HGTV – Ormond Beach Best Realtor

New Smyrna Beach’s very own Sarah Caudill, MBA of Florida Life Real Estate was recently featured on HGTV’s “How Close Can I Beach”. You can view the show on Florida Life Real Estate’s website. HGTV producers began speaking with Sarah and Tim Caudill of Florida Life Real Estate over 2 years ago. They had followed this fast growing real estate firm and were intrigued how just how much of a positive impression their clients were left with of this team.

HGTV reached out to Sarah and Tim and started planning to shoot a show in the local market area. The producers chose Ormond Beach, Florida. Sarah and Tim had recently helped a young couple find their dream home close to the beach in Ormond for less than $300K. This dynamic team worked endlessly to find Ron and Stephanie the perfect home.

Sarah and Tim Caudill of Florida Life Real Estate are one of the Top Ranked Zillow Premier 5-Star Agencies. Florida Life Real Estate is also the Top New Smyrna Beach Real Estate Team and has a 5-Star Rating with Google as well.

Watch Sarah Caudill in action as she helps to deliver top notch service to Ron and Stephanie in the search for the perfect home. Go to to learn more about Sarah and Tim Caudill and Florida Life Real Estate.


Florida Life Real Estates, Sarah Caudill, MBA featured on HGTV

Where to Live in New Smyrna Beach, FL

Where to Live in New Smyrna Beach

As you consider a move to New Smyrna Beach, you will find that the number of neighborhoods in the community can quickly become overwhelming. How do you find the right one for your needs? If you are considering New Smyrna Beach FL homes for sale, here are some of the top places to live, and reasons why you should be discussing them with your New Smyrna Beach realtor.

New Smyrna Beach |

New Smyrna Beach |

Minorca Beachfront and Riverfront Condos

Minorca is a popular condo community for those who are looking for New Smyrna Beach real estate. The Minorca Condos offer so many perks and amenities, it’s easy to think of it as its own community, but it’s actually a carefully designed and planned condo development on the North end of the island. At Minorca, homeowners enjoy exclusive access to the community’s boat docks, tennis courts, clubhouse, and gym. The gated community offers peace of mind to those who purchase the stunning Minorca Condos for sale within its boarders.

New Smyrna Beach | Minorca Condos |

New Smyrna Beach | Minorca Condos |

Venetian Bay

Another popular community in New Smyrna Beach, Venetian Bay is great for families, because the community features a community pool, playground, golf, and bike trails. Families also love the convenience of being located just minutes from the sandy beaches of New Smyrna and minutes from Port Orange and Daytona, providing shopping and dining options. Homes here are modestly priced, yet still luxurious and spacious, to appeal to families of all ages. If you are searching for your first home in New Smyrna Beach, talk to your New Smyrna Beach FL realtor about Venetian Bay.

Venetian Bay Portofino | Johnson Group Built |

Venetian Bay Portofino | Johnson Group Built |

Venezia Riverfront Homes

If you are looking for stunning New Smyrna Beach FL homes for sale, you will want to see the opportunities in Venezia, a mature riverfront community along the North Causeway. There are no fixed bridges and boaters are only 10-15 minutes from the New Smyrna/Ponce Inlet. The upscale community is 5 minutes from Flagler Ave, Canal Street, Publix, and our beautiful beaches.

New Smyrna Beach |

New Smyrna Beach |

New Smyrna Beach real estate provides many opportunities to those shopping for a new home in the area. As you consider your options, you will want the right real estate agent on your side. I am Sarah Caudill, and I am ready to help you find your new New Smyrna Beach home.


New Smyrna Beach Realtor

Staging Your Home – Tips

Here are some of my best must-have tips when staging your home to sell.  What appeals to you may not appeal to buyers and I promise these tips will bring more money into your pocket as a seller.

Brand new appliances historically offer high returns to sellers.  Old appliances that make a kitchen look dated is a turn off to buyers.  Adding new appliances creates a “new kitchen” vibe that will bring in more money to sellers.  Stainless steel appliances are what most buyers look for.  “Slate” finishes are an up and coming trend that eliminates smudging on your appliances while still giving the stainless steel look.

Unpleasant household smells are a major turn off to buyers.  If you have pets make sure you shampoo the carpets or get rid of old carpet that has trapped bad odors.  Cinnamon and fresh smelling fragrances will help buyers feel more at home in your house.  Make sure you keep rugs clean, pets bathed, and linens fresh to avoid lingering odors.

Lots of light is important to buyers.  Buyers do not like dark spaces.  Open the blinds and curtains to let natural light in and be sure you have plenty of lamps.  Light-colored paint and light colored furniture will help improve your chances of a sale.


