What do Homeowners Association Fees (HOA) Cover

What do HOA fees pay for?

Generally, homeowners in HOA communities will write a check to the association governing their community every quarter. The amount paid has a huge range between neighborhoods but often hover between $300-$500 a month for a non-golf subdivision. What those monthly fees cover can also vary widely with some associations paying for very little with others paying for everything! Here are some of the items commonly paid for by HOA fees:

Professional Management and Services

Every HOA is going to have part of their budget dedicated to paying the management company that oversees the neighborhood. These management companies help the neighborhood’s Board of Directors, control the fining committees, keep an eye out for items needing repair, enforce the rules of the neighborhood and more. Also, HOA’s will have an accountant and an attorney that represent the neighborhood as well.

Cable TV and Internet

One of my favorite things that HOA fees often cover are cable television and Internet. Neighborhoods negotiate a much lower bulk rate with the service provider and the homeowners receive the equipment and service as part of their quarterly dues.

Why do I love this being included? It’s simple—most of us will use both services yet paying for them as an individual consumer can be very expensive. I frequently hear of people paying $150 a month or more for cable television and Internet so by paying for it through the HOA fees, the neighborhood residents all save a little money.

Lawn and Land Maintenance

What’s better than spending your weekend mowing the lawn and taking care of the flowers and shrubs? Not into it? Neither are most of the homeowners. Your quarterly dues more often than not will include landscaping in various degrees. Some will only take care of the cutting of the grass while the owners take care of shrubs or flowers. Others take care of absolutely everything that has to do with the landscaping. Paying for this as a member of an association will help you avoid doing that tough work on your own.

I do have to mention here that landscaping is the #1 item I hear homeowners complain about. There are a few reasons why. First, some landscape companies just don’t do as good of a job as others. Some may cut corners or not pick up any debris/trash as they work. Second, landscapers tend to increase in cost year after year when working with an association. That increase gets passed down to the homeowners in their quarterly dues. Finally, I hear a lot that people ask for additional services from the landscapers or gardens cut a certain way and the landscapers refuse to do it without management approval.

All-in-all, I love that landscaping is included in my neighborhood. I really don’t want to have to purchase the equipment to do it, nor do I want to spend my time working in the sun when I could be spending it with my family or working a bit extra.

Insurance

A big expense your quarterly dues go to is insurance. However, this can be a lot different depending on if you’re in a condo or a single family home neighborhood.

Condo insurance will generally cover the buildings exterior or the “common elements.” Condo owners will usually have to purchase “content insurance” or similar for the interior of their units. There’s a grey area here because if someone were to break in a common element (such as a roof leak), the insurance should pay for the interior of your condo.

The other big insurance condo communities generally purchase is flood insurance on the building. There are a few communities, Glades Country Club for example, where the flood insurance is the responsibility of the owners. However, more often than not the flood insurance is going to be paid through the HOA fees.

Single family home neighborhoods will have insurance on the common elements of the neighborhood but owners are going to have to purchase their own homeowners insurance on top of their quarterly HOA fees.

Pest Control

Many HOA communities have exterior pest control included. You’re going to be on your own for the interior of your property but the exterior will often be maintained through the HOA fees.

Neighborhood Facilities

Do you have a clubhouse? Is there a tennis court? Fitness center? All of these items require management and upkeep which your HOA dues will cover. In fact, most of these facilities have a useful life defined before major work needs to be done. Take a pool for example—it will need to be resurfaced at a very high cost down the road. Your HOA fees are going to that project!

Security

My neighborhood has a gatehouse with a 24 hour a day guard. Who pays the guard? That’s right! Your HOA fees pay that salary.

Water

We see water paid in HOA fees most often when we’re talking about condominiums. That’s a big expense that your fees cover in some instances.

Irrigation Water

Irrigation water can come from a number of sources such as reclaimed water, using a lake as a source of irrigation, or sometimes central city water. That city water doesn’t come free so your HOA fees pay that bill so that the community’s landscaping can remain beautiful.

Repairs and Maintenance

Light post bulbs, cracked sidewalks, broken entrance gates and more will happen at any community and require some cash to repair. That money is going to come from your HOA fees!

How should I evaluate if the fees are reasonable?

It can seem a bit confusing when you look at two homes to buy and they’re in very comparable neighborhoods yet the HOA fees are very different. This happens all of the time so ask us what the HOA fees cover.

For me, the three big categories I look at are landscaping, cable television and repairs. I know that cable TV and internet is going to cost me around $150 a month from my own pocket. Plus, if my neighborhood has a lot of really great amenities, I expect to pay a lot more in HOA fees for those privileges since they must be maintained and repaired/replaced in the future. Finally, I want to have a look at the quality of the landscaping and what exactly is paid for by my HOA fees. If it is just mowing versus full landscaping, that will influence my opinion of the value of the dues.

Don’t forget to evaluate the reserve balances and contributions.

Quite simply, reserves are the money set aside every quarter from the HOA fees to cover big projects that will need financing later on.

