stay with the home
  • Before closing, reset all devices to factory presets
  • If an email is needed, create a free generic one such as
  • At closing, provide the email address with login, and a list of any codes needed

Smart Home Buyers

  • Ask seller to provide device manuals
  • Notify manufacturers of your contact information
  • Update all devices
  • Change all access codes for garage doors, gates and other locks

Selling a Home with Smart Home Devices

Whether you are buying or selling a home, your list of things to do can be LONG! Making a list of what needs to be done well in advance of your move will make the process easier. If you are selling and would like a downloadable Moving Checklist, sign up here.



Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to use them, I receive a small commission from Amazon. This does not affect your pricing. The commission is paid by Amazon.

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Welcome to My Website Thu, 31 Aug 2017 16:10:53 +0000 The post Welcome to My Website appeared first on Sonja Pound.


I’m Sonja (Sandholm) Pound, your Realtor® in Naples, Bonita and Estero, Florida.  I grew up in northeastern Connecticut. As soon as I graduated from high school I headed to NYC. I attended the School of Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After NYC, I moved to Sweden to attend Lund University. Since that time, I’ve lived in Rhode Island, back to Connecticut, southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and of course, Naples. I have been in Naples for three years and love it! I have never met people that are so genuine and friendly. Naples is truly a place to call home. My children attend high school in Naples, while my husband still commutes weekly from Philadelphia.

There are so many reasons to love Naples. If you are new to the area, or just considering a move, let me show you around. Being relatively new to the area, I have spent countless days driving and exploring with my eyes wide open. I am always excited to find a great local hot spot and off the path quiet places. Living in Naples makes it easy to explore other wonderful towns in the area. On weekends, my family and I like to go to Miami, West Palm Beach and everywhere in between. Read this about great weekend getaways. We still feel like tourists, as we live in a place where most people only vacation.

I can’t wait to meet you and share with you all that Naples has to offer. I know you are going to love it as much as I do. Enough about me. I want to learn about you and how I can help you find your dream home or sell your current home.

Real Estate: Buying a New Home

Here’s how I can help you purchase a home;

  • New to Naples? Let’s start with a tour so you can get to know the area. It will help you narrow down your focused search area and make our time together more productive.
  • Once you have narrowed down your focus, we will do a general tour of homes and neighborhoods in that target area. I will show you where schools are in relation to each neighborhood, where to shop, dine and relax.
  • Sometimes when house hunting, it’s tough to maintain your bearings and remember what you looked at. We will limit our day to five homes and at the end of the day, sit down and review what you looked at.

Real Estate: Selling Your Home

Here’s how I can help you sell your home;

  • I like to do a pre-listing appointment at your home. I want you to show me around your home. Tell me about the features and upgrades or updates you have done. Essentially, I want to know why you bought your home and why you love it.
  • At the listing appointment, I will be fully prepared with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). In this CMA, I will show you comparable homes that have sold, pending and currently on the market. This will help you choose the correct pricing for your home. I will suggest a range. But the decision is yours.
  • I am honest with you about any changes I think would help your home sell faster and for more money. Typically it is something simple like painting, removing family photos, organizing closets or cleaning off countertops. Simple changes that can help make a great first impression on potential buyers.

Real Estate: Investment Property

Naples has many opportunities to purchase investment properties. There are numerous new construction and established neighborhoods that have significant rental opportunities. Let me do the research based on your desired price range, amentities, location and rental history.

Contact me here for more information. I alway return phone calls withing 24 hours, most of the time much sooner. Please call me (856-857-7250) if you don’t hear back via email. If you are not in Naples, we can meet via Skype or phone call.

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