Monday August 24, 2015
It was love at first visit. Joe and Vicki Creighton, from Bucks County Pennsylvania, knew almost instantly that Sarasota was an area where they wanted to be. The couple lives just outside of Philadelphia and own an auto repair shop called Creighton’s Auto Repair, Inc. Joe and Vicki have owned and operated the family business for 15 years. Eventually, the shop will be taken over by their son.
Just to be certain about their second home location, on a recent visit to the Sunshine State, they also checked surrounding cities like Naples and Ft. Myers. It was a lengthy search – in fact, that week while checking out various cities, Joe and Vicki racked up 1,700 miles on their rental car.
Based on their community wish list, their Realtor suggested they check out Lakewood Ranch. Just as the team at Neal Communities was gearing up for a grand opening celebration of its newest community, Indigo, the Creighton’s visited the Lakewood Ranch information center. There, they were told about the many neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch that would likely suit their needs, including Indigo. It sounded like the perfect fit.
They arrived at the new neighborhood an hour before the office was closing, the day before the community hosted its grand opening event – an event that drew out 500 people. It was at that moment that the couple knew they had found their second home. They returned with their Realtor the very next day. That was just about eight weeks ago, and Joe and Vicki are now the very first residents to move into Indigo since the grand opening.
The new, gated community, featuring homes from 1,407 to 1,764 square feet, is set between lush landscaping and beautiful mature oaks. Resort-style amenities like a pool and spa, pickleball courts, bocce ball courts, clubhouse and an activities director are included.
While researching online, Joe noticed the Neal Communities name came up quite a bit. The reputation of Neal Communities definitely influenced their decision, said Vicki, and “there’s not much more you can rely on than your integrity and your reputation,” she said.
The couple looked in multiple areas, but ultimately it was the builder’s reputation and guidance from Robin Bowman, lead sales associate for Indigo, that truly sold them on the community. “She really helped us envision how the community would look and feel after it was completed,” said Joe.
“Robin takes a personal interest in her clients, and we felt a connection from the very beginning,” said Vicki, who thinks of Robin like a sister. “She really truly wanted us to have what made us happy. She did her job really well and educated us all about neighborhoods and communities.” Not to mention the last-minute effort that Robin and a group of other Neal team members undertook to make sure the Creighton’s move went smoothly.
“Every time the very first homeowner moves in to a brand new community, minor challenges arise, but for the Creighton family, it seemed like these external challenges may have affected their move in date,” said Robin. “That’s when our entire team sprang into action. We knew that since they were moving from out of state and securing a mortgage, changing their closing date could have been a nightmare, and we were not about to let that happen,” she said.
From sales and construction to customer care, the Neal team all came together to coordinate with Manatee County officials on last-minute items needed to secure a certificate of occupancy. Robin, in constant communication with her clients, also coordinated with customer care to keep the mortgage company informed and worked with her builders to make sure all final details were in place from the County.
“The funny part is that we didn’t even know about most of the things happening behind the scenes,” said Vicki. “They made a promise to meet our expectations, and they followed through. And thank goodness because we had moving trucks scheduled, furniture being delivered and came from out of town to move in.”
“They may have lost sleep, but we didn’t,” says Joe. “We knew they would handle it. Neal Communities is obviously huge on customer service and building quality homes.”
All that now behind them, Indigo is the vacation home location the couple has been dreaming about for 10 years. Vicki says that when she walks in the door, it’s their dream home times 10. With high ceilings and multiple upgrades, their dream home is the first Victory model ever and is maintenance included. It features three bedrooms and two bathrooms plus a den.
“We love the open plan,” says Vicki, who after only four days of moving had a fully appointed living room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom. “That’s how we live. It just suits us.”
The family loves the water and area beaches. Centrally located, they are close to Longboat Key and Siesta Key and are just an hour away from Clearwater so they can watch the Phillies play. Their ideal goal would be to visit Florida once every two months.
“Aside from the house, our favorite thing is being by the water,” says Vicki. “It’s very peaceful. It was critical to be on a homesite like this overlooking the water.”
Joe and Vicki hope their three children - who are 22, 28 and 31 - and their families, including two grandchildren with one on the way, also come to enjoy their dream vacation home, too.