1. Home Sweet Home with ‘Sweetwater’

    Looking for a sweet and charming home nestled on the beautiful Manatee River? Our Sweetwater model located in River’s Reach community may be just what you are looking for! 

    Sweetwater is a quaint home with a stunning exterior, cloud white trim and intimate front porch. The design and details of this model will surely make you want to utter the words, “home sweet home”.

    When you walk through the doorway  you will be greeted by 2,204 square feet of living space enriched by soft beiges, whites and mixed accents of chocolate brown.  The hardwood flooring and neutral tile lend a relaxed and warm feel to this quality space.

    The kitchen offers a freestanding island featuring cream and black toned granite countertops and an extended stone backsplash.

    Complete with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a 2 door garage, the ‘Sweetwater’ model is one of our move-in ready homes available NOW at River’s Reach. From the children’s play area to the private fitness center, this is a community the entire family could enjoy!

    Want to see more? Take a tour here!



  2. Boca New staff member and club expansion plans!

     The Boca Royale community is growing and so is our family as we welcome experienced General Manager, Ian Fetigan to the Boca Royale Golf & Country Club team!

    With more than 20 years of successful, hands-on management experience in the hospitality, non-profit, and private country club industries, Fetigan brings a wealth of knowledge to the Boca Royale team in all areas and will be an invaluable asset in our expansion and enhancing an already thriving club.

    The Boca Royale community will be expanding over the next few years. New staff, new dining menus and a perfectly manicured golf course are already setting Boca Royale apart as one of the finest golf and country clubs in the region with a reputation for delivering a quality, Florida lifestyle.

    Neal Communities is building homes within Boca Royale and offers homeowners a variety of new home options at Boca Royale. The builder offers single-family homes from its Cove and Signature Series, and paired villas from the Coral Series. Homes range in size from 1,434 square feet to 3,262 square feet. Homes are nestled amidst existing and established oaks and preserved land.

    Located right off of 776, Boca Royale has access to shopping, beaches, and entertainment. For more information about the community and country club, please go to www.bocaroyale.com or call 941-475-6464.


  3. New Year. New You.

    Every year on January 1st we are all given a fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slat to begin a new year. Many of us set New Years resolutions to help us achieve this and one of the most common of these is to lose weight and get more fit.  Forbes magazine approximated that over 40% of Americans set New Years goals while only 8% actually achieve them. Don’t let that be you!

    There are tons of ways to get active in and around your Neal Community to help you stay active and burn off those extra punds this year.

    Let’s start with giving some tips on how to set “SMART” goals.  What is a SMART goal? SMART stands for Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. So instead of saying “ I want to get in better shape this year,” apply those 5 items. “I want to join the gym, workout 3 times a week, and loose 3 pounds a month every month this year.” This allows you to track and hold yourself accountable.

    So now, how to get more active! First, let’s start with a few small changes that can make a big difference.

    Consider taking the stairs versus the elevator. The website HealthStatus says a person who weighs 160 pounds burns about nine calories during a minute of walking up a set of stairs. That might not seem like much, but let’s say you do this just two times everyday in 2014. That’s an extra 6,570 calories burned.

    Park in a spot a little further away from the store to force yourself to walk a longer distance. Again, small steps that can go a big way burning extra calories without even trying!

    Get moving during commercial breaks! Instead of sitting the entire time while watching your favorite TV show, consider moving around during the commercial breaks. The Chicago Tribune estimates that a one-hour show has approximately 20 minutes of commercial time. Use it to do some lighter exercises such as push-ups, marching in place, sit ups, or even squats. Or why not kill two birds with one stone and do some chores during the breaks? Loading the dishwasher, folding laundry, dusting, or vacuuming will keep you moving about (and keep your house clean!)

    But why stop there? Especially when you have so many opportunities to have fun while getting fit in your Neal Community! As a builder in Southwest Florida, all of our communities are not far from the beautiful white sandy beaches of the Gulf coast.  Walks on the beach, swimming, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing are all options for the beach bum in you. Not to mention, we have a feeling you will love the view. Or consider going for a stroll within your community.  Challenge an opponent to a game of tennis. The mayoclinic notes that one-hour of play can result in burning 584 calories in a 160 pound person.

    If you live in one of our communities offering a kayak or canoe launch, start paddling! One hour can burn as many as 256 calories and is a great workout to tone those arms and back!

    When is the last time you challenged your kids to a game of one-on-one on the basketball court?  Considering you can burn a whopping 584 calories in just one hour, you might consider starting again, tonight!

    Our Grand Palm residents have fitness classes lead by instructors designed to challenge every level and burn unwanted calories. Check out the class schedule for when Water Aerobics take place. Also, be sure to join the walking and running group or the bicycle club!

    Hit the pavement on your bike as your explore your community and burn close to 300 calories in an hour.

    If you doubt your dedication to accomplishing your resolution, grab a buddy to keep you on track and accountable. Whatever you do, don’t give up! Think how happy you will be in a year when you reach your goal! You can do this!

    Here’s to a new you in the new year.


  4. Holiday Decoration Ideas

    One of our favorite places to collect holiday ideas is Pinterest. From recipes, to organization tips, to ideas for decorating the home, the ideas are endless.

    And with a focus on “do it yourself” many of the ideas on Pinterest can be implemented at a low cost – something that helps everyone out during the holidays.  Below we’ve put together some decorating ideas that will add some fa-la-la-la-la to your home without spending too much mullah-la-la-la.

