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.

Looking at July 2014 Stats for Townhouses and Condos

The market for townhouses and condos in Bonita Springs and Estero continues to heat up, if the latest report from the Bonita Springs – Estero Association of Realtors is any indication.

According to the report for July 2014, the area’s median sale price stood at $227,500, which was 13.8 percent higher than the $200,000 mark we saw a year ago. It’s also higher than the $215,000 we saw in June, although it is lower than the $235,500 peak for 2014 we saw in February. Overall, though, the trend is positive, and is significantly higher than the low point of the last 12 months ($185,000 in November 2013).

Analysis indicates that this trend is here to stay. Townhouses and condos simply are getting more valuable, which is good news for owners (and less than good news for those who have been sitting on the sidelines thinking about buying).

Homes at the top end of the market are doing well, too. The average sale price rose by seven percent, to $282,190.

Home prices are rising like they are because supply is falling. Active inventory stood at just 395, down from 879 from a year ago. There were just 65 new listings, compared to 72 closed sales and 79 new pending sales. This means homes are being purchased faster than they are being replaced, and are selling far faster – in just 50 days – than they were a year ago (when the median days on market figure was 100 days).

Current supply is at 3.9 months at current sales rates. That is in sellers’ market territory and a far cry from 6.7 months a year ago.

Townhouses and condos continue to be hot commodities. If you have thought about selling – or buying – now may be the time. Contact me for more info on getting started.

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.

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.



Tips for Negotiating the Selling Price of a Home

Selling your home or high-rise condo can be tricky, but knowing how to successfully engage in negotiations can mean thousands of dollars to you.

Here are some tips you can use for negotiating the price of a home or high-rise condo:

Assess the current climate of the real estate market. Sometimes there will be lots of homes for sale but only a few buyers, but at other times there will be a lot of buyers with less of a selection of properties for sale – which as you know, drives up the demand. Knowing the market conditions will help you determine a fair starting price for your home or high-rise condo.

Be aware of your motivation. If you’re looking to retire and move to Florida soon and want to sell while the market is favorable, you may be a less motivated seller. If you’ve received an amazing job offer and need to relocate, or you’re having a baby and need more room, you are going to be more motivated to sell.

Price it appropriately. Before you list your home or high-rise condo for sale, you or your real estate agent will check out the competition and find out what other houses, similar to yours is going for. I have clients who’ve used the Internet to obtain this information but real estate agents can access up-to-date real estate data. The most critical period is the first 30 days your home is on the market. I tell clients that it’s better to get multiple offers on a moderately priced home or high-rise condo than to risk getting no offers if it’s priced too high. If a home or high-rise condo has been on the market for too long, it begins to lose its appeal.

Listen to your real estate agent. Get the opinion of someone who works in the business regarding the listing price of your home or high-rise condo. A competent real estate agent will help you determine a good starting price.

Make some compromises. If you receive an offer on your home that’s too low and you plan to counter, be willing to make some concessions to help ease the blow to the potential buyer. For example, if the buyer wants to move in quickly, perhaps agree to a quicker closing date. If certain repairs need to be made, determine which you’ll complete to ensure the deal goes through.

Remember, it’s always best to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the area or community you live in. Their knowledge and passion for your home and the area will only help enhance the selling process.


At Your Service: Concierge Service at The Colony Golf & Bay Club.

Located in Bonita Springs, Florida, the Colony Golf & Bay Club is a private, gated luxury community. One of the many reasons I enjoy listing exclusively for this community is due to the vast array of amenities The Colony offers its single-family, mid-rise and high-rise residents.

In addition to the 18-hole championship golf course and Country Club, residents here can enjoy tennis, private dining at The Bay Club, as well as a fitness center to help members remain active. There is also a spa available to community members and their guests where they can be pampered, as well as a canoe park and private water taxi to The Colony’s beach park.

However, one of the great perks and an amenity I feel surpasses all other communities in Bonita Springs, Florida, is the concierge service.

The concierge can help with a slew of daily tasks such as housecleaning, home repairs, indoor plant care, pool maintenance, landscaping and pest control.

For those who live here seasonally (aka ‘snowbirds’), the concierge can help organize an absentee home watch, key holding and seasonal arrival and departure preparations. Residents traveling can ask the concierge for assistance with both local and international travel, as well as to help set up an airport shuttle. If you desire, the concierge will also find a personal trainer or in-home masseuse.

