T’is the season in South Florida for all things pumpkin and fall. Unfortunately the weather does not come close to even reflecting the change in season, so we South Floridians rely upon pumpkins to set the tone…and nothing says pumpkin more than a good ole South Florida PUMPKIN PATCH.
Today we shall focus on twocan’t miss South Florida pumpkin patches for Fall; one in the west and one that is east.
And I’ll tell ya – these developers know their business.
The houses are just. so. pretty! In fact, if you’re considering a new construction community, chances are, you’re already sold. Like a moth to a flame – shiny new homes with shiny new appliances are awfully appealing, aren’t they?
From buying my OWN home from a developer to helping clients and friends – here are the most important things I’ve learned when buying new construction.
Assess what you really need
Yes, 6 bedrooms + a media room + 3 car garage + a guest suite can seem AMAZING, but keep in mind that drives up the base price of the home (um, and who is going to CLEAN all those rooms – am I right, ladies?).
Unless you’re the Duggar familyand really need all that space, assess the floor plans rather than the square footage. Are all of the bedrooms on the same level? Can you see the kids from the kitchen? A good flow will make your home that much more enjoyable.
Budget for upgrades
As you walk through the model homes, everything is pristine. It’s perfect, it’s ‘when-can-I-move-in-ready’. Keep in mind that these are professionally-decorated models showcasing the best of what the developer has to offer. Some of the things you’ll see won’t be included in the price of the home. This even includes the lot. Prime lots like Cul-du-sac or waterfront in a development can sometimes add $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 to a list price.
Realtor Tip: ALWAYS go for location. I say this at least once a day “The only thing you cannot change about a house is its location.” Come resale time, someone may not want to pay extra for those wide-plank hardwood floors that you would have sold your firstborn to have, but you can bet you’ll recoup your investment on a prime lot.
Don’t hate – negotiate!
Some aspects of a home are much easier to add or modify while it is under construction rather than after you’ve already moved in.
What if you don’t like the developer’s countertop choices? Or hardwood flooring choices? It’s not always possible, but one benefit of working with a Realtor is helping you identify where there’s flexibility from the developer. Oftentimes, Realtors will have a rapport with the developers’ agents and be able to effectively negotiate on your behalf.
Timing is everything
Bear in mind that you’re buying something that isn’t built yet. If you’re expecting a baby, or moving from out-of-state, be sure to factor that into your approximations. (We know about this one – Our daughter Edison was born just a week after we closed on our new-construction home!)
HOWEVER, if you’re not particularly choosy on finishes or floor plan, it may be possible to snag a completed home whose sale fell through (or a model home if the development is sold out).
In addition to the above, here are some questions you should ask when shopping for a new-construction home.
What is the deposit schedule?
Developers typically require a deposit to secure your ‘spot’. Additional draws may be required depending on your upgrades (which are usually paid out of pocket). A sample deposit schedule could look like 10% at contract signing/ 10% at groundbreaking and the balance at closing.
What comes standard and what features are upgrades?
Your agent can help you get a list of standard features and, if available, a list of common upgrades and their associated costs.
What kind of warranty is there with the property?
In this situation, you’re often buying a home that is not completed. What guarantees do you have the home will be ready on time? Your purchase agreement documents should specify a completion date. However, many builders add provisions that make the completion date dependent on permit approvals from the municipality or availability of building materials from suppliers. There can also be additional charges if you’re unable to close on time if your lender isn’t ready.
Hope these tips are helpful on your journey if you’re planning to purchase new construction! Comment below if you have any questions!
MOMpreneur: n. defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.
Happy Monday Modern Boca Moms! Welcome to our next installment of MOMpreneur Monday on MBMom, highlighting Florida businesses and brands that were founded by female entrepreneurs and fellow Mommas.
Today’s MOMpreneur is Susan Mussaffi, the lady behind Boca’s newest health-conscious cafe (opening in October 2014), Apura Juicery & Coffeehouse!
Hi Susan! We obviously want to hear all about your cafe (we LOVE juice & coffee!), but tell us about yourself!
I worked in the finance world for many years in New York City, but it was challenging to have a Wall Street career and be a mom of 4! I had always longed to be an entrepreneur a “mompreneur” and do something that I felt passionate about. I fell in love with cooking and this became my passion for the last 20 years.
In March 2010, I lost my first husband in a tragic accident. My life completely changed and I was responsible for caring for my 4 children alone. I felt a tremendous weight to take control of my health for my family.
They lost one parent and I wanted to do what I could to ensure that I am here to raise them.
Oh my. We are so sorry to hear about your husband. You are an inspiration for being able to take your passion – and use it in a positive way – during that difficult time. Can you tell us more about how you decided to turn your passion for health and cooking into a (new!) business?
I realized that many of the choices that I made for myself and my family were not healthy at all. I wanted to share the knowledge of how plant based foods can help heal and transform your health.
The best way for me to do this was to open a cafe, and the idea for Apura was born!
More and more people are becoming aware of what they are eating or drinking and putting into their bodies– whether it’s organic, vegan, gluten-free or locally sourced.
I wanted to create a concept that featured plant-based cuisine, juices that are fresh and easy dishes that not only look and taste great but make my guests feel great. This is in addition to creating a community to share what I learned in my research and for people to understand the link between what they eat and how they feel.
Food is the foundation of our health; what we put in is what we get out.
