Southwest Florida Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 1, 2018

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Interior Designer?

Interior designers may charge hourly rates, flat fees, cost-plus or a combination. Here’s what that means for you

April 9, 2018

Best City to Retire in Florida

 1. Naples, Florida

As most of us already know, Naples has been voted the "Happiest and Healthiest Place To Live" in the United States year after year.  Naples has now been voted the #1 best city to retire to in Florida!  With pure sunshine, pristine beaches, highly rated schools and a healthy lifestyle, its easy to see why Naples is the happiest place to live.  But what makes it the best city to retire to?  

The report was based on the following aspects:

  • Lowest State and local tax rates
  • Highest number of doctors' offices per 1,000
  • Highest number of recreation centers per 1,000
  • Best population ratio


For additional information about this report by SmartAssetM click here.

March 8, 2018

Naples, FL ranked the healthiest city in the U.S. for the 2nd year in a row

For the 2nd year in a row, Naples, Florida and the surrounding areas of Marco Island and Immokalee, have been ranked the #1 happiest and healthiest communities in the United States according to the Gallup-Healthways 2018 Community Well-Being Rankings article that came out March 7, 2018.

Living in 2018, everyone wants to be happy and live healthy lifestyles, so why not come live in the #1 healthiest and happiest city in the U.S. for that reason? Southwest Florida, also known as the Paradise Coast, which includes Naples, Marco Island, Immokalee, Bonita Springs, Estero and Fort Myers, gives you the best of both worlds with sunshine and tropical climate all year round! So why wait? Pack up your swimsuit and come join us in the sunshine state!

The top 10 U.S. communities with the highest well-being are:

1. Naples–Immokalee–Marco Island, Florida

2. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts

3. Santa Cruz–Watsonville, California

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

5. Charlottesville, Virginia

6. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, Florida

7. San Luis Obispo–Paso Robles, California

8. Lynchburg, Virginia

9. Hilton Head Island–Bluffton-Beaufort, South Carolina

10. Boulder, Colorado


The report is based off of how residents of the 189 cities feel about the following categories:

  • Physical Health
  • Social Ties
  • Financial Security
  • Community
  • Sense of Purpose





Reference Articles: Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being 2018 Community Rankings

March 6, 2018

Featured Listings in Miromar Lakes!

















Interested in viewing one of these properties?

It's easy to schedule a viewing!



Miromar Lakes is ranked the #1 gated community in the United States! Check out this article for more information on the Top Rated Gated Communities in Southwest Florida.


Jan. 10, 2018

Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida

Gate EntranceLuxury REALTOR'S Opinion of the Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida

It was merely a year and a half ago that I embarked on my quest to review and summarize the top rated gated communities of Southwest Florida. As a luxury real estate agent I am constantly asked what is the best neighborhood to live in, who has the best amenities, where is the best golf course, etc. I can tell you that there are many gorgeous communities behind luxurious gates in Southwest Florida and there really truly is something special about all of them. But, a select few stand above the rest in terms of their special features.

To see my first twenty picks for Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida, start with the following article. Or view my newest additions to the list (in alphabetical order)!

1-20. Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida

21. Bella Terra, Estero, FL 33928

22. Burnt Store Marina, Punta Gorda, FL 33993

23. Heritage Bay, Naples, FL 34120

24. Lely Resort, Naples, FL 34113

25. Treviso Bay, Naples, FL 34113

26. Verandah, Fort Myers, FL 33905

27. Village Walk, Naples, FL 34109

28. Vineyards, Naples, FL 34119

29. Pelican Preserve, Fort Myers, FL 33913 (a 55 & better community)

30. Shadow Wood (at the Brooks), Bonita Springs, FL 34135 and Shadow Wood Preserve, Fort Myers, FL 33908

31. Esplanade, Naples, FL 34119

32. Pelican Bay, Naples, FL 34108

This list is a work in progress. I look forward to adding many more top rated gated communities of Southwest Florida to my list of reviewed, approved, and revered!

Jan. 4, 2018

2018 Top Rated Gated Community: Pelican Preserve a 55 & better community

pelican preserveExplore Top Rated Gated Communities in Southwest Florida: Pelican Preserve

A WCI planned community, Pelican Preserve offers its residents the Florida lifestyle and then some! There truly is something for everyone in this beautiful community designed specifically for folks 55 and better, Pelican Preserve comes complete with 27 holes of golf, a magnificent town-center, tennis, volleyball, swimming, fishing pier, and incredible nature views. Read on to see why I’ve added it to my list of the 2018 Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida.



Designed by renowned golf architect, Chip Powell, the 27 holes at Pelican Preserve include ample water, sand, and grass hollow hazards. There are also beautiful practice facilities and a well-equipped pro-shop. After a round, relax in the clubhouse at the spa, fitness center, dining area or locker rooms!

Town Center

Pelican Preserve Town CenterThe mecca of Pelican Preserve is the Plaza Del Sol Town Center. It’s comprised of 4 buildings and exemplary outdoor amenities for the residents to enjoy.