Many neighborhoods (especially condos) will cover roof replacement on the buildings. Imagine the cost of that! In order to have that benefit, the management will need to set aside a lot of money in savings to pay for the project.

How do we know if the reserves are enough? The first thing to do is look at the neighborhood’s balance sheet and do a sanity check—are the numbers in the reserves reasonable? Then, take it a step further by seeing if the reserve contains 70% of the item’s estimated cost. Also find out if there have been special assessments that may show deteriorating conditions in the neighborhood and therefore more spending or if the special assessments were simply due to mismanagement.

4 Dirty Truths About Real Estate Teams

Let’s state the obvious and get this out of the way right now.

We are a real estate team so this article may seem odd since it is coming from us. However, not all teams are created equally and we do our very best to avoid these pitfalls below. With that disclaimer out of the way, here are some tough facts about some real estate teams.

Many real estate teams are the starting point for brand new agents.

One of the main reasons agents join a team is for the training, leads and support that the experienced team leaders provide. When you’re selling your highest valued asset or buying a new property, do you want a brand new agent to represent you? Probably not, however that’s likely what you’re going to get when you call a team to buy or sell your property.

You may never see or hear from the team leader once your home is under contract.

Team leaders are usually the big names in real estate in each town. They’re the face of the team and should be providing excellent service to customers through the members of their team. The team leader may be the reason why you chose to work with that agent or team however you may only see the leader once. Then, you will likely be working with the team members that do not have the same level of expertise. Is it a “bait and switch?” I personally think it is, especially if it is not disclosed to the customer that someone else will be doing the work for them. It’s important then when hiring a team that you ask who you will be working with from start to finish.

The sales volume number they advertise may be misleading.

Our MLS system has limitations on reporting team sales so it will normally show all sales under the sole team leader’s name and the “co” listing/selling agent will be the actual agent that you’re working with. What that means then is that the team leader boasting an absolutely astonishing amount of real estate sold may not have sold anything! It’s the team members doing the work and producing those numbers. Want higher numbers? Just hire more and more agents!

The team leader may be the only person on the “team.”

You’ll be able to spot this unethical behavior by looking at printed material from the “team” and comparing it to what you hear when you speak to the “team leader.” They might:
* Say “we” on printed material or their website but “I” when you speak to him or her.
* They refer to themselves as a “team” with “associates” they are the only name on the website.
* They cannot name any agents that are on the “team.”

My personal opinion is that agents that mislead the public in this way should instantly lose their license. If they’re that deceitful, why would anybody want to work with them?

Other people in town are members of the “team”

This is one of my major pet-peeves. Many teams leaders want their team to appear bigger than it really is so they list every person they know that is remotely connected to real estate as their team members. They will list lenders they work with, inspectors, appraisers, and even the office receptionist as “team members” just to inflate the number.

4 Reasons NOT to Hire a REALTOR®

Do not hire an agent that will not let you out of the listing agreement should you not be satisfied.

The Naples Area Board of Realtors standard contract to list property contains a section that says that should you terminate the listing for any reason, you still owe the broker commission.

If the transaction is not closed because of the refusal, failure or inability of SELLER to perform, or if SELLER fails or refuses to enter into a contract with a ready, willing and able buyer of the Property, SELLER shall pay the Compensation to BROKER in full upon demand by BROKER. In such event, this Listing Contract shall not be terminated, but shall continue in full force and effect.

What? So it doesn’t matter if you’re unhappy with the services of your agent. You’re stuck and in it for the long-haul until your listing agreement terminates.

I tell my customers that they can fire me at any time. If I have a client that is truly unhappy with my services then I want to part ways. Although, in all of these years of listing properties, I have never been fired. You can be my first!

Do not hire an agent that does not pay for professional photography.

This is one of my pet-peeves in this industry. With nearly all buyers starting their search by looking at photos of properties online, why wouldn’t an agent hire a professional photographer to really catch the eye of buyers?

The answer: These agents are dirt cheap and do not deserve to have your listing.

It is the agent’s job to pay for marketing. When you hire your next listing agent, make them put in writing that they will hire a professional real estate photographer to capture the best pictures of your home.

Do not hire an agent that works for a brokerage with a high commission split.

When you hire a REALTOR® to list your property, you agree to pay a certain commission to the brokerage. The part you may not know is that all of that money doesn’t go to your REALTOR® in many cases. Many brokers take a piece of that commission (sometimes up to 50%!) and pay the remainder out to the agent.

To be clear, let’s say you list a $500,000 home and agree to pay 6% which comes to $30,000. Of that 6%, 3% will go to the listing side and 3% will go to the buyer’s side meaning each brokerage will get $15,000. Then, a broker may keep 50% of that $15,000 and pay out the remaining $7,500 to the listing agent that listed the home.

At my brokerage, I keep 100% of my commission—the entire $15,000. Compare that to the agent that only gets $7,500—who do you think will do more advertising? Me, of course! I have a much larger budget for advertising because I’m going to keep twice what the other guy would get!

