Are You Retiring? Consider Downsizing Your Home

Retirement is an exciting time, and if you’re at that point in your life, it’s time to examine your current situation, financially and in terms of real estate, to determine how you want to spend your golden years. When you’re ready to retire, downsizing from a single family home to a highrise condo can be an attractive option— after all, it’s finally time to relax! Read on to find out how downsizing may be the right move for you!

Downsizing Doesn’t Mean Downgrading!

When you’ve invested in a single family home, you’ve got a lot of things. You might have an in-home office, a garage, a yard. When you trade all of that in for a highrise condo, the tradeoff has to be worth it. Luxury highrise condos are the way to go. Maintenance free, chock full of amenities, upgrades galore, and exquisite design details; your condo could be what you’ve always dreamed of having. Add in a gorgeous view, and you’re living in paradise! Why vacation? It’s time to live the good life every day.

Two Words: Liquid Assets

If you’re nearing retirement age, you may be in a situation where you have paid for most of your current home (if not paid it off entirely). Selling your home for a condo may leave you with a decent amount of funds that can be used as you wish. Maybe you’ll invest that money, add it to your retirement income, or make your monthly payment on your condo lower. Of course, every situation is independent to the individual, but it might be something to consider if you’re in that position.

Declutter and Live Freely!

Don’t think of downsizing as a negative thing. Think of it as finding the size that fits your current needs and an opportunity to leave a cleaner, less cluttered life. Downsizing can mean getting rid of junk! You have it, I have it, we all have it. But why should you surround yourself with things that just take up space? Live with what you need and live well. Donate items to charity and feel good about the positive impact you’re making. Yes, downsizing means that you will have less space. However, you are perfectly capable of living a happy life — if not happier, more relaxed life — in a highrise condo.

Less Work, More Reward

Highrise condos provide you with easy living! No more mowing and watering the grass, taking care of landscaping gardens, or cleaning the gutters! When you downsize to a condo, you’re rewarding yourself with, to put it simply, less work! Not only will you not have to go to your job, but you won’t have to do work around the house and handle general maintenance. And that means you’ll have more time to enjoy the things you love, like golfing, hanging by the pool, shopping, and eating out. The great news about living in The Colony in Bonita Springs is that you will never run out of things to do. We offer golf, kayaking/canoeing, fitness, a butterfly garden, and more.

You’re Retired – Enjoy It!

Luxury highrise condos are typically surrounded by things to do! You’ve been working your whole life, and it’s finally time to take time out for yourself. Highrise condos offer a ton of amenities within the building, like fitness centers, pool and barbecue areas, private golf courses, and some even have spas. Picture it now: you’ll be looking forward to Monday morning because you can go golfing, hit the beach, lay out by the pool or do exactly what you want to do. These are all things that highrise condos, like The Colony, offer. That’s what retirement is supposed to be all about, right?

Freedom to Travel

When you own a single family home, the thought of leaving it can be daunting — what if something goes wrong, and no one is there to tend to it? What if someone breaks in? Who will cut the grass? The list of worries could go on. When you downsize to a highrise condo, you won’t have to worry about who will take care of your home because your association will take care of it for you. And as an added bonus, most luxury highrise condos offer excellent security as part of the amenities they offer.

Safety First!

Speaking of security, not only will you not have to worry if you want to pack your bags and travel, but when you’re at home, your mind will be at ease knowing you’re living within a safe community that has its own private security. Solicitors won’t be able to bother you, and scam artists posing as solicitors won’t make it past the front gates. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s surveillance in the unlikely event something might go wrong (after all, we do not live in a perfect world — but highrise condo living might be as close as you can get!). Security can get expensive in a single family home because you have to pay for the installation as well as monthly fees to keep it running, and even if you already invest in a security system, you likely don’t have actual security guards manning the entrance. Security won’t be free in a highrise condo, but it will wrapped up in a nominal HOA/condo fee.

Community Living

If you’re like many folks who have retired, you may have children who have grown up or perhaps moved away to attend college. Even if you’re married or have a significant other, living by yourself can get lonely. Highrise condos are an ideal situation for retired individuals because there’s a lot to do, and a lot of people around you who are at similar points in their lives and who likely share common interests. You can make new friends and enjoy spending time with the friends you’ve had for years. Individuals who invest in luxury highrise condos for their retirement years are looking for the same things you are because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be there.