Building A offers: Destinations Restaurant, Ceramic and Art Studio, Hobby Shop, Game Room

Building B offers: Indoor Theatre, Magnolia Room, Computer Room, Card room

Building C offers: Fitness & Aerobics, Juice Bar, Indoor Walking Track, Indoor Lap & Aerobics Pool, Locker Rooms, Sauna & Steam Rooms, Spa Treatment Rooms

Building D offers: Tennis Pro Shop, Outdoor Activities Administration, Restrooms

Outdoor Amenities include:

6 lighted Har-Tru Tennis Courts

Basketball Court

Pickle Ball Court

Volleyball Court

Softball Field

Outdoor Amphitheatre

Resort-Style Swimming Pool

Walking Trails

Lawn Bowling

Sand Beach

Fishing Pier

Nature Boardwalk

Butterfly Garden & Garden Area

Residential Options:

Pelican Preserve offers beautiful residences in the shape of condos, coach homes, attached villas, and single family homes. The homes in Pelican Preserve have styles and features that meet a wide variety of preferences and budgets with prices starting in the mid $100’s ranging to over a half million.

If you are interested in seeing these homes or any of the other Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida, contact me to learn more.

Jan. 3, 2018

2018 Top Rated Gated Community: Shadow Wood & Shadow Wood Preserve

Explore Top Rated Gated Communities in Southwest Florida: Shadow Wood & Shadow Wood Preserve

Located in the heart of Bonita Springs and Fort Myers, Shadow Wood & Shadow Wood Preserve, respectively, are master planned communities developed by Bonita Bay Group with three fantastic and challenging golf courses, lighted tennis courts, several delicious dining opportunities, and a very active social and events calendar. For these reasons and more, Shadow Wood and Shadow Wood Preserve makes my list of the 2018 Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida.



The two courses located within Shadow Wood (in the Brooks) are called the North and the South courses and were designed by Robert Cupp. The facilities include a beautiful clubhouse with locker rooms, driving range, short game area, pro-shop and convenient snack bar.

The third course is located in Shadow Wood Preserve and is deemed the most difficult of the three with plenty of areas to get in trouble between tall grass, water, and sand! The Preserve also has a full service clubhouse, pro-shop, locker rooms, restaurant, driving range and more!



The tennis program is open 365 days of the year and offers members 9 Har-Tru lighted courts meticulously maintained. The staff and teaching professionals are top-notch and run a fun yet competitive program.

Dining & Social

Speaking from personal experience, the food at Shadow Wood is first class! I actually had the pleasure of cooking at The Preserve during my college years. The kitchen is incredibly clean and well run – turning out delicious cuisine is the staff’s passion! Between the two developments there are two full service clubhouses with a variety of casual and fine dining options. You will not be disappointed with the food!

rosie_spoonbillsThe Commons Club

Residents of Shadow Wood and Shadow Wood Preserve also have the option of joining The Commons Club which is available to all homeowners within The Brooks. The Commons Club provides private beach and beach club access on Bonita Beach, a fitness and spa facility with lap pool, dining privileges at Rosie Spoonbill's, and access to the enrichment center which offers ample social activities.

Residential Options:

Shadow Wood and Shadow Wood Preserve offer beautiful homes of various sizes and price points. The Preserve has 293 homes that include coach homes, villas and single family residences. Views include the Estero Bay Nature Preserve and the historic Mullock Creek. Residents can kayak, canoe, and enjoy picnic areas!

Shadow Wood (in the Brooks) has over 1400 home sites lined with 85 lakes, green fairways, and 350 acres of preserves. Homes include custom estate single-family, custom single-family, traditional single-family, villa and coach home options.

Click here to see the current inventory of homes for sale in Shadow Wood and Shadow Wood Preserve.

If you are interested in seeing these homes or any of the other Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida, contact me to learn more.

Jan. 2, 2018

2018 Top Rated Gated Community: Pelican Bay in Naples Florida

Pelican Bay beach boardwalkExplore Top Rated Gated Communities in Southwest Florida: Pelican Bay

While all of Pelican Bay is not behind gates, this sprawling development includes some of the finest in Naples’ luxury living with various subdivisions behind gates and exclusive tropical amenities that will make you sing with joy! Located in the heart of Naples 34108, Pelican Bay offers its residents private beach access, restaurants, private golf, and so much more. Pelican Bay is the perfect addition to the list of 2018 Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida.



The Club at Pelican Bay is a private, member owned club located in the center of the community. It offers members 27 holes of championship golf.


Two beautiful tennis facilities are accessible within Pelican Bay and offer a total of 18 Har-Tru meticulously kept courts.


Residents enjoy access to Pelican Bay’s 3 miles of pristine white sandy beach, the North & South facilities, and several dining options – The Sandbar and Sunset Café for casual options and Marker 36 for elegant beach front dining. The beach attendants keep the beach area clean and setup chairs, umbrellas and cabanas from 9am to sunset. Members can also use complimentary kayaks and sailing boats, arrive by the tram system to avoid parking, and enjoy volleyball, shelling and fishing!