In no way is it out of line to ask REALTORS® you interview to tell you what their split is at their brokerage. Please, do so and make an informed decision on who has the budget to truly serve you in your sale.

Do not hire an agent that rents.

I’ve always found this funny. There are a lot of agents that rent their homes yet turn around and tell you that you should buy. Does that seem right to you?

I was recently discussing this with another agent and she said, “Well, maybe the REALTOR® is new to the area so they want to figure out where they’d like to buy during their lease.” Really? Now you really don’t want to hire them. They are just learning the area and completely lack expertise on the subject.

I’ve yet to come up with a reason why a REALTOR® would rent yet encourage others to buy. Maybe you can come up with one and enlighten me!

A gorgeous, secluded and remodeled pool home just minutes to Collier Blvd.

I originally sold this home (see the MLS listing here) to some great clients and they had quite a vision for what they would do to it. The home was in amazing shape but was simply dated. These buyers have transformed this home into a work of art and I’m proud to have it back on the market for sale as my customers move on to the next chapter in their lives.

Quick Features of 90 31st Street NW in Naples, Florida

  • Roof replaced in 2017
  • Huge swimming pool and spa
  • Fully remodeled from top to bottom
  • Paved driveway with paved turnaround
  • 1 Mile to Collier Blvd.
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • No HOA fees, no HOA rules and absolutely no leasing restrictions

When you turn on to 31st Street Northwest from Golden Gate Boulevard, it really hits you just how close-in this home is to Collier Boulevard/951–it is only one mile to get there! You can walk to Big Cypress Elementary in about 6 minutes. In fact, this home is so close-in that it is actually zoned for Gulf Coast High School and Oakridge Middle!

When you turn onto the paved driveway with a paved turnaround area, you go just a bit and suddenly you’re surrounded by trees. The privacy is really amazing. One of my pet-peeves is when lots are fully cleared in the Estates and the neighbors are adjacent. You don’t want people staring in your windows or you to have to stare into theirs. People move to the Estates for privacy and this home has it! It’s really great having that much privacy when you’re in this home’s swimming pool and spa.

Golden Gate Estates Real Estate

When you open the front door, you’ll instantly notice the luxury vinyl plank flooring and working fireplace. It’s so rare to see a fireplace that works here in Naples but this one sure does. You’ll see the seating and dining areas and a view out of the back slider into the pool area and large back yard. There are two guest bedrooms to the right and a master bedroom split to the left, just past the family room.

Golden Gate Estates luxury vinyl plank flooring

The kitchen is a masterpiece. There is built-in shelving for spices and cookbooks, newer stainless steel appliances, a huge farmhouse sink with pendant lighting above and my absolute favorite feature–the backsplash. The subway tile backsplash is oversized and looks absolutely amazing against the butcher block counters. Even though there is a lot of cabinetry for storage, there are additional shelving units that look so beautiful against the backsplash. Just imagine cooking in this kitchen and being able to see what is going on in the back yard or pool.

Right at the front of the home is the family room with some really nice features. First, it can be completely closed off from the rest of the house by shutting the french doors. See the barn doors in the picture below? They’re awesome! The one on the right gives access to a huge walk-in closet. It’s perfect for storing board or video games, blankets, or anything you might want access to in your media room. The barn door on the left provides access to a beautiful, fully-remodeled bathroom with a gorgeous vanity and tiled shower. It’s one of my favorite rooms in the house. I really like the vaulted ceilings there as they make the room feel bigger than it already is!

The last room I’d like to point out is the master bedroom of course. The sellers have a king-sized bed and still have so much space surrounding it. It has lots of natural light and one of the best walk-in closets I’ve seen in ages. Really, this isn’t a walk-in closet… it’s its own room. There are great built-ins for organization, a window for more natural light, and plenty of room for your dresser, clothes, shoes and more.

Let’s go outside. There is a pool that is quite a bit bigger than what you’re used to seeing in Naples and it also features a spa as well. What’s really nice is that there is this large pool deck plus a huge screened-in lanai. What’s better than that? It really makes evening entertaining nice since you can swim (without an HOA telling you that you can’t) and have some dinner outside without worrying about any bugs.

Further back on the property is a shed, a fire pit and the sellers even constructed a movie screen when COVID hit so they could enjoy staying at home even more. The area is fenced and ready for new owners with dogs.

I absolutely love this house and all of the features the sellers have added to it. I really can’t believe how secluded and private the lot is and how large the swimming pool is. It’s one of those homes that you need to tour. Even if you don’t buy it, you’ll see so many great upgrades that it will give you ideas for your own home.

If you’d like to see this home in person, please contact us for a private showing on your schedule.

➡  See the full MLS listing here.

9 Things That Scare Me as a REALTOR®

Buying a car/furniture while under contract and before closing

Few things are scarier in real estate than a buyer that drives up in a new car after going under contract on a house. The problem is that lenders approve buyers for homes based on a number of factors with one being the debt-to-income ratio. Simply put, if you take on more debt, you’re now a riskier buyer for that lender. I know it’s really temping to hit the 0% financing offers on new furniture for your new home but don’t do it! You’ll scare me to death!