Retire in Style! Consider The Colony in Bonita Springs Today

If you’re in the beginning stages of planning your move to a highrise condo, I strongly urge you to consider The Colony in Bonita Springs, Florida.

We’re located in the quiet heart of Southwest Florida, with close proximity to beautiful beaches, high-end shopping, amazing dining, and more. Additionally, The Colony offers highrise condos with an abundance of amenities: kayaking, canoeing, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a butterfly garden, and more.

To learn more about luxury, highrise condos in The Colony, contact Jill Kushner, a real estate specialist and resident of The Colony. Simply call (239) 691-5505 or click here.

7 Tips for Taxes and Luxury Real Estate Investments

When you’re ready to move forward with your next luxury real estate investment, it’s important to be armed with as much information as possible before you take action.  Choosing your next luxury home purchase can be intimidating because they often come with hefty taxes and rules that may seem complicated if you’re not a tax professional. Despite the fact that Florida does not have a state income tax, there are still real estate taxes that must be considered when moving forward with making a luxury real estate investment.  In order to help you make the best, informed decision, I’ve assembled seven tips that will make dealing with taxes a breeze.

1.Estimate Your Taxes

Planning ahead is the best thing that you can do when preparing to make a large financial investment. The Estero Fire Department created an excellent handout that explains how taxes work in Florida. Here’s the formula that they provide for estimating your real estate taxes:

Just Value (market value) – Assessment Limitations (e.g. Save Our Homes) = “Assessed Value” Assessed Value – Applicable Exemptions (e.g. Homestead) = “Taxable Value”

Taxable Value X Millage Rate = Total Tax Liability

It may be wise to estimate your market value (aka just value) on the higher end of the spectrum so that you are financially prepared to invest in your next luxury home.

2. Homestead Exemptions

Florida is unique because it offers the “Save Our Homes” assessment limitation, which means that taxes on your primary residence (homestead) cannot increase by more than 3% or the percent change of the Consumer Price Index (whichever is less). Essentially, the assessment limitations prevent your taxes from increasing in the event that your assessed value increases to more than the just value of your home. It’s important to note that if you’re moving within the state of Florida, you may be able to transfer your existing homestead exemption to your new home. The portability forms can be conveniently completed online through the tax assessor’s website.

However, keep in mind that in the event that you don’t plan on your next luxury home purchase to be your primary residence, or if you intend to rent out your home seasonally, you may risk your homestead exemption. Past court cases have shown that merely having a couple locked closets will not negate the “abandonment through rental” clause, which eliminates the homestead exemption. Be sure to consult your attorney and/or real estate professional if you intend to pursue the homestead exemption on a property you may rent out, as you may lose your homestead exemption. The good thing is that if you lose your homestead exemption, taxes in Florida for non-homestead properties are still capped at 10%.

3. Get an Appraisal & a Home Inspection

Because the property assessor’s office doesn’t always complete individual appraisals, you would be wise to get an appraisal to see the true value of your home. Assessors combine the value of comparable properties, consideration of costs (e.g. how much it would cost to replace your property), and potential income of the property to determine the market value. The market value is not always the true 100% value of your property, so keep this in mind when estimating your taxes. Furthermore, if you have proof to show that what the property you’re interested doesn’t match the assessor’s appraisal, you may be able to contest the assessed value. You should also make sure that you get a full home inspection. Just because your next home or real estate investment may be part of a highrise or within a community does not mean it is exempt from problems. Protect yourself and your finances.

4. Don’t Overspend

When you’re looking at making a luxury real estate investment, it can be tempting to pull out the stops. After all, your intention is to get luxury, so why would you hold back? One answer is simple: you can’t afford it. While it can be tempting to get every upgrade imaginable or engage in a bidding war (where it is very easy to lose sight of the initial financial plan you made), you don’t want to get yourself in a situation where you’re in over your head. The higher the value of a property, the higher the taxes will be. Establish a financial plan and follow it. You’ll be happier in the long run.

5. Be Prepared: Anonymity Might Be a Thing of the Past

Many wealthy individuals who are able to pay cash for a home — even a luxury home — prefer to do so to maintain their privacy. You may have even considered buying the home under a corporation or business venture’s name. However, due to the influx of shady real estate transactions over the last few years, specifically in Miami-Dade County, the federal government has imposed new policies to combat the issue. According to a recent article in The Miami-Herald, “The new policy will require title insurance companies to identify the true owners of shell companies that pay $1 million or more in cash for homes in Miami-Dade and $3 million or more for homes in New York City. Insurers will then have to report the names of the buyers to the U.S. Treasury Department.” Although this new policy relates specifically to homes in Miami-Dade and New York City, it’s important to stay abreast of changing policies that could potentially proliferate into surrounding areas of luxury real estate in south Florida.