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Community Center

Pelican Bay’s amenity complex is over 25,000 sq. ft. and contains a fitness center, spa, art studio, pro shop and a very active social events calendar.

Within Walking Distance

Pelican Bay is neighbored by the prestigious Waterside Shops and Dining of Naples. Several fine and casual restaurants as well as high end fashion, department stores and boutiques exist for the pleasure of attendance! Residents can also take a short stroll to Artis Naples to frequent the Naples Philharmonic and The Baker Museum.

Residential Options:

Pelican Bay is comprised of 6,500 total homes which include high rise condos, luxury apartments, coach/carriage homes, villas and single family homes. There are 95 different subdivisions with each offering unique amenities. Pelican Bay is anchored by the Ritz Carlton, Naples Grade Beach Resort and Waterside Shops. It also offers 88 acres of parks and recreation!

Click here to see the current inventory of homes for sale in Pelican Bay.

If you or someone you know is interested in seeing these homes or any of the other Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida, contact me to learn

Jan. 2, 2018

2018 Top Rated Gated Community: Esplanade Golf & Country Club Naples

Esplanade gated communityExplore Top Rated Gated Communities in Southwest Florida: Esplanade

A special new gated community has emerged in Naples, FL 34119, Esplanade Golf & Country Club! This Taylor Morrison development is currently under new construction with some of the amenities ready for use and others still to come – some homes complete and others still to be built. The location is convenient to many of Naples’ finest attractions. Located just east of I-75, near several of the other Top Rated Gated Communities. Read on to discover the fabulous plans for Esplanade, one of my picks as a 2018 Top Rated Gated Community of Southwest Florida.



The 18 hole championship golf course is complete and open for play. It offers lush fairways and tees positioned for various skill levels. The neighborhood is currently "bundled golf" for an annual fee of $2550. At buildout, some of the multi-family dwellings will not be bundled but for now, all current homeowners are enjoying the beautiful greens.


Esplanade has four Har-Tru lay courts with lights for play anytime of the day or night. One court has stadium seating a wonderful pro-shop for both the tennis and golf enthusiasts. There will also be pickle ball courts once amenities are complete.

Dining & Social

Amenity completion in Esplanade will include a 15,000 sq. ft. clubhouse including a grand lobby, reception and administration offices, art & display gallery, grand ballroom, private fine dining, fireplaces for gathering, bar & grill, lounge, outdoor patio dining and outdoor event pavilion. There will also be a convenient fresh market for quality produce, fish, flowers, and more!

Residents will also have an 8,000 sq. ft. wellness center, spa & salon, swim center with lap pool, resort style pool area and an open-air tiki bar!

Residential Options:

At build-out, Esplanade will offer 1,121 homes among its 1,000 acres of nature preserves and wetlands and over 170 acres of lakes. The neighborhood composition of home options include 75% single family homes and 25% coach (multi-family) homes. Coach homes start with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in the mid $300s and single family homes start in the mid $500s.

Click here to see the current inventory of homes for sale in Esplanade.  There new construction options and customization is endless!

If you or someone you know is interested in seeing these homes or any of the other Top Rated Gated Communities of Southwest Florida, contact me to learn more.

Dec. 12, 2017

The Easiest Way to Buy a Florida Home When You’re Out of State

Partner with a real estate agent you trust; one who knows their market and puts your interests at the top of their list.

Finding your place to vacation, your rental property, or your new primary residence is difficult if you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you want to buy. How do you find a property in your budget and in a neighborhood that meets the items on your wish list? The fact is, shopping for a home when you’re out of state will always include additional stresses, but adding a trusted real estate agent to your team can eliminate many of the problems you would have to figure out alone.

Orchid Realty Group’s out of state clients work with us because of our years of experience in Southwest Florida. You may have first fallen in love with Southwest Florida’s picturesque shorelines and idyllic winter climate from one of our favorite stress free vantage points: being a tourist. Now, you’ve decided to call Florida home, and we know there’s a lot to consider and more at stake with your new investment. You want to live in a great neighborhood, and there are many great neighborhoods in Southwest Florida. How do you find the one that’s right for you? That’s where Orchid Realty can help, especially using our list of Top Rated Gated Communities in Southwest Florida.

There’s a lot of general information online about this year’s housing market. You may have read from the National Association of Realtors website that the average home listing remains on the market for 39 days. What does this mean to an out of state home buyer? General facts will only get you so far. Your local real estate agent will give you specifics about the area you want live. Orchid Realty can help you understand details related to taxes and fees, home values, and price changes in Southwest Florida. For instance, new construction and new business growth is creating new desirable locations to call home in our area. This is making it advantageous to buy in areas where outdated satellite images and street views might show only a tree line. Our page on new construction in Southwest Florida is regularly updated, and we recommend keeping it as a reference.

With everything you have to do to find a home in Florida, make sure meeting with a real estate agent is one of the first items on your list. Please fill out our contact form if you’re interested in scheduling a helpful call to learn how Orchid Realty can make this process the easiest way to buy a home in Florida. You can also just give us a call at 239-849-2230. We’re here to help.18200 Via Bellamare Aerial 9553