Other agents that have no idea what they’re doing

As with every profession, some people are simply better at it than others. Real estate is no different in that regard. We have come across agents where it’s clear that they have never even read the standard contracts! We have just recently seen:

  • An agent that didn’t know how to open a lock box to get a key out
  • An agent complain about the condition of a home at the walkthrough when the contract was “as is.”
  • An agent that did not know that garage refrigerators convey with the sale on a given contract
  • An agent that did not understand the timing of earnest money deposits
  • An agent that did not know to have their buyer apply to the homeowner’s association
  • An agent that did not understand which items are considered defective vs. cosmetic
  • An agent that forgot to write in the washer and dryer on a particular contract that does not include them
  • An agent that did not understand the financing contingency (very scary!)

This is why people need to thoroughly interview the agents they are hiring. Do not use an agent just because she’s your aunt or friend. This is too serious of a transaction to not use experts.

Part-time agents

I don’t think anything scares or bothers me more than part-time REALTORS®. Real estate transactions are very serious business and have very serious timelines. Do you really want someone that dabbles in real estate?

I once had a transaction where I was representing the seller. We were under contract and that contract has very specific dates and times for different things to be done. Well, the other agent’s buyer hadn’t made their second earnest money deposit and it was getting late in the day. I called the buyer’s agent but no answer. I texted. No response. Called again. This went on for quite some time until finally my phone rang. The other agent says, “What do you want? I saw you kept calling but I can’t simply leave my job at Hallmark because you need something.” I couldn’t believe it! The fact was, if her buyer failed to make the deposit that day, my seller could have gone after the first deposit and likely kept her buyer’s $25,000. Can you imagine losing $25,000 and the house you want because your agent is working a part-time job elsewhere? Scary!

Not having enough money for closing costs

Buyers must show so many financial documents to lenders in order to prove that they can purchase a home. However, many of these buyers do not think about the money they’ll need for closing costs. It’s really simple—you can get a closing cost estimate from your attorney or title company within minutes. It’s worth it to ask for one so you don’t wind up in a mess!

Sellers trying to take fixtures

This comes up often and I see it even after explaining what items must stay to my sellers. That makes me a bit scared when I’m driving to final walkthroughs. Will everything be there?

Typically, if an item is “screwed or glued” it is a fixture. Lighting, TV mounts (not the TV itself though), home automation, etc. would be fixtures. I’ve also had sellers try to take down fixtures and replace them with other ones. This is not permitted in the contract and also pretty unethical.

If a fixture is important to you, make sure it is an exclusion in your contract.

Sellers not leaving the house in the condition it was in when the buyers entered a contract

Sellers have a duty to maintain the condition of the home from the time the contract is executed to the time the deal is closed. However, life happens and damage can be done to a home during that time. I once had a deal where a leak occurred during this period and did damage to the ceiling. Although it didn’t leave much of a mess, the moisture meter still showed that there was water there. The seller wasn’t happy that he had to fix it and I was surprised at his reaction. Since appliances (think A/C’s!) can and will break at some point, I just always hope it isn’t in that short window of time.

Buyers not getting a full inspection when there are signs that mold may be present

Mold is scary. Plus, it doesn’t just show up in older condos. It can show up in brand new construction too. If there’s water damage, there’s usually a possibility of mold.

What scares me about mold is that sometimes we can see that there was water damage in a given area of the home so a mold test is a must in my eyes. I just had lunch with another agent that’s a good friend as well. He was telling me how the ceilings were very water stained and a moisture meter showed they were wet! That means there’s a current leak somewhere yet his buyers simply wanted the sellers to fix the leak and they would paint over the stains. No, no, no! This is the worst part—they did not have a mold test done because it would be an extra $350. They’re buying a $450,000 house and skimping on the $350. That scares me as an agent.

Inspectors that don’t know what they’re talking about

There are good REALTORS® and bad REALTORS®. There are also good and bad inspectors and you really do not want the bad ones when you’re buying or selling a home. It’s scary just how bad some can be.

I sold a home in Golden Gate Estates once that was built like a northern cottage (complete with a front porch and a rocking chair). I loved the home. We were having beautiful weather the day I did the listing presentation so the owners had all of the windows open. Wouldn’t you know it—their buyer uses an awful inspector who writes that every window downstairs fails to open. She simply did not know how to open windows with the newer window locks. She also said that the gas stove didn’t work. The deal almost fell apart! Luckily, I was able to go to the home and take video of each of the items she said were defective and send them to the buyer’s agent. It held the deal together but this could have been a disaster.

So how do you get a good inspector? Ask your REALTOR®! I have a list of inspectors I think are great and would be happy to share that list with you.

