Info: Free admission to the Naples Zoo!

The official name is Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. It’s one of the best small zoos anywhere — and Collier County residents get free admission on the first Saturday of every month. The full story on how that happened is here.

All you need is a photo ID that shows a Collier County (or Naples City) address. But one need not be a full-time resident to qualify: if you actually live in Michigan but own property here, you are good to go. Just bring your photo ID and a utility or cable bill that shows a local address! Continue reading Info: Free admission to the Naples Zoo!

Info: Population trends

What do Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming,  Alabama, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Virginia have in common? The first seven, listed alphabetically, lost population. The remaining eleven showed anemic growth that was below the national average of seven-tenths of one percent annually.

Florida, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington state are the fastest growing, all at rates over double that national average.

Source: © Copyright 2017 The Herald-Dispatch, Tim Henderson. All rights reserved.

 

Living: at the junction of luxury and privacy

Naples abounds in luxurious living potential: from Gulfside mansions in Port Royal and Aqualane Shores to high-rise condos with spectacular views, the choices are vast.

Search the MLS and you’ll find over 150 active listings with prices north of $5M — with 4 over $40M! And that doesn’t count the so-called ‘pocket listings’ that many firms keep out of the online sites. Continue reading Living: at the junction of luxury and privacy

Weather: lowest high temperature.

It’s a rare day in Naples during which the temperature fails to reach 70º.

However, it will struggle to top 60º today and Friday! Inland, overnight lows will dip down to near freezing. And there’s snow in the upper reaches of the state!

One has to go back to 2015 to find temperatures in the 30’s here in SWFL.

However, by the weekend, things will be back to normal — daytime highs will reach the mid-60s on Saturday, 75 or so on Sunday afternoon, and we’ll probably cross the magic 80º mark on Monday.

That might shed some light on why we don’t have LL Bean stores in Florida.

Wishing all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2018!

This blog is dedicated to providing a unique view — primarily in pictures — of a place everybody loves: Naples, Florida. Actually, it’s about all of Southwest Florida — close to a million people spread over three counties: Collier, Lee, and Charlotte.

Some of us are lucky enough to be year-round residents. Many have plans to move to the Naples area upon retirement; others are here regularly for “season” or visit as often as possible. My original blog offerings are for all of you.

I am a full-time commercial photographer and licensed real estate agent (MVP Realty Associates) with almost a quarter century of “insider” experience in the area. I’m here to provide information — so feel free to contact me with your questions, requests, or comments.

Great news for buyers as we usher in 2018. It’s the most favorable buyer’s market in recent memory. There is huge a huge inventory of both new construction and aggressively-priced resales in every segment of the market — and especially so in the luxury classes. So go ahead and do your preliminary shopping online.

Then contact me with questions that cannot be addressed in the listings. Insider stuff. Contacts. Connections. It’s what I do. And it will never cost you a penny.

RL Caron

To initiate contact, type my name (without the space) and add @gmail.com or send me a text via two-three-nine-eight-two-five-five-six-three-five

More unique photos of Naples at my website:

http://rlcaron.com

Info: Downtown Art Show January 6 & 7.

It’s a national and even an international event! This year’s New Year’s Art Show has drawn artists from 30 states and 4 countries. It’s the 22nd annual event.

The free admission show runs from 10am to 5pm on both Saturday, January 6th and Sunday, January 7th in one of the nation’s primo downtowns, Fifth Avenue South. The event is hosted, as always, by the Naples Art Association.

I know that’s over a week away — but you really don’t want to schedule anything that would prevent you from attending!

Weather: Chilly!

Well, that’s a relative thing. Temperatures dipped to 46º overnight — probably the coolest we’ve experienced since the first of the year. We ran the heat for a couple of hours this morning to bring the house back into the low 70s.

A young lady who cuts my hair — a Florida native — told me last week of a new word learned while visiting relatives in Pennsylvania.

“Furnace.”

Veteran’s Day, 2017

Please remember the real purpose of this holiday: to honor the many thousands who gave, ultimately, a life. Or one more limbs, or made other profound sacrifices so we could live in the most prosperous, free, and inclusive country in the history of the world. The United States of America.

Veteran’s Day 2017

Social: The Naples Digital Photography Club

Today (November 9th) is the second Thursday of the month — and for some 300+ photography fans that means reserving the evening for the monthly meeting of DPI-SIG, the Digital Photography and Imaging Special Interest Group of the Naples Free Net. Now you know way it has an a/k/a of The Naples Digital Photography Club. Many old-timers (the club was formed a decade ago) continue to refer to it, affectionately, as “Dippy Sig.”

To say that this is one of the best managed and successful clubs in the state would be an understatement. The monthly general membership meeting is only one of many regular get-togethers sponsored by the club. There are photo outings, special groups for Photoshop, Lightroom, Women (and guys too,) Lighting, and a Round Table gathering. All events are well attended — and many members enjoy the social aspects as much as the artistic, instructional, technical, and artistic events offered year-round.

Meetings are held on the campus of Florida Southwestern State College off Lely Parkway. Full information on the meetings and all the rest are here: http://dpi-sig.org.