Curb appeal is very important to bring in buyers.  Trim your bushes and make sure your yard has been mowed and edged.  Fresh paint on the exterior of your home will attract buyers.  Plant colorful flowers that are in bloom.  All these suggestions will improve your chances of a sale and eliminate phone calls canceling showings of your home.   Buyers have a tendency to drive by homes they like before they view the interior with their agent.  If the home lacks curb appeal, you will loose a buyer before they even step foot inside your home.


Clear out clutter and items that may distract buyers when walking through your home.  Staging your home to show its potential is important to selling it.  Neutral paint tones are important and furnishings that highlight the functionality of your rooms is appealing.  You want buyers to picture their furniture in the room and be able to see themselves living here.

4 Things to Know Before Hiring a Contractor


With Hurricane Matthew behind us, residents of New Smyrna Beach and Florida are beginning to clean up and assess damage. While we are fortunate that no lives were lost in New Smyrna Beach during Hurricane Matthew, several homes sustained significant damage. Before you call the first contractor you find on Google, here are four things you should know to save you further stress.


  • Check out their credentials

We know- your home was damaged and you want it repaired as soon as possible, so it is tempting to call up the first contractor you find on Google and get the process started. Take a moment to slow down and remember that the damage has already been done, and hiring the right contractor will save you future stress and money. According to, you can check a contractor’s credentials on to make sure that they are licensed and registered in your state. After verifying their license, stop by the Better Business Bureau’s website and make sure that they do not have any complaints against them.


2) Who are the subcontractors?

It’s not uncommon for general contractors to use subcontractors to complete a large job or for a specialty, such as electrical work. When you are talking to a potential contractor, make sure to ask if they plan to use subcontractors to complete your job and if so, get a list of the subcontractor’s names. Check out the list of subcontractors just like you would the contractor- make sure they are licensed and bonded, and look them up on websites such as Angie’s List, where you can read real reviews from people who have worked with them before.


3) Request an Itemized Bid

While it might be nice to meet with a contractor, get a price and move forward with the work, don’t rush past the important details. After your contractor gives you a price, ask them for an itemized bid. An itemized bid will break down the cost for each element of the job so that you can see exactly what you are paying for and exactly how much each element will cost. According to, requesting itemized bids is not an uncommon practice and if your contractor balks at providing one, consider it a major red flag.


4) Don’t always choose the lowest bid

It is tempting to save money and hire the contractor that gives the lowest bid, but home repair is not the place to cut corners. When repairing your home, you want to make sure the repair is up to standard and will last for the remainder of your home’s life. If you hire the contractor with the lowball bid, be aware that you may end up repairing the same issue in a few years when the work doesn’t hold up. Invest in your home and hire a quality contractor who will use quality materials and do the repair to standard.

What To Do Before, During and After a Hurricane

With endless beaches, turquoise water, sunny skies and endless outdoor activities, there is no denying that life in Florida is a little slice of paradise. But even paradise occasionally has bad weather, and for Florida that means hurricane season. With Hurricane Matthew quickly approaching, here’s a quick refresher of what to do before, during and after a hurricane:


Unlike tornados, hurricanes give plenty of time to prepare. Take this head start seriously and begin preparing as soon as a hurricane threat arises.

  • Walk around the perimeter of your home and bring in any patio furniture, barbeques and anything else that can become airborne in high winds. gov points out that while you may be tempted to store your propane tank in your garage. Instead, anchor it outside – never store propane tanks indoors.
  • Stock up on batteries, locate your flashlights, get cash out of the ATM, restock your emergency supply kit, purchase at least one gallon of water per family member, fill your car up with gas, stock your car with emergency supplies and make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food.
  • If you have a saw, make sure to pack it in your car. If you are evacuating or coming back after an evacuation, a saw will help to navigate tree-blocked roads.
  • Keep your cell phone charged and have a back-up charger ready
  • Cover all windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood or custom fit hurricane shutters.


  • If you are in an area that is being told to evacuate, evacuate sooner than later.
  • If you are not in an evacuation zone, make sure to close the storm shutters and stay far away from any windows and skylights and ride out the storm in your most interior room with no windows, such as a walk in closet or bathroom.
  • Keep your battery operated radio nearby and frequently turn it on to check for updates.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting possbible and keep the doors shut to maintain the cold in case power is lost.
  • If you think your home may flood, Florida Travel Expert Dawn Henthorn suggests turning off the electricity at the main breaker as a precaution.
  • Above all, do not go outside until all clear has been given.


  • Only return home after the all clear has been given.
  • Be vigilant about downed power lines and trees and do not walk or drive through water as it may be electrically charged from downed power lines, according to gov.
  • Take pictures of your property for your insurance company. Many insurance companies won’t cover damage that occurs after the hurricane, so make sure you have photos to prove what damage was caused by the storm.
  • Only call 911 for life threatening emergencies and call the utility company to report downed power lines.
  • Take steps to immediately prevent further damage, such as sealing broken windows or preventing more water from getting in through a damaged roof.