Buyers choosing a home that I don’t think I could resell later

Maybe the scariest of all items on this list is when buyers fall in love and want to purchase a home that I do not think I could resell for them in the future. There are a lot of reasons why this may happen. Sometimes the house is just so overpriced that the buyers would never get their money back out of it. Other times, the home is just “unique” but not in a good way!

One thing I like to do with these types of purchases is look at the home’s history of when it was bought and sold in the past. It isn’t uncommon at all to see a home that sat on the market for 6 months and didn’t sell, 6 more months without a sale, and then on the 3rd or 4th time around they find a buyer at a discounted price.

Please don’t do this to yourself. I will absolutely tell you my thoughts on reselling a house you’re looking to purchase.

Pet friendly neighborhoods that allow large dogs in Naples

Have a large pet?

This list has been generated using MLS data. I can tell you that the pet data in the MLS can be wrong sometimes so please check with me before visiting these properties so I can confirm the accuracy. You can contact me here to verify this data.

Have I missed one? Please let me know!

No Approval Needed

Neighborhoods That Allow Large Dogs

An upgraded home in North Naples’ premiere neighborhood of StoneCreek

This home located at 4119 Zelkova Court was built by GL Homes in 2017. It is the very popular “Newcastle” floor plan that features 4 large bedrooms (downstairs master bedroom and 3 guest bedrooms upstairs), a really useful upstairs loft and four full bathrooms. In my opinion, GL Homes is one of the best builders we see here in Southwest Florida. They’ve also built some of the other sought-after neighborhoods such as Riverstone, Saturnia Lakes and Marbella Isles. Their quality is excellent and the homes are solid.

You can see the full listing for this home here. Please contact us for a private showing.

I don’t know how often buyers think about the location of a home within a neighborhood but I think it’s really something to keep in mind. In big neighborhoods, it can be a hassle to live in the back, driving a while just to get out of the neighborhood, but this home is on 4119 Zelkova Court, very close to the gated entrance on Logan Boulevard. Plus, it’s a quiet cul-de-sac with only 10 homes. I was just there yesterday and neighbors were out talking to one-another while children played outside.

Need a place to park?


One of my favorite upgrades that the owners had done was widening their driveway from 2-car to 3-car. Naples typically has driveways just big enough for 2 cars so you step out into your lawn. This is widened and long enough to really be able to spread out.

We’re cooking with gas!


Naples is not known for having natural gas and buyers are often disappointed to have all electric appliances. StoneCreek is a neighborhood with natural gas! That means your range, oven, water heater and dryer don’t cost as much as they would if they were electric. Plus, cooking on gas is so much better than electric. There are no tanks to fill or worry about. The natural gas is just piped into the home.

Speaking of cooking…


I’d love for you to see the kitchen in person because it is stunning. The white wooden cabinetry is gorgeous and features soft-close hardware. Give the drawers a shove and they slowly close on their own. There’s a large pantry with shelves that pull-out. The subway tile backsplash is beautiful against the white quartz counters. There’s even LED lighting both above and below the cabinetry.

Plus, have a look toward the back of the kitchen–there is a breakfast nook with bay windows for every day dining.

It’s time to relax

The lanai outside is huge and the decking is made of shell-stone. Hot sun won’t heat them up and your bare feet will be just fine! There’s a plunge pool outside that you will use so much more frequently than a traditional pool. Why? It’s a hot tub as well! The entire pool system is controlled through your phone. You can heat the water in just an hour because of an oversized pool heater. Then, have a seat against one of the jets, relax, and listen to the waterfall. You can even take in a movie or sporting event on the lanai’s wall-mounted television while you sit in the plunge pool. Also, the pool has a sun shelf so you can certainly lay out in the Florida sun and tan! We could truly write an entire blog post just about the custom-built plunge pool!

The remainder of the back yard is fenced and there’s mesh to keep smaller pets from escaping. The deck isn’t just around the plunge pool. Instead, it is nearly the width of the home so you have plenty of places to put a fire pit or deck chairs while still having a grassy area in the back.

Finally, you’ll just love the covered portion of the lanai. There is an electric sun shade that you can lower to block the sun if need be. There’s a lot of possibilities for ways to use this space. The current owners have a TV mounted there with some great outdoor furniture and they watch movies outside while enjoying the cool evenings. They added a sauna (not included in the sale!) as there’s plenty of room. Just imagine what you could do with this!

Let’s come back inside

The entire living area downstairs has been upgraded with luxury vinyl plank tiles and they’re beautiful. The owners really picked a great color. It’s important to note though that the tile flooring that came with the home is still underneath. If you’d prefer tile, great! Just pull up the planks and you’re back to the tile flooring.

One of the characteristics of this home that I love so much is how the upgrades are so subtle yet make such a huge difference when you compare them to the basic homes for sale in the neighborhood. If you look at the left wall on the above picture, you’ll see it has this light grey wallpaper that looks so great against the flooring and kitchen counters. Also, the owners upgraded the lighting. Now, you have multiple cans of LED lighting that can change colors! They’re really great, eat up almost no electricity, and can be dimmed for entertaining.

