Welcome to Rotonda Turtles! An unusual name, but perhaps a perfect name. A turtle can travel the oceans, visit new lands, but always carries it’s treasured home wherever it goes. You are not able to carry your home with you, but if you wish to settle for a while, we will help you to create your perfect home here! We work in the area immediately around Rotonda which is about halfway between Tampa and Naples on the Gulf or west coast of Florida.
Having re-opened for business, we are working with a builder with whom we have worked before. It’s good to work with a builder that we know and trust and who knows how we work with our clients. He has been in the building industry for 35 years and has been building in this area for 20 years. That’s a great recommendation when you are looking for a builder with a track record. Poor builders don’t last! In our opinion, he builds some of the most elegant properties here and they are built very well indeed. It isn’t just the quality of the construction, but the numerous finishing touches which for us, puts his homes in the top league. All of these homes will fit on a single lot, but some buyers will want to consider a double lot to give them more privacy on each side of the house. If you are buying to enjoy your home and rent it out, remember that larger land areas will be more costly to maintain and won’t necessarily bring in a higher rental. Rentals here are usually based on the house and number of bedrooms, rather than the land it sits on!
a little Florida history
Florida, known as the ‘Sunshine State’ and in 1845, became the 27th State of the United States of America. It had been the home to native Indians, notably the Calusa Indians that roamed the Charlotte Harbor area and archaeologists believe they have done so since 3,500 B.C. In 2013, despite an active weather season, Florida was visited by 94.7 million tourists surpassing the 2012 figures and registered an all-time high. This included an estimated 11.5 million overseas visitors, 3.7 million Canadians.
Each year, Florida continues to set new records in tourism as the world’s premier travel destination which is good news for homeowners because tourism is Florida’s top economic sector and its positive impacts are far-reaching.
Florida comprises 58,677 square miles of which 4,424 square miles are water. It boasts a dazzling 1,800 miles of coastline with over 1,200 miles of beaches, over 5,000 islands and over 8,000 lakes including Lake Okeechobee which is the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the United States. It has over 1,250 golf courses, over 20 major airports, 12 of which are international airports. This is a land where water is never far away. Apart from the coast which is always within reach, it also has around 7,700 lakes, each over 10 acres. The State stretches 361 miles from east to west and 447 miles from north to south. The capital, Tallahassee is situated in the north west of the State.
Florida is divided into 67 Counties which range from the smallest County, ‘Union’ which is just 245 square miles to the largest County ‘Palm Beach’, an impressive 2,578 square miles.
Charlotte County and its main town, Port Charlotte are nestled around the banks of serene Charlotte Harbor where the great Myakka and Peace Rivers meet before they hurtle out into the Gulf of Mexico through Boca Grande Pass. Charlotte County is a place where you will enjoy unhurried living, lack of congestion and a soul-quenching tranquillity.
Sunshine, clean air, 129 square miles of sparkling waters, superb fishing, masses of wildlife and relaxed and friendly residents draw those who seek the pleasures that nature can provide. An area of low crime and inexpensive living keeps visitors returning year after year to the beating heart of the southwest coast of Florida. No matter whether you are a sun-seeker, a boating enthusiast, a golfer, a fisherman or a shopper, Charlotte County has it all. Named the ‘Best Place in the South’ by Money magazine first in 1997, the County has received regular recognition from that or similar sources almost every year since. This is utopia offering sub-tropical living and vacationing at its finest.