Info: changes in credit score math

When people talk about their credit score in the context of a home loan, they generally are referring to the number provided by the Fair Isaac Corporation — known as FICO. That index isn’t changing.

However, three other credit tracking entities, Equifax, Experian, and Trans-Union, together operate VantageScore — and that is the one that is being tweaked in at least two important areas. One relates to closing inactive accounts — which had been at least informally known to affect credit scores negatively because one’s rating was based on current debt as a ratio of the total credit available. In the future, closing unused credit lines may affect credit scores positively or not at all.

In a more important way, the new formulas will assess ‘trending’ on the total debt — meaning one will be rated at least partially on whether the amounts owed are collectively going up or down. Those who are paying debt down will likely be looked upon as less risky than people who are still piling it on.

Read more here or here.

 

Fact: Is Naples huge or small?

The term “Naples” applies to two vastly different areas. Legally, Naples is a small incorporated city in the very south-western part of Collier County. Its population was estimated last year to be 20,600. It’s what we locally call “downtown” and includes some very luxurious waterfront communities such as Port Royal, Aqualane Shores, Park Shore, and The Moorings. Naples is but 14.4 of the 2025.5 square miles of Collier County — about 7 tenths of one percent!  Continue reading Fact: Is Naples huge or small?

Trending: larger garages.

I’ve heard estimates of up to one hundred as the number of new communities, assisted care facilities, and rentals coming out of the ground here in Naples. Driving by and through those that feature new home construction, one trend is apparent: more three-car garages than ever before. About one in four new houses offer more than two spaces.

Is that because families own more cars today than in the past? Statistics seem to refute that: fewer than one in five homes have to deal with three or more cars, only a small increase over 25 years ago.

One in three buyers now shop for listings with three-car garages, while half prefer two spaces. The one car garage is the choice of only one in 10 buyers.

Reasons are many, but one factor locally is the increasing number of multi-generational homes with either a young person returning home after college or children taking care of aging parents.

Source: “America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments,” Bloomberg (Oct. 26, 2016) and “Garages in New Homes: 2015 Data,” National Association of Home Builders (Oct. 21, 2016)

Camera Club: all welcome to free admission meeting.

Here’s a timely tip to anyone on the lookout for interesting and productive things to do in SW Florida.

April 13th marks the second Thursday of this month — and for over 300 photography fans that means reserving the evening for the monthly meeting of DPI-SIG, the Digital Photography and Imaging Special Interest Group of the Naples Free Net. Now you know why it has an a/k/a of’ The Naples Digital Photography Club,’ although old-timers (the club was formed a decade ago) continue to refer to it, affectionately, as “Dippy Sig.” Thursday will mark the 152nd consecutive meeting of this primo example of a well managed and successful social group.

The monthly general membership meeting (free and open to the public) is only one of the regular get-togethers sponsored by the club. There are photo outings, special groups for Photoshop, Lightroom, Women (and guys too,) Lighting, and a Round Table gathering. All events are well attended — and many members enjoy the social aspects as much as the artistic, instructional, technical, and artistic happenings offered year-round.

Meetings are held on the campus of Florida Southwestern State College off Lely Parkway and start at 7pm. Full information on the meetings and all the rest is available here: http://dpi-sig.org.

 

New Construction: Marbella Isles and Riverstone

I have spent a fair amount of time recently in two GL Homes communities literally ‘coming out of the ground’ here in the Naples area: Riverstone and Marbella Isles. It’s an astounding sight at both locations! Finished homes are issued CO’s as concrete blocks and roof tiles are being delivered next door! We see signs “Private Residence” on neatly mowed lawns next to places that are yet to acquire doors and windows. It this a ‘hot’ market or what? In both communities, one is likely to be driving on streets the GPS has yet to hear about. In some neighborhoods, the bulldozers and paving machines that carved the layout are still on the premises! Continue reading New Construction: Marbella Isles and Riverstone

Info: an early crystal ball into 2017.

Copyright 2017, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson:  (edited for length, but not for editorial slant or content:)

Job growth (In 2017) is likely to slow as the recovery approaches its eighth anniversary, according to a recent survey of economists.

The economy is projected to grow at a 2.3 percent annual rate in 2017, up from an estimated 1.6 percent this year. That’s modestly above the tepid 2.1 percent average that has prevailed since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.

The big wild card: The Trump effect. Quick congressional passage and implementation of his plan to sharply increase infrastructure and defense spending and slash taxes could mean faster growth. But Trump’s threats to slap big tariffs on China and Mexico risk trade wars that could roil the economy.

Consumers, meanwhile, are poised to underpin economic growth again as a result of those fatter paychecks, steady job gains, record housing and stock prices, reduced debt and still-cheap gasoline. The economists surveyed by Blue Chip expect consumption to increase a solid 2.5 percent, in line with gains in 2016.

Oil prices have doubled since bottoming out early 2016, coaxing producers to revive shuttered wells and order steel pipes and other materials from U.S. factories.

Copyright 2017, USATODAY.com, Paul Davidson