Take one look at this dining room and you will see what I mean with the upgrades. The owner installed the coffered ceilings and they look beautiful in person. Plus, have a look at the wall on the left and it’s gorgeous tiled treatments. It’s these upgrades that really wowed me when I walked in and I’m sure would do the same for you.

A master bathroom to love!

The master bathroom is so big that half of it isn’t even pictured! It’s important to note that this bathroom features a huge soaking tub with a separate glass-enclosed shower, dual vanities, and a separate room for the commode. Just outside of the master bath are his and her walk-in closets with custom closet systems for storage.

So many ways to use the upstairs loft

At the top of the stairs and to your right is an open and spacious loft. The current owners are using it as a second family room so the adults can watch TV downstairs or on the lanai while the children can watch their shows upstairs. I’ve seen other Newcastle model homes where this loft is used as a child’s playroom, an exercise room, and an office.

Just off of the loft are the three guest bedrooms as well as a full bathroom. One of the guest bedrooms has an en-suite bathroom which is really great for guests that will certainly visit you in Florida!

The full list of features and benefits

This home at 4119 Zelkova Court in Naples simply has so many features, benefits and upgrades that we had to make a list. Here are the highlights:

Inside the home

  • Natural gas appliances including range, dryer, hot water heater, and pool heater
  • Luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout the living areas for easy maintenance
  • CAT-6 network wiring throughout the home
  • Pull-out shelving in the pantry and soft-close hinges throughout the kitchen
  • Custom storage room under the stairs with lighting and barn door
  • Reverse osmosis under the kitchen sink
  • Double oven range
  • Closet systems to maximize space and keep items organized
  • Smart home features such as NEST thermostats
  • Philips Color Hue lighting in living room and kitchen
  • LED lighting both above and below the kitchen cabinets
  • Oversized soaking tub in master bathroom
  • Cabinetry and sink in the laundry room
  • Numerous storage and shelving units in the garage
  • 10 foot high garage ceiling
  • Many TV mounts
  • USB wall outlets for easy charging of devices
  • New high-end washer and dryer
  • Ceiling fans in every room (except upstairs office)
  • Custom coffered ceilings in the dining room and beautiful accent wall

Outside of the home

  • Shell stone decking around pool
  • Plunge pool with sun shelf, jets, natural gas pool heater
  • Plunge-pool can be converted to a hot tub in an hour
  • Pentair automated pool system to operate pool functions via your phone
  • Extended pavers in the driveway to make room for 3 vehicles
  • Fenced back yard with mesh to prevent pets from escaping
  • Electric sun shade on lanai
  • Quiet cul-de-sac street with no through traffic
  • Backyard oasis with beautiful landscaping

Why is StoneCreek so popular in North Naples?

There are so many reasons why I hear customers want to be in StoneCreek. As mentioned before, it was built by GL Homes so we know the homes are really well-built and with great floor plans. It’s in a fantastic location in North Naples, just off of Logan Blvd.. That means you can quickly get to I-75 via Immokalee Road or head north on the newly lengthened Logan Blvd. to reach Bonita Beach Road.

Inside the Clubhouse

In my opinion and through my experiences showing buyers this neighborhood, it’s mostly because of the amenities. What we’re starting to see in our real estate market is that builders are competing for buyers by building out over-the-top amenities for residents to enjoy. StoneCreek certainly is this way.

The clubhouse is so close to this home that you won’t even want to take your car. Just head west and you’re there! This state-of-the-art clubhouse is the entertainment center of the neighborhood. There’s a full-size indoor basketball court, billiards room, social room and a massive fitness center all inside in the air conditioning.


Outside of the Clubhouse

This picture gives you a really great overview of what StoneCreek has to offer residents.

If you’re a swimmer, you have a huge resort pool, a separate lap pool and a large hot tub. There’s even a kiddie area (bottom-right) with a bucket that spills water onto the children and a little slide for them to enjoy.

Tennis players love StoneCreek and for good reason. There are lighted tennis courts and two pickleball courts.

Other StoneCreek amenities include outdoor basketball (I’d rather play inside in the air conditioning!), beach volleyball and playground.



Are you ready to see 4119 Zelkova?

We don’t foresee this property staying on the market very long. The price is extremely competitive and buyers in this area are flocking to StoneCreek. We’d love to show it to you though!

If you would like to see this home, please contact us. You can give us a call at (239) 248-8171 and we can set up a time to have a private tour of this awesome home.

7 Ways To Tell You Have a Bad REALTOR®

They rely on the MLS to sell your home and nothing else

Is your agent simply putting your home on the MLS and waiting for someone to hopefully come along and buy it? That’s what I see happen more often than not.

Being a REALTOR® involves selling. We’re salespeople. It is my job to either sell your home to an end-user or to other REALTORS® by making them see the features and benefits of your home and the value.

If your agent is simply waiting for your home to sell, give their broker a call and tell her you want out of your listing agreement. You’re making a major financial transaction and deserve better.

