It’s official, folks: not only has this summer been a scorcher of epic, sweaty armpitted proportions, but this July was the hottest month on record in the continental U.S. There are numerous methods for staying cool at home and avoiding horrifying electric bills brought on by nonstop AC usage including, and certainly not limited to, powering down heat-generating appliances, investing in portable fans, staying hydrated, and dressing properly. And by dressing properly, I mean shedding a few layers. (Given that I work from home, I've really taken this one to heart.)
And on the topic of shedding a few layers, it's not entirely surprising that this summer’s unbearable heat has resulted in an uptick in memberships for at least one of our country’s finest family friendly, swimsuit-optional resort destinations. (It seems that this New York Times article on the apparent eco-friendliness of “nakations” came three years too early.) The steamy weather has also prompted the folks at real estate website Movoto to contemplate the finer points of selling houses to naked people.
For the article (totally safe for work by the way, except for some gratuitous realtor cleavage), writer David Cross called up Jackie Youngblood, a grandmother of eight and the Tampa Bay area’s preeminent real estate agent for homebuyers who don't frequently buy clothing. Youngblood also happens to be a practicing nudist, which I suppose really helps in her line of work. As the consummate professional, however, she only conducts business while fully dressed. “If they [the clients] want to come in nude they can. Me, I dress professionally. I don’t go around nude showing property,” says the former real estate investor.
While it's unclear if Youngblood has seen a surge in sales this summer — I've had it with this damn heat! Let's put our clothes in storage and move to west central Florida! — she seems to have found herself a nice little niche within the Tampa real estate market, selling about 30 homes per year within nudist and clothing-optional communities such as Paradise Lakes Resort and Caliente Club & Resort. Most of the homes are located in Pasco County, just north of Tampa proper. She also works with clients outside of clothing-optional communities as well.
If you’re wondering what a home located within a clothing-optional or nudist community in Florida looks like, here you go: First, there's this 3,600-square-foot two-bedroom abode in Land O Lakes that’s currently on the market for $525,000. Features include bamboo flooring, granite countertops, and a three-car garage. Not surprisingly, there’s no mention of ample closet space in the listing. The same goes for this "professionally decorated and upgraded" pink townhouse ($189,000) located in a community offering shuffleboard and tennis of the naked variety. Ditto for this villa-style three-bedroom residence ($325,000) featuring a lanai with retractable awning, water treatment system, crazy hydro massage tub, and bidet (also, please observe the wall art above the staircase). However, this nearby four-bedroom property built in 1983 and boasting a conversation pit and quite the hot tub set-up does in fact list a “huge” walk-in closet in the master bedroom as one of its selling points.
But back to Youngblood. She tells Movoto that buying a home in a nudist or clothing-optional community, whether it be a condo, townhouse, or single-family affair, isn’t too dissimilar from purchasing property in an area where local laws frown upon those who decide to walk the dog around the block in the buff or prune the rose bushes without pants on. “It’s very strict. The nudist and clothing-optional clientele are extremely respectful of each other. You are put out of a community and resort if you are anything other than respectful,” says Youngblood. She goes on to detail one community that was designed to make clothing-wearing visitors feel at ease ... or deceive them, at least: “It was built with the concept that your family and friends could come visit you and they would never know you were at a nudist resort. Each home has a fence behind it so that you can walk nude.”
Youngblood also points out that many of these properties are second homes. “They [her clients] love to buy second homes in these resorts, which their families may not know about. Homeowners have passed away and left their property to children and their children never had any idea that their parents owned a property in one of the resorts. Most heirs laughed about it all the way to the closing table.”
I’m sorry, but if I found out that my parents owned a top-secret townhouse somewhere outside of Tampa in a community called Caliente Club & Resort, I wouldn’t be laughing. Okay, maybe I would.
Of course, what I really want to know is what the household energy and water consumption of homes in clothing-optional communities look like. Is it significantly less than in clothing-dependent households, particularly in the summer? While Youngblood doesn't discuss utilities, the aforementioned NY Times article lifts a quote from Kathy Blanchard of the Naturist Society that makes it appear that way: “Living more hours naked each day results in a dramatic drop in my laundry, which in turn reduces my water and energy use (along with my related bills)." Fair enough, but we should perhaps take into consideration what seems to be a staple in nudist-owned homes: the hot tub.
MNN tease photo: Shutterstock