6. Capital Gain is Your Gain

Whether you’re buying a vacation home or downsizing, if you’ve sold a property in order to invest in luxury real estate, you may end up with a profit. If you do, be aware that you are not required to pay capital gains tax for the first $250,000 in profit for single individuals and $500,000 in profit for married couples who will file a joint tax return. Keep in mind, it is required that you lived in that home for two years in order to bypass the tax. With that said, you may end up with a decent amount of money available to put towards your next real estate investment.

7. Get Qualified Help

Taxes aren’t always that easy to understand. Do your research when hiring a tax professional/accountant to help you create your financial plan to make sure that they are licensed professionals. And when you’re ready, make sure you hire a real estate agent you can trust. You need them to be upfront, honest, and in it for your best interests — not just the commission. If you need a professional accountant or consultant to assist, as a realtor in The Colony, I have the connections and recommendations to do just that.

The Colony in Bonita Springs: Your Next Luxury Residences

As a realtor and resident of The Colony in Bonita Springs, Florida, I can confidently say that an investment in a residence here is a wise decision. The Colony offers an array of amenities, including a kayak/canoe park, state-of-the-art fitness center, championship golf course, and more. When you purchase a residence here, you will have more than just a luxury home; you will have a lifestyle some only dream of.

To learn more about available homes in The Colony, contact Jill Kushner today at (239) 691-5505 or click here.

10 Reasons to Invest in a Highrise Home in Bonita Springs

Making the decision to invest in a highrise home is one that many individuals may consider due to their personal preferences, lifestyles, and financial means. If you’re looking in Southwest Florida, you should consider buying that highrise home in Bonita Springs, but not just because it’s pretty. Read on to learn 10 reasons why you should make Bonita Springs the choice for your highrise home purchase:

#1: Excellent Resale Value

No one wants to make a bad real estate investment.  The U.S. has seen an 8.4% increase in home values, and Bonita Springs is not an exception to that rule with an increase of 11.4% from last year. Market trends show that the median property value is on the rise in Bonita Springs, and in January 2016, it reached the highest values it’s been in the last five years with no signs of slowing down. Prior to that, Bonita Springs has enjoyed steady growth — proving that it’s likely you won’t just break even, you may be able to make money on your investment if you decide to sell.

#2: Bonita Springs Brings Options

Currently, Bonita Springs is in a neutral market, meaning that there are options, but you won’t get stuck in a bidding war due to low inventory. Similarly, you also aren’t going to lose money investing in Bonita Springs because of too high inventory. A neutral market is ideal for both the seller and the buyer because it’s not a high pressure environment for either party. And who wants to make a massive investment with added stress? I can’t think of anyone!

#3: Potential for Growth

Much of southwest Florida real estate market has been in a period of stabilization. The great part about that is now that the market has had a chance to relax, it’s in a prime position to grow. Zillow projects home values will continue to increase by 3.6% within the next year.

#4: The View

Situated right off of Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Bonita Springs is home to unspoiled, jaw-dropping, beautiful beaches, like Barefoot Beach and Lover’s Key — and what better way to take in those gorgeous sunsets than from the lanai of your own highrise home? Highrise homes offer spectacular views that you just can’t get when you’re on the ground. You won’t need to escape to paradise when you own a highrise home in Bonita Springs. You will live there.

#5: Low Inventory of Foreclosures

As the US has continued to recover from the market crash, foreclosed homes have become a more common part of a home search. The good thing is that the streets around town aren’t plagued by unsightly foreclosures — Bonita Springs has relatively few foreclosure listings. Market trends show that both foreclosures and bank owned properties have decreased over the last year. Although you may still be able to find a bargain with a foreclosed home, you won’t be driving past a slew of dilapidated homes in Bonita Springs.

#6: Easy Living

Obviously, whether or not a highrise condo is for you is based on personal preference. However, part of what makes owning a highrise home an attractive option is that they provide you with easy living — no need for lawn maintenance in a highrise! The grounds are typically well manicured and taken care of with a nominal maintenance fee. You will only need to worry about putting your personal touch on the interior of your home.