Rotonda is a hidden gem on Florida’s Gulf Coast
The vision was utopian – Florida marshland transformed into a round golf and waterfront community. The concept was launched in September 1969 and so Rotonda was born. In October 1971, the first residents moved into their home. The centre of Rotonda West is known as the Rotonda Circle. It is a perfect circle, 8 segments, 7 of which come with a golf course and interlaced by inland waterways. The 8th sector, called St Andrews was originally planned to link Rotonda West to the Gulf, but that plan was abandoned and St Andrews is now a haven for wildlife. One of the beauties of this concept is that you are never too aware of how large it is. Within it flow 30 miles of inland waterways and lakes and when finished, is anticipate to be a self sufficient community which each sector having nearly 1,000 lots. It has a fascinating, sometimes chequered history, but it is unique. A place where people co-exist with nature and enjoy a splendid outdoor lifestyle. Close to beaches, the stunning intracoastal waterway, Rotonda offers something for everyone. The beauty for homeowners is that as there are a limited number of lots to build on within the circle, once full, the only way to live here will be to buy a resale.
This area is rural. You can enjoy uncrowded beaches, raccoons walking through your gardens and alligators swimming past your home in one of the many waterways. It is an outdoor area, surrounded by plenty of good, inexpensive restaurants, good shopping, outlet stores reasonably close and . . the intracoastal waterway which consists of three non-contiguous segments: the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, extending from Brownsville, Texas, east to Carrabelle, Florida; a second section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, beginning at Tarpon Springs, Florida, and extending south to Fort Myers; and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, extending from Key West, Florida, to Portsmouth, Virginia. Our section from Tarpon Springs to Ft Myers is a playground. Great boating, especially when it is a little rough out at sea, good fishing and a fabulous opportunity to see the local wildlife. If you haven’t been on the intracoastal waterway, you have only seen half of what this area has to offer!
renting a home on Rotonda
Renting a holiday home on Rotonda is very popular. Some guests come for the peace and quiet. They just relax, enjoy the pool, the beaches, the excellent local restaurants and relax. Others come for the activities, the golf, the cycling, canoeing, boating, jet-ski’s and days out to the waterpark in Ft Myers or a fascinating tour around the Babcock Ranch. Shopping is good, we are about midway between the outlets at Ellenton at Bradenton and the Miramar outlets near Naples. There is also a smaller Tanger outlet in Ft Myers. Local shops have some excellent bargains and the Port Charlotte Mall has many shops, 5 major stores and a cinema complex.
If you like other a little more adventurous, the Sports Stadium hosts spring break for the Tampa Bay Rays and through the summer, you can watch the Charlotte Stone Crabs. If you haven’t been to a baseball game, you need to go! It’s a very American experience, it’s family orientated and it’s a lot of fun! Watch out for the nights when they have fireworks!
home ownership on Rotonda
We have selected a range of fabulous properties which you can build offering a wide variety of options including 3 bedrooms with either 2 or 3 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms with 2 or 3 bathrooms and individual designs offering up to 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Most houses on Rotonda are 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. They look much larger, but in recent years larger houses are being built and a reason number of these are bought by Europeans who enjoy them and rent them out. Our builder is a custom builder, that means that you can choose a floor plan that works for you and if necessary, he can add the little touches that will personalise your home to make it the perfect choice. Do remember though that any changes will affect the price and the standard models are already much loved by home owners in this area
furnishing and equipping your home
When we started building homes back in 2003, we wanted to offer beautiful homes, built by reputable builders, set on picturesque lots and furnished to show home standard. We wanted to offer the very best, a product that would be loved by the owner and which made us proud to have been involved with. Second time around, not much has changed. We introduce our clients to one of our original builders, we still pick excellent lots and we have no hesitation to introducing our clients to our original interior designer to furnish and equip their homes.
Joann Lamberto at Interiors by Joann is a lady who has years of experience at producing that elusive ‘model home’ look. She has worked for several local builders, furnishing their models and she is our number one choice for our clients. She listens to clients, understands the ‘look’ that they want to achieve and works miracles within her budget. Loved by her colleagues and by her clients, she will make your home look a million dollars!
On this site, we offer a small number of well maintained, good quality homes. These houses are well built, well-furnished and the housewares package is extensive. Most are regularly used by the owners so they are much loved homes which are shared with guests, some of whom return each year to the same house. You can be sure of an enjoyable holiday in any of these homes.