They are only part-time and have another job

You would be shocked to find out how many agents are working for you only part-time and some even work a full-time job elsewhere. I had a deal not too long ago where I was representing the seller and had listed her home. The buyer’s agent was unreachable during the day and her customer was about to miss a deadline that would put them in breach of contract, putting their earnest money deposits in risk. I called, texted and emailed to no avail. Finally, she answered the phone and screamed at me, “I cannot just walk away from my job at Hallmark because you need something.”

I absolutely hate that some agents work part-time. If your agent cannot achieve at a level that would make him or her a full-time agent, you deserve better.

They pressure you to sign buyer-broker agreements

A buyer-broker agreement is a contract that many agents ask you to sign before the agent will show you property. The contract states that you will be 100% loyal to that agent for a specified length of time. In other words, you’re stuck.

Imagine sitting down in your new dentist’s chair and he hands you a piece of paper and says, “Before I patch this tooth up, you need to promise me in writing that you’ll be my customer for the next 6 months, no matter how badly I may perform.” Would you sign it?

My belief is that if I’m not doing a good enough job for a client, the client should be free to walk away from me and use someone else. Working without a buyer-broker agreement isn’t risky at all if the service is great—nobody is going to leave.

There is a lack of communication

Do you email, call or text your agent and you don’t hear back for hours or sometimes not at all? Do you make offers on property and not get feedback promptly? Do you sometimes feel like your agent has more important things to do than to answer you?

Communication is key. I do my best to get back to my customers within an hour or two at all times. Sometimes, I’m only able to write that I will reach out later yet I will always respond. If you are my client, I will not leave you in suspense.

They do not follow up on their commitments

I hear customers complain that their agent made big promises but failed to keep his or her word. If you are asking your agent to do something for you and your agent doesn’t come through, you have to start wondering if they’re truly working for you.

Where this is often seen is in listing presentations. An agent shows up with pretty marketing materials and a list of things they will do to sell your home. Yet, you sign the listing agreement and then do not see those things on his to-do list get done. It’s dishonest and a slap in the face to the client.

They promised a high price for your home but are failing to sell it

Often called “buying the listing,” agents will sometimes tell a potential seller that they can get a number far higher than what the home is truly worth. Of course, other agents that they’ve interviewed gave them lower numbers so who are they going to pick? Yep, they’ll pick the agent that gave them a high number just so he or she would be chosen.

Once under contract, the home doesn’t sell and the dishonest listing agent starts asking for price decreases. The worst part is, you’re likely stuck with that agent for 6 months under the listing agreement.

Call the agent’s broker if you get yourself into this position as a seller. All you can do is ask to be let out of the listing agreement. Chances are though, you’re stuck with this unethical agent while the great ones are out selling everyone else’s homes!

They serve a huge geographical area

Ever hear an agent say something crazy like, “I service Sarasota to Marco Island.” How do they do that? How can they possibly be an expert in all of those markets in their giant geographical area. What I hear when I come across this is an agent that spreads herself thin to hopefully get more business.

Personally, I focus on Marco Island to Estero. I’ll service Fort Myers if it is an area I happen to be familiar with but typically I give those leads to someone more capable and knowledgable.

When you come across an agent claiming to service all of those areas, ask to see their last 50 sales. Look at where those homes were sold and you’ll see where the agent truly serves. Maybe it is in your neck of the woods but watch out if it isn’t. You need a market expert, not a jack of all trades and master of none.

How to Get Cigarette Smoke Smell Out of Your House

There are some supplies you’ll want to purchase to prepare for the cleaning that is about to happen:

  • Rags (lots and lots of rags)
  • White Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle
  • Baking Soda
  • Ammonia
  • HEPA A/C filter
  • Steam Cleaner

Get the air circulating with open windows and fans

The first step is an obvious one. We need to open every window in the home and turn every single fan on. Replacing the indoor air with some fresh air from outside will get you well on your way.

Wash or throw away any fabrics in the home

Ever go to a very smoky bar and even after you’ve left you can still smell the cigarette smoke on your clothes? The same applies in your home. Things like curtains, carpets or any upholstery that is staying in the home will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Things like fabric window coverings should be able to be washed in the washing machine. Here’s a trick—instead of laundry detergent, use a cup o white vinegar. Then, wash again using detergent. Allow them to air dry. Ideally, you can throw these items away and replace with your own new ones. If this is your choice, do not bring the new items into the home until the smell is completely gone or you’ll just get the new ones smelling bad too.

If replacing the carpet isn’t an option, the carpets will need to be steam cleaned. First though, sprinkle baking soda all over the carpets liberally. Let it sit for a few days. Then, you can rent a steamer at many grocery or hardware stores here in Naples. Make sure you get one with an upholstery attachment because you will use that on any furniture that is remaining. Repeat the process as necessary.