#7: Amenities Galore

Many highrise homes, such as Florencia in The Colony, include excellent amenities: a fitness center, pools, security, golf courses, and more. And it’s not just luxury highrise homes that offer these amenities. There are a number of affordable highrise options on the market right now that still provide convenient amenities to its residents.  It’s worth mentioning that highrise homes that offer security really offer an additional value as they are great not just for personal safety, but for the safety of your home and belongings should you choose to travel. Beyond that, Bonita Springs is also a great social community, with restaurants, shopping and, of course, the beach!

#8: Affordability

Homes in Bonita Springs, and especially highrise homes, are quite affordable, especially in comparison to nearby Miromar Lakes or Ft. Myers Beach. With a several highrise homes in the $100,000 range, Bonita Springs definitely offers budget-friendly options. However, if it’s luxury that you’re after, Bonita Springs has supreme choices with a plethora of options ranging anywhere from the $500,000 to multi-million dollar highrise luxury homes. The sky (and your budget) is the limit!

#9: Low Crime

As I mentioned previously, most highrise homes offer security, which provides peace of mind and comfort in your home. While no community is exempt from crime, Bonita Springs enjoys a relatively low crime rate. Trulia reports the crime risk is relatively low, with most of the police activity being community policing (simple area checks/patrol) and traffic violations.

#10: Shhh…Quiet!

Because highrise living involves living very closely to your neighbors, many condos promise inhabitants the ability to enjoy their space in peace and quiet. People are respectful of these bylaws not simply because they are required to abide by them, but also because highrise living is community living. You will run into your neighbors at the pool, on the golf course, or in the fitness center. And with all of the activities that Bonita Springs has to offer, you will likely see your neighbors in the hallways or in the elevators, and because of that, it’s important to keep the peace and maintain the neighborhood community-feeling of the highrise.

Choose a Highrise in Bonita Springs

Whether you choose to invest in a highrise home in Bonita Springs for yourself — or simply as a way to make money, it’s certainly an attractive option. Now you don’t have to wonder why you should buy a highrise home in this exceptional community.

The Colony in Bonita Springs has plenty of high-rise options available. Take a look at all the high-rise communities in The Colony – click here! To start your search for the perfect high-rise in Bonita Springs, contact me today.

Well-Maintained Featured Florencia Listing: #304

Florencia Listing Now Available

We completely understand buying a home is a big deal; that’s why Jill Kushner makes it a seamless process. It’s important for her to work closely with clients, so she can understand their specific requirements as well as the lifestyle they seek. Jill Kushner will be able to provide you with timely and inclusive information about new listings in The Colony at Pelican Landing.

Listings within The Colony at Pelican Landing are the finest in luxury homes and prestigious properties in all of Bonita Springs. If you have pondered about owning a Florencia high-rise listing, now is your chance – a beautiful Bonita Springs residence within Florencia is now available for only $699,000!

Florencia at The Colony #304 in Bonita Springs: Features

Florencia at The Colony at Pelican Landing in Bonita Springs is a high-rise condominium. The featured listing within Florencia is unit #304 – a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom 2,085 square ft. high-rise. When you step off the elevator into the private foyer of this fully furnished residence, you’re greeted with custom colors, warm wood flooring and contemporary furnishings with hip flair. If you’re looking for a residence with a view, Florencia at The Colony offers sunrise and sunset views over lakes, fountains, pools, golf course and Estero Bay. This Florencia offering is ready for you to move right in.

Florencia is The Colony’s newest tower, well equipped with state-of-the-art amenities including social rooms, theater, and workout room and pool cabanas. The Colony is part of Pelican Landing and provides access to a 34-acre private island beach park, community center, tennis center, and canoe/kayak park. Enjoy the sunset at dinner at the private waterfront dining facility called The Bay Club. Also, elective private Colony Golf Club memberships are available. Did we mention The Colony is in the heart of Bonita Springs, FL? You’ll be close to shopping, beaches, and all that Southwest Florida has to offer!

Find Out More Information Regarding This Florencia Listing Today

Jill Kushner provides an innovative, personable and professional approach to meeting the needs of both buyers and sellers. She has sold real estate within The Colony in Bonita Springs since 2003. Jill Kushner will absolutely love the process of finding your dream home in the perfect setting. If you have any questions about Florencia unit #304, please feel free to contact Jill Kushner today.