    Wine Bottle Vases

    This blogger shared her idea of painting old bottles white and finishing with spray on snow. You can fill the tops with flowers, poinsettias, branches, holly, or other branches to add color to this winter wonderland. 

    Mantel Decorations

    Are your stockings hung by the fire with care? There are so many ideas for decorating your mantel that your biggest decision will be choosing your favorite! Lights, candles, garland! Using leftover decorations or items around your home, you can easily decorate your fireplace at little to no cost.  Start by selecting the colors you want to use to decorate: reds and greens, silver and gold, blue, or multicolored. Fill large, clear vases with ornaments, peppermints, or jingle bells for an accent piece.  You can also buy stocking hangers that come shaped in holiday related pieces like moose, snowmen, or stars to hang stockings in style.  A trend that has been becoming increasingly popular is the use of wooden letters on fireplace mantels. Considering buying pieces to spell words such as “Peace”, “Joy” or “Believe” to add some authentic flair to your mantel.

    Decorative Pillows

    Another small idea that can make a huge difference is swapping your couch pillows with holiday pillows! Many stores sell decorative pillows including Target, Home Goods, or Pier 1 Imports like the ones shown below. Consider throwing a plush, holiday colored throw behind them to make your pillows really pop. Plus, it will be perfect to keep you warm on those colder winter nights. If you are looking for a craft to keep you busy, find some “Pinspiration” from these decorative pillows we found on Pinterest.

    Cake Stand Candles

    If you have a cake stand lying around that isn’t in use, put it to good use with this great idea. Place an arrangement of candles in different lengths in the center and surround them with some color using a red or colored wreath. Simple, elegant, and calorie free.

    Popcorn Garland

    Now that your home is looking festive on the inside, we can’t forget about your outdoor decorations! Your home can go from bah humbug to bah-utiful in no time. Consider purchasing smaller trees to place on each side of your front door. Keep the kids busy with this fun craft making popcorn and cranberry garland! Pop a bag of popcorn and pick up a bag of cranberries while you’re out doing your holiday shopping. Use a needle and thread to string together one piece of popcorn next to a cranberry. Make sure you make it long enough to wrap around your trees.

    Other subtle decorations include hanging a wreath on your front door, wrapping pillars or fences with garland intertwined with lights, placing poinsettias on the porch, or adding a holiday door mat to welcome guests with cheer.

    We hope this ideas help put you in the holiday spirit to decorate your beautiful Neal Communities home!

  5. New Home? No worries!

    Are you in the market to buy a new home? Congratulations, you are preparing for an exciting adventure! Finding a new home can be scary, especially if you are a first time buyer.

    We’ve put together a list of tips to keep in mind when looking for a new home.

     Price Shop

    Just as you would if buying a new car, you should compare prices in the area. Websites such as Trulia or Zillow can give you a general idea of what you can expect to pay. Once you determine what your budget is, you can narrow in on options.

    Set Your Budget

    In order to set your budget, you might consider speaking with a mortgage company. Or, using a mortgage calculator, you can determine what your payments would be if you put a certain amount down.  Fannie Mae recommends buyers not spend more than 28% of their income on housing costs.

    Consider Additional Costs

    Once you have an idea of your budget,  do your homework and determine what additional taxes, insurance, and other expenses are necessary. Be sure to include this in your costs so you don’t go over budget.

    Distinguish Your Wants From Your Needs

    We all want a big house with a large kitchen, walk-in closets, granite countertops, a huge pool in the backyard, and plenty of space. Determining what features and amenities you need from your next home and community is important. Otherwise, you might end up paying too much for features you didn’t necessarily need.

    Clean Up Your Credit Score

    Even if you are in the very early stages of looking for homes, start building your credit score now. Run a free report to find out what your score is and how you can begin to improve it.

    Home is where your story begins. Follow these tips to find your dream home.

  6. Why you should pay off your mortgage BEFORE you retire

    Can you imagine being debt free when you enter retirement? Many people work very hard to pay off their auto loans, credit cards bills and other monthly payments before they retire. Doing so allows you to enjoy those retirement years without the added financial burden or stress.
    However, most people overlook the option of paying of their single largest debt….their mortgage!

    With interest rates being at an all-time low, many people often overlook the benefits of paying off their mortgage and assume that it won’t make that big of a difference in their overall financial plan for retirement. However, if you consider the many advantages that come with being mortgage free, you might just change your tune!

    1. Emotional peace of mind – Owning your home outright reduces stress, and that is what retirement is all about.

    2. Instant equity – Look at your home as an additional savings account. Once you have paid off your mortgage the value of the home is very similar to cash in your savings account.

    3. More mobility – Without a mortgage you have complete control over where you want to live. If you choose to downsize later in life, or purchase a beach getaway, you have more mobility in making these decisions if you don’t have a mortgage to reckon with.

    4. Maintain your cost of living – After you retire, your income will probably drop, but your cost of living won’t. Some expenses, like health care, are likely to climb — perhaps significantly. If you can eliminate the burden of a monthly mortgage payment, you’ll have more flexibility to handle any rising costs.

    Retirement signals the beginning of a new lifestyle. The daily grind of working 40 hours a week is gone, the children have grown up and moved on with their lives, and you are free to truly enjoy your life. Having additional financial obligations can take away from this new lifestyle. Make a list of all the wonderful places you want to go and things you want to do during your retirement! If you eliminate the monthly mortgage payment, these dreams are more likely to become realities.