Beaches: Very good local beaches, rarely crowded
Bicycles: Excellent local bike trails, Rotonda itself is flat and interesting to cycle around. The roadways cover 26 miles on Rotonda alone.
Boating: You can hire a boat with or without a skipper, join many of the eco tours available including dolphin watching tours and sunset cruises
Fishing: The waterways around Rotonda are teaming with fish as is the salt and brackish water in the area. Fish on Rotonda, fish off a pier, off a beach, hire a boat and fish, or join a fishing tour offshore and fish. You will be spoilt for choice
Golf: You could stay for a month and play a different course each day! On Rotonda alone you have 5 courses totalling 99 holes of golf. Our owners can also purchase a golf programme which would be available to them and their guests.
State Parks: Wonderful Myakka State Park, the Peace River State Park and over 70 other parks in the county alone!
Waterparks: The Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Ft Myers
Watersports: jet ski’s boat hire, kayaking, boat hire with or without a guide, eco tours, tours of Charlotte Harbor
Theme Parks: Busch Gardens Tampa, Great Coasters, Great Animals, Great Gardens, Tampa
Babcock Ranch: This is a 90 minute narrated tour on a swamp bus traveling through the working cattle ranch, 4 Florida ecosystems and seeing local wildlife up close and personal. Your guide will give you the history of the ranch and identify the local eco-systems and wildlife.
America’s Everglades: The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States: although not strictly local, it can be done in a day and is well worth a visit. The Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther. An international treasure as well – a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected areas under the Cartagena Treaty.
UK and US contacts
Marilyn and Hugh have worked together for years and between them have around 25 years worth of experience working and helping clients to realise their dreams of home ownership in this area. After retiring from the NYPD, Hugh and his English wife Anita moved to Florida and have lived on Rotonda ever since. Hugh works close by, so his local knowledge is absolutely excellent. He and Anita owned a rental home initially which is how he and Marilyn met, so he is the very best person to advice you on creating a home which is highly attractive both to rental guests and for the re-sale market.
UK: Marilyn Down works with clients who want more information about potential home ownership on Rotonda and is happy to visit UK clients in their home. She keeps the information we provide up to date and personalises information to suit each clients requirements. She has been involved with property on Rotonda for nearly 16 years, both in new construction, management and rentals. She also runs a small and very successful rental service for clients who want to use her service and her expertise. Ways to contact Marilyn are:
Telephone: 07856 611 194
USA: Hugh McGough keeps Marilyn up to date with changes and he is the man you will meet if you want to visit Rotonda yourself and have an inspection visit to find out if this is the place for you. He will introduce you to our builder, attend meetings if you wish (recommended) and will advice you when you go out with the builder to choose your land. He will introduce you to our interior designers who will furnish your home, advice on your pool design if required and also add input to your landscaping package. There is a difference in requirements if you are going to be fully resident, or if you are building a 2nd home and if you get it wrong, there will be a cost implication for you.
Then during construction, Hugh will take regular photographs for you. You may be hundreds, even thousands of miles away, but you will still be able to enjoy the excitement of watching your home come to life. Ways to contact Hugh are:
what happens when your home is finished?
The service that Rotonda Turtles provides takes you right through to the point where you sign off your home from your builder. We are there every step of the way. Because we are freelance, we can recommend a management service that is recognised in the area as being one of the best at the time of completion of your home. Cheap isn’t likely to be best, but the most expensive is not necessarily the best either! You need a company who consistently provide the service that you are looking for. Owning a house in a sub-Tropical climate is slightly different to what we usually expect. A small problem dealt with promptly can save a much higher bill in the future. Problems here can escalate quickly. A new house should be relatively trouble free for several years, but good maintenance is essential. We are happy to provide more information on this if requested.