Community of the Month: Sorrento at The Colony

What makes Sorrento in Bonita Springs Unique?

Sorrento is a Bonita Springs high-rise located in The Colony, a gated community within Pelican Landing. Sorrento is actually The Colony’s first tower residence, premiering in 2001. Sorrento at The Colony ascends 21 stories high, with panoramic views overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and the Estero Bay. Sorrento has a total of 72 units, 15 of which are unique penthouse suites. Sorrento at The Colony features an abundance of living space, 1,920 to 2,342 square feet; the perfect space for relaxed living.

Sorrento Offers the Best Bonita Springs, FL Location

Ask any Bonita Springs real estate agent to list the most important features a property should have, and you’ll likely hear the following three: location, location, location. Purchasing a home in a sound location is typically a solid long-term investment. Sorrento is situated in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Southwest Florida – The Colony in Bonita Springs. Purchasing a property in a desirable neighborhood guarantees the best location – close proximity to shopping, SWFL beaches, golf, tennis, and fine dining.

Amenities at Sorrento in Bonita Springs

Amenities at Sorrento in Bonita Springs, FL are for a first-class lifestyle. You can enjoy everything that The Colony has to offer as well as a heated swimming pool, whirlpool spa, sun deck with pool furniture and umbrellas, pool pavilion with a barbeque area, and a fitness and spa area. Each unit at Sorrento receives 1 parking space. What are some amenities you look for when buying into a new community?

Buying a Condo at Sorrento in Bonita Springs

If you’re considering purchasing a condo in Sorrento at The Colony, Bonita Springs realtor Jill Kushner can help. Jill Kushner is a seasoned Southwest Florida realtor who specializes in real estate at The Colony.

Call the desirable neighborhood of Sorrento home today by contacting real estate expert Jill Kushner!

7 Reasons You Should Be In Southwest Florida

Here’s an interesting statistic I just found. There are 78 million baby boomers  in the U.S., and professionals predict that one-sixth of them will spend part of their lives in the state of Florida. That’s almost 13 million new residents of Florida between now and 2023.” It’s no surprise to anyone who lives here! Here are just 7 reasons why Southwest Florida, especially Bonita Springs, is among the top choices.

7. Boating, Fishing & Golf– Our area has some of the best waterfront in the world. Fishing and golf are not hobbies here, they are ways of life.

6. Pristine – The word “pristine” comes up often when explaining our area to an outsider. It best describes the litter-less streets, low crime, clean beaches, expertly shaped landscaping and conscious efforts of residents to keep it that way.

5. Sunsets – Sunsets in Southwest Florida are very special to say the least, and for lovers, nowhere will you find more romantic sunsets than on Florida’s West Coast. Around the time of the setting sun, if you are anywhere near the Gulf, you are bound to be shoulder to shoulder with several others looking West. When the sun hits the horizon put your cocktail down and join the clapping, for you have just witnessed one of the most sacred moments on the Gulf: Sunset.

4. Weather –Bonita Springs’ weather has average air temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest summer months are July, August and September. The best weather months are November through May where there is little rain and less humidity. Gulf water temperatures range from the 60′s in the winter to the mid 80′s from spring through fall.

3. Beaches – Bonita Springs has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Florida and it’s no wonder, since the word “bonita” in Spanish translates to mean just that, “beautiful”. The beaches that line the coastline attract people in from all over the world for the sun and the miles of soft, white sand.

2. The People – This one is easily #1. People who live herecome from all around the world – mid-westerners, New Yorkers, Canadians, Europeans and everyone in-between. SouthwestFlorida is a global melting pot with one common denominator:everyone is extremely happy to live here! This attitude shows on the suntanned faces of most everyone you’ll meet.

1. The Colony Golf & Bay Club– Amidst scenic nature preserves and overlooking the glorious waters of Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in Bonita Springs, The Colony Golf & Bay Club offers spectacular high-rise and mid-rise towers, custom single-family homes, villas and classic coach homes. Each distinctive residence within The Colony’s 809 exclusive acres is a modern-day renaissance representing the ultimate union of art and function. While this private, gated community defines grandeur and elegance, I realize that what usually inspires people is the lifestyle offered, including social opportunities, activities, sports and recreation, as well as security. The Colony has a unique array of amenities, and I want to make sure you’re able to experience it for yourself. I am passionate about The Colony, and once you see our little piece of paradise, I know you will be too.

