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Knowing a home’s orientation is important

May 13, 2011
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

One important aspect in buying a home in Southwest Florida is its exposure or orientation. Does the home face north, south, east or west? This is a question that begs clarification because when doing business with Europeans, it is critical.

Any agent who has performed real estate services for any length of time in Southwest Florida will be quick to point out that when you talk about a home's exposure, the presumptive answer is the direction the rear of the house faces. I have come across listings where the agent places comments regarding the exposure of the house that are completely misleading. When someone says, ""the house has a western exposure," this means the rear of the house faces to the west.

The orientation is important because of the sun's direction at any point in time. For example, a home that has eastern exposure means that the rear of the house would get the morning sun until about noon. Then, the rear of the house becomes shaded resulting from the earth's rotation, causing the sun to move south and then finally west. I have discovered that many Floridians prefer eastern or northern exposure because they do not want the direct sunlight in their lanai area during the latter hours of the afternoon or evening.

Europeans, on the other hand, prefer southern or western exposure because they want the direct sun in the middle of the afternoon and evening. This exposure also heats the pool for longer hours due to the position of the sun. The exposure of a home typically was not an issue in the northern states. However, when migrating to Florida, this became as important as how many bathrooms were in a particular property.

Several months ago I wrote about people who are directionally challenged. Determining the orientation of a house requires the agent's ability to distinguish among north, south, east and west. If you are showing property on a parkway, terrace, street or lane and the number of the house is even, then the exposure is southern. If you look at homes on a boulevard, avenue, court or place and the number is even, then the exposure is western.

Clients deserve to be guided by an agent who possesses the wisdom and trustworthiness that are the fruition of years experience. Delineation of streets, identifiable markers, solidly outlining directional placement of their dream home must not be misleading or vague. The selection of a home is one of the most important decisions a person makes in life, and in order to be completely happy with their decision, the disclosure by their real estate professional must be completely accurate and honest. An experienced real estate professional welcomes complex questions, never hesitates to dialogue with clients about a plethora of issues and is someone who will be an integral part in the realization of years of happiness associated with the careful selection of the perfect home.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate at Paradise Realty, specializing in domestic and European clientele. He is a former investigator for the Florida Real Estate Commission. He is also a former real estate instructor. He is a published author and has been a keynote speaker on the subject of agency law. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For questions or comments contact him at or call 239-565-4445 or visit



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