Stay safe!

3 Fall Homeowner Tips for Floridians


Living in Florida we are fortunate to have long, drawn out summers followed by slightly cooler falls and very mild winters. Even though our winters are mild, there are still a few important steps you should take this fall to ensure your Florida home is ready for the change in temperature.

  1. Gutter time

Between summer showers and Hurricane season, it’s safe to say that Florida gets its fair share of rain over the summer and early fall. Rain can cause havoc on gutters, so do yourself a favor and break out the ladder to see how those gutters survived the downpours. Blocked gutters can result in a headache if they are too clogged for water to properly drain and may drain in to your windows or through your roof, resulting in some unpleasant and completely avoidable water damage. Additionally, gutters loaded with wet leaves and other debris can pull the gutters down, leaving your siding vulnerable to rot. Take the easy steps to prevent this and do a quick and easy gutter check. If your gutters are in need of some TLC, Bob Vila recommends using gloves, a mask, safety goggles and a ladder to scoop the leaves into a garbage bag then rinse with a high-pressure nozzle.


2. Fire Prevention

With winter and fall comes extra time in the kitchen cooking for Thanksgiving and baking Christmas sweets with loved ones. Take a moment now and ensure that your smoke detectors are up to the job. Test and replace the batteries so that you have the peace of mind knowing that if a kitchen mishap does happen, you and your guests will be alerted right away. Also, be sure to keep your fire extinguisher in the same place and regularly check its expiration date- a fire is not the time to realize you don’t know where the extinguisher is.

3. Check for Drafts

During the summer months, caulking is more likely to dry out due to the heat, especially here in Florida with the abundance of sun. Take some time this fall to check your windows and doors for air drafts caused by dried up or morphed caulking. According to, a good way to check the caulking of a door is to shut the door on a dollar bill. If you can pull it out with ease, you are losing energy. If you do need to replace your caulking, remember that not all caulk is the same. Use this chart from to determine what type of caulk will get the job done. Re-caulking your doors and windows won’t take you much time, but you are sure to see the benefits on your energy bill.


Happy Fall!



Sweets at the Beach

Every beach town needs a candy store filled to the brim with sweets to spoil both visitors and residents alike. Luckily for the residents and visitors of New Smyrna, Beachside Candy Co. answers the call- or should we say craving.


As a vision of teal, pink and white, it’s hard to miss Beachside Candy Co. the moment you arrive on Flagler Ave. But as inviting and alluring as it may look on the outside, inside Beachside Candy Co. is where the real magic happens.

With bright, beachy décor and homemade chocolate, ice cream, old-fashioned candy, retro candy, novelties, gifts and bikes rentals, stepping inside Beachside Candy Co. is like taking a trip to Willy Wonka’s cooler surfer twin’s candy shop. It’s easy to see why Beachside Candy Co. has been a tradition for families and individuals alike since they opened their doors in 2008.

Julie, the owner of the store, has used her creative genius to make the store come to life with little details that kids and adults alike enjoy.

“We do all chocolate in different types of shapes like alligators, chocolate covered pretzels and Twinkies,” said Julie.

Shelves are filled with chocolate starfish, turtles, palm trees and sand dollars and mesmerize the youngest of guests while salt-water taffy and old-fashioned candy bring a smile to the older guests.

Its apparent that Julie and her team love making Beachside Candy Co. a kids dream. From the imagination-inspiring chocolates to the kid drawings covering the counter, kids are clearly the central focus of Beachside Candy Co.


“Its an ongoing thing- if the kids draw a picture I display it and they get ice cream- I call it Arts and Ice Cream because that way they get to draw and have fun with it and they get a treat at the end. And they always come in looking for their picture,” said Julie.

This type of small-town charm and hospitality is part of what makes New Smyrna so special, and is something Julie is well aware of.

“I love the small town feel and the people who make it unique. Everyone is kind, generous and open minded,” said Julie.

Julie tries to keep Beachside Candy Co. consistent with the small-town charm and strives to support other local businesses.


“Most of the chocolates we make here, and with the gifts, we try to sell things locally made, like our sugar scrub and soy candles- we like to keep things local,” said Julie.

Next time you are on Flagler Ave, make sure to stop by Beachside Candy Co. and grab a sweet treat before renting one of their bikes for a ride down the beach.