Snowbirdius Floridius: The Florida Snowbird

 

Much like the birds flying south for the winter, this time of the year, human residents of cold climates are migrating to Southwest Florida. An often-quoted report by the University of Florida ranked Lee County as having an estimated 75,000 temporary residents during the peak winter season, the highest in the state. Collier County ranked fourth, with an estimated 44,000 winter residents. These “Snowbirds”, as the locals affectionately refer to them, do a lot for our economy! The snowbird creates demand for local goods and services and this creates jobs and a cash flow that Florida counts on.

 

Centuries ago, during the Victorian age, prosperous Europeans would escape the cold winters of their Northern homes by traveling to a warmer, Mediterranean climate in Italy or Southern France.  These Europeans typically lived a leisurely life of good health and prosperity.  North Americans during the past several centuries have also enjoyed this lifestyle. Many influential Americans and Canadians have enjoyed a winter home in the warmer climates of the United States.  Henry Ford and Thomas Edison both maintained winter homes in Fort Myers, Florida, where some of their most influential ideas were conceived.

Today the snowbird lifestyle is not just for the rich and famous.  Accommodations in every price bracket allow for a large portion of the population to live the snowbird dream.  Here in Bonita Springs, The Colony Golf & Bay Club caters to any need or want a seasonal resident may have. High-rise living is a popular choice for those who are not in Florida year round. The maintenance- free lifestyle and round-the- clock security features are appealing to many people who want to make sure their investment is well taken care of, even when they’re not occupying their residence. From a Concierge Service for those unfamiliar with the area, to a private beach and water taxi for those who don’t want to battle the traffic while heading to the beach- The Colony Golf & Bay Club is the Snowbird’s paradise!

Buying a Resale vs. Buying a New Home

It’s an age-old debate — the pros and cons of buying a resale vs. a new home. If you’ve already started your home search, you’ve undoubtedly become familiar with what you want in a home and neighborhood (and what you don’t). I have worked with clients who are unsure of whether or not to purchase a resale home The Colony Golf & Bay Club. So, I decided to dedicate a blog that highlights the merits of both.

The Pros of Resale

What You See is What You Get. When purchasing a resale home or high-rise you see immediately what you’re getting from upgrades to features to views.  This means there’s less risk involved than if you purchased a new home or waited for a custom home or high-rise to be built. There are no construction delays, labor disputes, or additional costs for options and upgrades.

Little to No Waiting Period. Things go wrong all the time with brand new homes – the builder goes out of business, the land is repossessed by the bank, there are construction delays – but with a resale home, you don’t have these issues. Moving into a resale home usually involves a set 30 to 90 day wait, while a new build can drag on for up to 2 years. This is something to consider depending on how quickly you want to move. For those seeking a second home or who are planning to retire, a resale may make more sense since it’s more convenient.

Evolved Neighborhoods.
 An established neighborhood, single-family home or high-rise tower are exactly that – established. The community you’re buying into has a distinct personality and reputation. With new construction, the chance always exists that the builder will not complete the project or that the quality of construction won’t be up to par with that of a resale.

Ability to Negotiate. With a resale, you go in expecting to negotiate the price, but there is little wiggle room with most new homes or high-rises. And new homes come in approximately 20-50% more than a resale. Always keep in mind that the starting price on a new home or high-rise is just that – a starting price. It doesn’t take into account the costs for options and upgrades.

The Pros of Buying a New Home or High-Rise

It’s All New. A newly constructed home or high-rise is less likely to experience the electrical shorts, leaks, and back-ups common in older homes. Plus, most quality homebuilders offer their customers guarantees on materials, mechanical systems, and coverage against structural defects.

You Can Customize. The great thing about a new build is you can customize everything – the countertops, the cabinets, the flooring, the light fixtures and more. When you take possession your home will be in move-in condition.

Green Construction. Many newer homes are built up to green standards, which are energy-efficient. Features like airtight doors and windows, advanced insulation technologies, modern appliances, will help new homeowners save money – and the planet.

It’s Current. New homes offer inviting new options like open kitchens, “great room” concepts absent of the rarely used formal dining spaces, spacious closets and higher ceilings.

Please feel to contact me with any questions you may have about purchasing a home, whether it is a new home or a resale at The Colony Golf & Bay Club. Together we can investigate what kind of home or high-rise residence is best for you.

