Category Archives: Retirement

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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.


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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!


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Why Moving to Florida is a Great Retirement Move.

Colony 471 - Why Moving to Florida is a Great Retirement Move.

First, let me start off by saying that I’m not giving out legal advice. I’m a realtor who specializes in representing real estate at The Colony Golf & Bay Club here in Bonita Springs, Florida. This information is mainly to provide a helpful overview of why I think moving to Florida is a great retirement choice.

Now if you’re close to retirement age or simply want to own a home in another state, you may be wondering where you should move. Well, here are four reasons why I think Florida makes the perfect choice.

1. No State Income Taxes: There are obvious advantages to becoming a Florida resident. The first, and most well known is that Florida has no state income tax. However, to be fair, there are other states that offer this advantage; like our neighbor across the Gulf, Texas. Where Florida differentiates itself from other states is Florida’s homestead protection.

When you’re looking for residency, the safety that homestead protection provides should give you peace of mind that even in troubled times the homestead protection will not be subject to change. The homestead protection comes with advantages beyond just the homestead exemption. It protects a Florida resident from losing their home, no matter what the value, to a creditor or any other lien except for mortgages. While I’m sure your goal in retirement isn’t to file for bankruptcy, it’s good to know your Florida home will be safe.

2. Property Tax Savings: It’s no secret that states in the Northeast and Midwest have the highest property taxes. Florida, however, has implemented protections that prevent property taxes from uncontrollable increases. Also the Florida “Save our Home Act” provides for a homestead exemption on a Florida residents primary residence. Once qualified for the exemption, the assessed value of the property for taxes purposes has an exemption of the first $50,000 of taxable value for all taxing entities. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes, including school district taxes. The additional exemption up to $25,000, applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes.* Also, and probably more importantly, once your Florida home is homestead the assessed value for tax purposes can’t rise more than 3% in any given year. So over a long time frame your Florida home’s market value will increase more than its assessed value deriving equity from the difference which you do not pay taxes on.

3. Great Weather Year Round: Many of my clients from the Midwest or Northeast aren’t fans of the cold winters. If you share their sentiment, I’m guessing it won’t require much persuading to get you to move to Florida. Even if you consider yourself a Snowbird heading down to Florida for the winter, it will let you escape that dreadful cold and those punishing snow and ice storms. You’ll get to enjoy perpetual summer, sunshine, amazing beaches, golf and gorgeous sunsets.

4. Amazing Homes: Bonita Springs offers some amazing master-planned communities which feature a host of amenities for just about everyone. The Colony Golf & Bay Club, for instance, offers spectacular high-rise and mid-rise towers, custom single-family homes, villas and classic coach homes. Representing both buyers and sellers, I feel privileged to specialize in offering real estate within this luxury community. The first question I ask people isn’t “How much square footage are you looking for?” it’s, “What’s important to you and your family in your Florida agenda?” While this private, gated community in Bonita Springs, Florida 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. And that’s exactly the reason why I specialize in The Colony.

Ready to retire or purchase a second home? Stop by for a tour on your next trip to Bonita Springs, Florida!

* Source: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/taxpayers/exemptions.html

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Tips to Follow Before Heading to Florida for the Season.

bayclubview - Tips to Follow Before Heading to Florida for the Season.It’s almost that time when our Northern friends aka “Snowbirds” arrive in Florida to escape the cold winter up North. The Bonita Springs and Naples areas bustle with activity during this time. I personally look forward to having our Northern friends back! There’s no better way to enjoy the retirement lifestyle than here in sunny Florida. Although our seasonal residents don’t officially arrive until January, there is an influx of individuals who’ll be heading down this Fall.

As you know, heading to Florida for the season means leaving your Northern or Midwestern home unoccupied. So, here are some tips to protect your home and finances while you’re gone for a few months:

Prepare your home for the cold winter ahead. Just as we prepare our homes for the summer, same goes for winter. There are some key steps to prepare your home for cold weather and snowstorms, which from an insurance perspective, will help with expensive damage or homeowners insurance claims. But it’s even more important to prepare your house if it will be vacant during the coldest months of the year since you won’t be there to notice problems like a small leak that can cause a lot of water damage by the time you return in the spring.

Before you leave for Florida, inspect your roof for any damage or worn shingles that can lead to leaks. In fact, clean your gutters and downspouts and check for any clogs that may cause water damage to interior walls of your home. Another great tip is to open cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to get into concealed spaces, which can make pipes less likely to freeze. Also, drain and shut off outdoor water faucets.

Trim Your Trees. We know Mother Nature can dish out some nasty winter winds and snowstorms, which can cause a lot of damage to your home. Fallen tree limbs can be very expensive and may not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Be sure to remove dead trees or large overhanging tree limbs before you leave for Florida.

Ask or Pay Someone to Shovel Snow. Pay someone or arrange to have a neighbor clean snow from your driveway, sidewalk, and dryer vent opening when you’re gone. This will help prevent melting snow from leaking into your home and causing damage. It can also reduce slip-and-fall liability losses, and prevent your home from looking vacant and becoming a target of thieves!

Secure Your home. One of the biggest issues when being away for months, is home security. Make sure you stop your newspaper delivery and forward your mail to your Florida address or have it picked up on a regular basis by a friend or neighbor. Also have someone check the house at least once a week to make sure any flyers or packages that are delivered while you’re gone don’t build up and make the house look unoccupied. Home security systems are best, but if you don’t have one, make sure you secure doors and windows with deadbolt locks, and install slide locks or other security locks on sliding glass doors. Another great item to install are variable light timers, which turn lights on and off at different times to make it look like someone is home.

Update Your Utilities & Phone Company. Be sure to ask your utility provider to shut off the water to your home from the street. Or you can shut off the main water supply to the house. Also, some utilities companies can set your account to vacant status while you’re away so that you don’t have to worry about receiving water meter readings or bills while you’re gone. For those of you who have land lines, some providers allow individuals who head south for the winter to place their telephone service on a vacation rate. This means your telephone is placed into a discounted and suspended mode that assures you will receive the same telephone number when you return in the spring and does not incur any reconnect charges.

Notify Your Financial Institution. Give your bank your Florida address and contact information before you leave, which is important so you can continue to receive your statements and to alert bank representatives about out-of-state debit and credit card charges. Or better yet, sign up for online banking!

Safe travels this season and be sure to stop by The Colony Golf & Bay Club for a tour during your stay!