Residents at The Colony Golf & Bay Club enjoy the hassle-free lifestyle that enables them to spend their days enjoying the many other activities available in Bonita Springs, Naples and surrounding areas. And yes, the concierge can help organize all those other activities as well!

Contact me today for your tour of The Colony.

Heading to your Seasonal Home in Florida? Some Tips to Protect Your Northern Residence while away.

Even though snowbirds typically don’t arrive here in Florida until the weather up North gets cold, Naples and Bonita Springs do see a small influx in seasonal homeowners returning from October to early December. Regardless of when you arrive, the trip to Southwest Florida can be costly if you fail to prepare your Northern home and property adequately. It’s a fact – burglars see vacations whether it’s a short or long one, as an opportunity to target empty homes.

There are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, over 65 percent of which are residential break-ins. You can be rest assured that living in The Colony Golf & Bay Club’s single-family or high-rise homes, offers added security and protection, but it’s important to take care of your Northern residence prior to heading back to town.

So if you’re heading back to Naples or Bonita Springs Florida for a few months this fall, here are five preventive measures to keep your Northern residence safe:

• Make it time-consuming to break into your home. Dead-bolt window and door locks can slow a burglar down.

• Make it noisy to break into your home. Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective systems ring at an outside service, which alerts the police, fire department, and other emergency services.

• Make sure you have strong doors. Outside doors and frames should be made of metal or solid hardwood and be at least 1¾-inches thick. Each door must fit its frame securely. Even the best lock will not deter a burglar if it is installed in a weak door. Garage doors also need strong locks. If you have a tool shed, keep it locked since burglars can use the tools to break into your home.

• Turn off your computer and disconnect it from the Internet. If you save personal information on your computer, make sure it is difficult to access. You don’t want a hacker at work while you are on vacation.

• Keep valuables under lock and key and well hidden. Do not leave personal documents in your home office or desk–burglars know to look for them there. Put critical documents in a lock box or safe somewhere else in the house. Keep copies of important documents at another location–a relative’s home, for example. Expensive jewelry should also be taken with you or hidden somewhere other than the bedroom or left in a safety deposit box at the bank.

As you prepare to head back down to Florida follow these additional steps to protect your Northern home:

• Keep your home well lit. Mount exterior lights out of reach of would-be burglars in your yard or on your house. Put indoor lights on a timer so that they go on and off at appropriate times, making it look as if the house is inhabited.

• Make the house look inhabited. Leave blinds or curtains open in their usual position. Put indoor lights on a timer. If you are going to be away for an extended period, arrange to have your lawn mowed in the summer and your driveway shoveled in the winter.

• Arrange to have mail forwarded or held by the post office. Forward your newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick-up “throw-away” circulars.

• Ask a neighbor for help. Ask a neighbor you trust to keep an eye on your home while you are gone. You may also want to tell your local police you will be away.

Once you’re back visiting the sunshine state, be sure to contact me for a tour of The Colony Golf & Bay Club!

Source: Insurance Information Institute (

From Yoga Classes to Private Wine Lockers: The Amenities of Master-Planned Communities.

ed-wine-glass-and-bottleFlorida’s master-planned community scene is definitely competitive. There are an abundance of single-family homes, high-rise condominiums and villa homes targeting the first, second and even third home buyer. This means that developers must offer luxurious community and high-rise building amenities in order to separate themselves from the pack.

Most communities have fitness centers, but some of new communities or high-rise condominium towers now offer trendier fitness options like yoga and Pilates classes, or even indoor resistance pools for aquatic workouts.

Theater rooms are another trend in more urban cities, yet have been popular here in Southwest Florida for years now. All of the high-rise towers at The Colony Golf & Bay Club offer this type of entertainment in addition to having a bar, catering kitchen and even a billiards area.

One of the newest trends in community amenities, which is gaining popularity, are private climate-controlled wine lockers for residents. For instance, The Colony Golf & Bay Club’s private dining facility, The Bay Club, offers residents the opportunity to store up to 18 bottles of their favorite wine at a lesser price than what a restaurant would offer – if they even offered it. This makes going out to dinner at the Club even more affordable for Colony residents, plus they can enjoy a bottle of wine from their own private collection. Now that’s a great perk!

What amenities do you look for when purchasing a home?