5 Easy Ways to Add Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a big deal when you are selling your home because it’s the first impression buyers will see, and often times it can either make or break their impression of your home. Here are five easy ways to spruce up your curb appeal on a budget:


  • Add shutters

Shutters are an easy way to add character to your home without breaking the bank. Shutters provide that extra touch of character and help frame big windows by giving the eye something to focus on. When it comes to shutter options, wooden shutters give an extra homey-feel, but in humid climates, such as Florida, wood shutters will deteriorate over time. A nice alternative to wooden shutters are plastic shutters, which are ideal for humid climates because of their durability. Plastic shutters are also a little friendlier on the budget than wooden shutters and can be less maintenance.


  • How are your numbers?

When was the last time you looked at your house numbers? Chances are your house numbers have seen better days and are showing it. If your house numbers are rusted, faded, dirty or distressed, consider purchasing a new set from a hardware store. A good rule of thumb is to match the finish of your house numbers to the finish of your exterior lighting – avoid contrasting finishes and go for a unified look.


  • Flower Power

It’s no secret that planting flowers adds curb appeal, but before you go out and buy a dozen daisies, stand back and critically look at your home from the street. Better Homes and Gardens suggests resisting the urge to buy every plant that catches your eye and instead aiming for five to 10 perennials, one or two trees and three to five shrubs. This will give your yard a cohesive look and save you the trouble of trying coordinate several mini gardens throughout your yard.


Thoughtfully planned flowers add instant curb appeal to a home.

  • Go Solar

Not solar panels – solar lights. Solar lights can line a walkway or flowerbed, and add a touch of class to your front yard for little money and effort. Or, if you have a prominent tree in your front yard add a solar light or two to illuminate it at night, giving your yard the instant elegance of a 5-star resort.


  • Paint your front door

Your front door should make a statement about the home, but it should also be the unifying piece that ties the whole picture together. Just remember not to skip the primer, as tempting as it may be. Your front door is exposed to the elements constantly, so that primer is going to be necessary to keeping your paint job intact.


As always, if you are interested in living the Florida Life please contact Sarah Caudill with all of your questions regarding buying a home in New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Ponce Inlet and Daytona Beach.

Dogs Rule in New Smyrna Beach

With endless sunny days, miles of beaches and a laid-back culture, New Smyrna Beach lends itself to being a dog-friendly town. With a dog beach right on the ocean, multiple outdoor restaurants that are dog friendly, and numerous biking and walking paths, it’s not uncommon to see dogs out and about in New Smyrna. This week we are featuring a local business that has been keeping the dogs and cats of New Smyrna happy since 2007.

Silly Willies is a local pet boutique featuring unique dog and cat toys, pet food, treats, and much more. Since opening their doors in 2007, Silly Willies has seen a lot of change, said owner Vicki.


“When we first got here this street was a ghost town,” said Vicki, referring to the store’s Flagler avenue location.

Today, Flagler Avenue is the dynamic pulse of the town, filled with people and bursting with quaint stores and restaurants, showing the growth New Smyrna has experienced just over the past nine years.

Vicki understands why New Smyrna has seen such rapid growth.

“We have one of the prettiest beaches around. I’ve gone to other beaches and I always come back here. And there are always things to do; you should never be bored in this town. There are tons of really good restaurants and really nice shops,” said Vicki.

Shops just like Silly Willies, which Vicki said strives to provide locals and tourists with unique high-quality products that you can’t find just anywhere. That means everything from beach-themed collars with sharks and fish on them to fish-shaped indestructible toys for every sized dog.

“We are always searching for high quality products and a reasonable price. I think there’s a balance and we try to find that,” said Vicki.

Vicki also believes in employing other local businesses in the area and has several products from local Florida vendors. Vicki owns and manages a local treat factory called Kennel Master Foods, which employs about 15 people and supplies the shop with their famous chicken dog treats.


Vicki believes it is important to support other locals and to shop locally in order to preserve the unique culture and character of New Smyrna.

“We hear people all the time saying that they were in Daytona and then they found this and decided to stay here because it’s much quieter, just quainter and cozy” said Vicki.

Even though New Smyrna Beach isn’t Florida’s best kept secret anymore and is the vacation spot for thousands of tourists a year, local businesses like Silly Willies help New Smyrna Beach keep its unique charm and character.

Next time you are on Flagler Avenue, stop by Silly Willies with your dog and let your dog try one of their famous chicken treats- just know you might have to leave with a bag of treats!

As always, if you are looking to make New Smyrna Beach home, please contact us to help you find your dream home.


Happy shopping!



Buying a Home in a Seller’s Market

What can you do to be a competitive homebuyer in a seller’s market? Can a financing offer beat a cash deal? In the video below we answer these questions and give you steps to take before searching for your dream home in a competitive market.


As always, if you are looking to make New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Edgewater, Ponce Inlet or Daytona Beach home please contact me to help you make your dream a reality.