We believe that if we live our lives with intention and incorporate simple, daily practices we can transform how we look and feel. We are offering a healthy gourmet experience that will help you feel your best to help live with vitality and radiance.
Tell us more about your new outlook on raw foods and health…
I was first introduced to plant-based cuisine in 2013 during a process of personal growth and discovery. I gave up meat and animal products “cold turkey” and immediately noticed the benefits of this healthy new lifestyle. So I jumped headfirst into learning all I could about plant-based cuisine, doing extensive research and preparing new recipes at home.
Preparing raw vegan food is so completely different from anything I had known. I collaborated with vegan chefs, traveled and bought every book I could get my hands on. I completely immersed myself into this for 10 months.
What are some of the things that you will serve at Apura?
AtApura Juicery & Coffeehousewe serve nutritious cold-pressed juices, cold-brewed coffees, handmade nut “mylks” and whole, plant-based food, all “made with intention” on site daily.
While the cuisine and juices are plant-based, made true to the principles of raw veganism, I hope to appeal to all types of guests by translating popular, recognizable dishes into raw iterations that make the experience an enjoyable, culinary discovery for all.
Apura also offers juice cleanses which assist in detoxification and give your digestive system a well-deserved break. It can also help you transition into more mindful eating and can even help you lose weight by increasing your raw food consumption and eliminating processed foods.
What’s great about Apura’s offerings is that even though they are all plant-based, you will never lose out on flavor!
Opening up a business is hard enough, but what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in the process of starting Apura while raising your kids?
The most challenging piece has been learning how to cook the food and build a restaurant from the ground up. It has been very stressful at times. The other challenge is not letting the stress affect my family. It is important to me that I am present and happy when they walk through the door.
My family is very supportive of my business decisions. We are a team and they want me to be happy.
I have always worked.
I remember telling my 12-year-old daughter what I wanted to do and she told me I was an inspiration to her and that I have showed her that a person can live their dreams.
Some of the kids have been more open than others. I believe now they are very excited and want to know if all their friends can have free smoothies!
While we’re anxiously awaiting the opening of Apura, what can you leave us with?
We will be celebrating our official opening in October 2014. We are excited to finally be able to connect and get involved in the community.
We will be offering cooking classes and all types of education. Additionally, we have been working on a Vlog series where I can share some of my clean eating cooking tips, healthy habits for children, easy recipes for families, male-friendly cuisine and much more!
It sounds like an oxymoron, but sometimes a Girls Night “In” is the best kind of Girl’s Night Out!
A night out is great – to get dressed up, throw on some heels & paint your face is definitely a good time! But aren’t we all a little more relaxed in our flannel pajama pants, a tank top and some slippers? That’s when we can really let loose!
For this month’s edition of Girl’s Night Out, we are bringing it home, ladies!! And I did my research for this one! I (casually) polled some of my fellow Modern Boca Moms to see what THEY want to do on their next night “IN” and I think you’re all going to really like their ideas!
It’s a mix and match list so you can do one or do all – either way I promise you a great time!
Cooking Class / Make Your Own Dinner
I know…it’s supposed to be a relaxing night – who wants to cook dinner?? But cooking can be a fun and relaxing experience, especially with a little wine and your girlfriends by your side.
You could get as fancy or as casual as you’d like here! You can hire a catering company to come in and teach you and your girls to cook a 5-course meal, how to roll sushi like a pro or throw up the dough to make personal pizzas. Or, skip the instruction all together and wing it! Sometimes that’s more fun anyway!
As a bonus: set up a candy bar or ice cream sundae buffet. Dessert is the perfect end to a great dinner!
Exclusive Shopping Event
Shopping (online) is so much more relaxing in the comfort of your own home, but actually seeing and feeling the merchandise makes it even better!
See if your favorite boutique will do a “private experience” with a select number of pieces.
What about calling up the Trendy Truck, #SOFL’s first boutique on wheels? They will bring all kinds of fabulous clothes and accessories right to your doorstep, literally!
You can hire a professional to come in for the real deal! They bring everything, from the wine to the glasses, you just supply the thirsty tasters!
They’ll also tell you how to classify wine, what region it’s from, words to describe its taste and aroma and what foods you can pair with it.
Too much information?
You could also go super simple – have everyone bring their favorite bottle and set up your own tasting!! Get some grapes, crackers and mixed cheeses and you’re all set!!
I’m not talking Monopoly or gin rummy (although those are 2 of my personal favorites!). We need fast-paced games that will make for lots of laughs!
Pictionary or charades – especially after the wine tasting – are oldies but goodies! Cards Against Humanity is a simple card game that is sure to be a huge hit – you will literally be laughing out loud! Catch Phrase is another good one! A little friendly competition between girlfriends is healthy – and winner gets bragging rights until the next Girls Night! 😉
Want an expert’s advice for your next Girls Night? Our friend Miranda Murray, founder ofEvent & Design Services, has some tips for you:
Of course traditional wine tastings, spa nights or jewelry parties are always fun – and they’re at the top of our list! But why don’t you try to incorporate a twist into your night…perhaps a ‘wine & painting’ party or even a‘yoga & wine’party!
Feeling charitable? Make it a ‘girl’s night with a cause’ to raise money for your favorite charity!
What are some ideas that YOU have for your next MBMoms Night “In?” Comment below!
Samara is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for health, fitness, and social media. In her “downtime” from mommy-ing two boys, she is an account executive for a boutique social media marketing firm and the founder of healthy living blog, Peace, Love and Ice Cream!
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