Clean up the HVAC system

Your air conditioner’s handler is your next stop. I would encourage having it professionally cleaned by a local company such as Conditioned Air. The air handler is taking air in around the clock so it only makes sense to have it professionally cleaned. Then, replace the A/C filter and go with the absolute best HEPA filter.

I know it’s a big step but having the air ducts professionally cleaned is another great thing to do to eliminate cigarette smoke smell in the home. There are a number of air duct cleaning companies in Naples so ask for recommendations in the Facebook Naples, FL group.

Wash the hard surfaces in your home

Grab your spray bottle and some rags and mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and hot water. You need to wipe down every square inch of hard surfaces—light fixtures, door knobs, ceiling fan blades or anything else that came into contact with cigarette smoke needs to be wiped down.

Scrub the walls too

I know, this is hard. If you want the smoke smell out of your home, you’re going to need to scrub the walls. Use a mixture of 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/4 cub vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda per gallon of hot water. Spray, wipe. Stay, wipe. Repeat.

Use ventilators to push air out of the home

Renting two ventilators (or more if you can afford to do so) is a great option. Placing one ventilator in the room to push air toward a window while another ventilator is at the window pushing the air out is a great technique. You can move your two ventilators around the home or use more as budget allows.

Paint the walls (and ceiling)

Drastic? Yep, but it really helps a lot. The walls of your home can harbor that nasty smoke smell so painting them after they’ve been cleaned is a great way to eliminate cigarette smoke smell from your home.

Look at it on the bright side—you wanted a fresh coat of interior paint in your brand new home anyway. This is just a good motivator to do so.

That’s a wrap! Have a better method of getting cigarette smoke odor out of a house?

If you have a method that works for you, please share it in the comments!

Why Do I Love This StoneCreek Listing So Much?

My wife, Laney and I, listed this home in StoneCreek (you can see it here) and we both absolutely love it. There isn’t one particular reason we like it but rather a collection of great features and benefits that make it the total package. Contact us and see it in person but first, let’s have a look at some of those characteristics that make it so special.

The layout and flow of the home

This StoneCreek home was built in 2017 and is the “Merlot” floor plan (floor plan) and features 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths and a huge loft upstairs for a total of 3,215 square feet. There’s a 3 car garage as well. What’s great is that the master bedroom and one of the guest bedrooms are downstairs so the layout works for everyone. Downstairs also has a living area, dining room, family room and kitchen.

The pool and the view

The owners had this pool custom built just last year and they made incredibly great choices. First of all, the pool has the two water features and the sun shelf (seen in the bottom right of the picture). It’s such a great pool to relax in, especially with the lanai TV where you can watch the game and relax in the pool at the same time! The travertine decking is a big step up from brick and stays cool in the sun. Plus, did you notice how the lanai has the photo frame screen? There aren’t any support bars for the entire back section of screen so the lake view is completely unobstructed.

I love the lake view on this particular home because it looks lengthwise down the lake. A big lot premium was paid to have the privilege of having this view!

The custom millwork and shiplap walls

I’m not sure who the carpenter was that did this work but I’d like to shake his or her hand. It is so well done and really makes the rooms stand out. With such tall ceilings, plain walls like the builder supplies can often look bland. I really like how the wood is angled to align with the staircase so perfectly.

The custom woodwork is featured throughout the house but I wanted you to see the master bedroom. It’s such a subtle touch but doesn’t the wall look so much better with this?

A gas powered home with an awesome kitchen to cook in

Very few neighborhoods in Naples have gas for appliances and I hear complaints from my “up north” buyers all the time because they don’t want an electric stove. I completely understand – cooking on gas is just better. Well, you’ll find that here in StoneCreek!

There’s a huge island in the middle of the kitchen with 4 stools and can be used as a great place to sit and eat.

You’ll also find the breakfast area that’s spacious and has lake and pool views through the beautiful bay windows. I could picture myself with the family sitting there for a meal. It’s just a really cool space.

Resort amenities that rival any vacation spot

Finally, the amenities. GL Homes built StoneCreek to be a community centered around unheard of amenities. There is an indoor basketball court! How many other communities can say they have that? There’s a massive pool with a lap pool and spa attached. How about a kid’s pool area with waterslides? Check! There’s a fitness center that will take the place of the gym you’re paying for. There’s billiards, a card room, social room, yoga/dance studio and a playground for the kids.

Are you ready to take a private tour of this home?

If you’re looking for a beautiful and spacious home in North Naples, you really should have a look at 4123 Aspen Chase Drive. This is one of those houses that we just don’t see hitting the market every day. It’s one of the most sought-after floor plans in StoneCreek and for good reason. There’s a flow to the home. The rooms are exactly where you’d want them to be with 2 downstairs and 3 upstairs. There are cozy nooks where you can curl up with a book or take a quick nap. There’s a 3 car garage which we don’t see as much as I’d like to. It’s just 4 years old but feels like it was finished yesterday. It has a custom pool and not just one of the few cookie-cutter pools that the builder had as options. It truly is one of my favorite properties that I have ever listed.

Contact me and take a no-obligation tour.