Marilyn does offer a private rental service to the owners. She started it originally to ‘top-up’ the rental bookings that owners received from the management company and it has grown steadily. If you are looking to buy a house and would like to discuss this with her, please call her on 07856 611 194 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our customer testimonials…
We have had the pleasure of working with Marilyn for 6 years. Since this first meeting we have had a total change in fortunes where she is very proactive, friendly, efficient and no hassles what so ever. For the last 6 years we have had more rentals Year on Year, which is very pleasing, as a home owner. We have peace of mind in knowing that our property is in good hands.
Our relationship with Marilyn and Hugh stretches back many years prior to us deciding to buy our own property. We first knew them through renting properties that they cared for on behalf of other owners. Their attention to detail in the maintenance of homes and customer care (to the renter and owner) made them an obvious choice to manage our own property. Whilst the home that we purchased was already built, Hugh provided a 'hands on' oversight role when building the pool. He provided photographs detailing progress and candid feedback when he felt that our best interests were not being represented. It is fair to say that he wasn't afraid to tackle things 'head on' with contractors and this is so important when you are many thousands of miles away from the property. Marilyn has given us wise counsel on so many issues from who to use for home furnishings through to where to go for legal and tax advice as well as developing and maintaining a regular customer base. Marilyn helps to supplement our own bookings in such a way that it takes the time consuming hassle out of dealing with everything from initial inquiries through to soliciting feedback from eventual renters - never underestimate the time that these things take! In doing your own research you will no doubt find many on-line reviews that suggest that it is so difficult to find people that you can trust - we certainly trust Marilyn and Hugh!
We thought it could never be achieved when following an enormously enjoyable holiday, we started exploring the possibility of buying our own property in Florida. But that was until we came across Marilyn Down. Following an enquiry Marilyn rang us and from that moment on she took care of everything. There was no 'hard sell' just a straightforward and honest answer to every question we asked. How to buy a house in the USA was clearly explained but even more relevant to us was how we could have a new home built. We decided that we would need to visit Rotonda, somewhere we hadn't even heard of, to see for ourselves. Once there we were shown around the area and quickly realised that this was to use a cliche, a little piece of heaven on earth and our determination to buy a home became stronger. Marilyn had arranged for the guide but also had a realtor lined up should we need one. The selection of plot and house were quickly made and we were under way. Throughout the build we were kept continually informed with regular photographs being sent. Hugh did the monitoring and nothing was left to chance. When the day came and we walked into our new home we were completely overwhelmed as the decor throughout, as arranged by Joann, exceeded all our expectations. We always intended to rent out our home and here again Marilyn came into her own. The process was made very easy and the simple way in which it operates makes it very easy for us as busy people to operate. It was a big decision to go ahead with this whole project, Marilyn made it easy, and we have never looked back.
We decided to build our own home in Rotonda and used the service offered by Marilyn and Hugh. We felt the whole process was seamless. They arranged estate agent/realtor and financial expert visit beforehand to minimise hassle. It began with purchasing the land to build on, agreeing the exact specifications with the builder and meeting Joann Lamberto from Interiors by Joann. She listened to what style of furnishing and decor we wanted and we came home to Wales! During construction we received regular photographic updates which were very reassuring. It’s good to have photographs when you are so far away. They maintained very good communication with us throughout construction too. Our next visit to Rotonda was to occupy our home for the first time. The furnishing was fantastic and the house exceeded our expectations. We walked through the front door and the house was finished to the last detail including a fully equipped kitchen, made beds, silk plants and beautiful pictures. One of the touches we particularly liked were the ‘toppers’ which go above the windows, rather than just blinds which make it feel more like a home than a rental property. For us, our home was and is a place to visit and relax. We didn’t want the hassle of shopping for everything, so from day 1, it was our holiday home and at some point a retirement home too maybe. Since completion, Hugh and Marilyn have continued to work for us both in maintaining our home and in producing rentals. Both are totally trustworthy and 100% reliable lovely people. Being so far away from home you need people there you can trust, and we do. Overall, the whole experience has been first class and we would thoroughly recommend Marilyn and Hugh as a business to cater for all your needs. Happy to talk to you in person.
Elegant Florida Properties