Uncovering your Dream Home in Bonita Springs, Florida


Searching for a new or second home is easier once you understand what’s most important to you. I always tell clients who are considering moving to The Colony Golf & Bay Club that it’s best to organize your thoughts by writing down what you absolutely need in a new or second home, and what you don’t. After all, buying a home whether it be here at The Colony in Florida or elsewhere, is a huge decision. Here’s a good list to help you narrow down your decisions:

Look at the Community

  • Variety of architectural styles (vs. cookie cutter homes)
  • Natural lush landscaping
  • Walking and biking trails
  • Amenities like golf, tennis, and swimming
  • Activities and social events
  • Sense of community
  • People my age

Look at the Location

  • Beach access
  • Quick drive to shopping and dining
  • Access to theater, museums, and nightlife
  • Proximity to airports and public transportation
  • Quality school system (for families)

Determine the type of Home Structure

  • Single family or high-rise home
  • One- or two-car garage
  • Home office
  • Guest bedroom/bath
  • Formal living room
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • Patio or lanai
  • Bonus room

Think about Your Living Style

  • Low maintenance (high-rise homes)
  • Private land for tending a garden, making home improvements (single-family homes)
  • Gourmet appliances
  • Outdoor living area
  • View (Gulf of Mexico, natural preserve or Golf Course)
  • Light and bright
  • Lots of shade
  • Onsite amenities without leaving your home

I’d love to take you on a tour of The Colony, so feel free to contact me today. Happy Dream Home Hunting!

Bonus Room Decorating Idea: Forget the ‘Man Cave’. It’s time for the ‘Lady Cave’.

We’ve all heard the term “Man Cave” before. Most of us know the phrase to represent that male sanctuary where men are free to do and decorate as they please, be alone for “man-time” or hang out with friends. Move over men, it’s the woman’s turn!

Over the years, I’ve seen a trend amongst retired women or empty nesters and moms alike, creating a husband or children-free zone in their homes (with the exception of when the grandchildren visit of course!). The reasons vary. For some women, it’s a place to work and for others, it’s a place to relax, de-stress and at best, escape from the hectic world even if it’s for an hour.

Here are a few steps to help you create that perfect ‘lady cave’ whether it’s in your single-family home, villa, or high-rise condo.

Step 1: Claim Your Territory. The obvious choice is using a guest room. That may be easier for those empty nesters who live at The Colony Golf  & Bay Club and enjoy the retirement lifestyle. For moms who still have children at home, you may not have this option. But don’t worry. You can carve out a spot in the attic, basement, garage, utility room or even in your own bedroom. If these are your options, the close quarters may seem claustrophobic, so try choosing a windowed area. This will help open up the space. If that’s not possible, hang some mirrors, which will give the illusion of more space.

Step 2: Shut the World Out. This is easy if you have a home or high-rise condo with a guest room or bonus room. You can simply close the door. If you don’t have this option, simply add a sheer curtain, divider or screen.

Step 3: Choose Your Colors. This is your room so surround yourself with inspiration and things you love, including color. Painting the walls or buying a small ream of wallpaper is an instant way to transform a space. But if that’s too labor intensive, just create a consistent color scheme with your chosen furnishings. Picking the right hues depends on the ultimate goal for your cave. If you’re looking for a meditative, relaxing space, warm blues and greens are proven calming influences. Bright, neon greens and yellows are said to spark creativity.

Step 4: Find Comfortable Seating. Whether it’s a chair, chaise lounge, recliner, sofa, or loveseat, the seating is your throne, so choose something comfortable. Add layers of comfortable pillows in patterns and colors you love.

Step 5: Determine Storage Options. Storage should be functional and decorative in a ‘lady cave’. Think bookshelves, wall shelves, a desk, cabinets, decorative boxes, fabric covered file boxes or baskets.  Make sure you have enough storage to keep everything out of sight that you don’t want to see, and only leave out those items that have meaning and purpose to you.

Step 6: Add personality. Whether you’re using your area to work, craft, study, write or simply de-stress, the key is bringing in a few items that offer a positive vibe. Add a plant or fresh flowers to give it some life. Add a relaxation fountain to drown out background noise. Combine decorative items and framed photos that inspire you. Add mirrors, painted backs or lights to bookcases to showcase your treasures.

Last but not least, when you’re done creating the space, don’t forget to hang the most important decoration of all on the outside of your cave: the “do not disturb” sign.