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I am a Author, inspirational speaker and blogger at @treadmilltreats.

Thinking of building a home in South Florida?

Blog written by Francesca Villardi

Thinking of Building a Home in South Florida?

If you’re considering building your dream home in South Florida, it’s essential to understand the costs and challenges involved.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Construction Costs: Building a 2,000-square-foot home in Florida costs between $260,000 to $560,000, averaging about $500 per square foot according to HomeAdvisor. However, actual costs can vary based on location, property type, labor, and material costs.
  • Labor and Material Costs: These make up approximately 50% of the total construction costs. U.S. construction costs have remained significantly higher than pre-COVID levels, although they rose at a slower rate in 2023 compared to 2021 and 2022. Factors include inflation, labor costs, rising insurance rates, materials, and permitting costs.
  • Contractor Fees: Contractors typically charge 10-20% of the total construction value.
  • Specialized Costs:
    • Electrical: $7,500-$12,500 or higher
    • Roof Installation: $3,200-$36,500, depending on size and type
    • Plumbing: Around $12,000 or more
    • HVAC Installation: Approximately $12,500 or higher
  • Land and Site Preparation: Costs for land, clearing, and leveling, plus potential expenses for installing a well or septic tank.
  • Permits: You may need to cover permit costs unless included in your contractor’s fees (check your contract closely).

Interior Finishes:

Once the house structure is complete, choosing interior finishes can quickly increase costs. It’s crucial to plan and budget carefully to avoid overspending.

Market Conditions:

Is 2024 a Good Year to Build? According to Heartland Builders, 2024 may be a favorable year for building a custom home. Pricing and interest rates have stabilized, and there’s speculation that the Federal Reserve may decrease rates instead of raising them.

Decision Time:

Ultimately, whether to build your dream home from scratch or remodel an existing home depends on your preferences and circumstances. Both options have their advantages and challenges.


If you’re looking for your dream home in South Florida, we specialize in luxury and equestrian properties in Southwest Ranches, Davie, and Plantation. Whether you’re moving in or building from the ground up, we can help you find the perfect property.

For expert guidance and support in finding or building your dream home, contact us today. We’re here to help make your vision a reality.

4th of July Happenings around town

4th Of July Happenings around town

Blog by Francesca Villardi

Southwest Ranches:

The city of Southwest ranches canceled their 4th of July celebrations this year. 


Hometown 4th of July celebration

July 3 from 6-9pm Free event 

The city of Weston is getting the party started early by hosting its fireworks show on the eve of 4th of July. As the Shane Duncan Band will provide the tunes from the stage, explore photo stations, craft booths and food vendors. Then, fireworks will close out the night.  

4th of July 5kRun/ Walk 

July 4th @7:15- 9:30 Cost 34.50-45.00

If you’re an early riser, join walkers and runners for the 4th of July Walk/Run within the Weston Town Center at the finish line, cool off at the Hook and Ladder shower and don’t forget to wear your [patriotic garb.

Hometown 4th of July Celebration Parade July 4th@10:30 to 12:30 pm Free Event 

The fun continues with a parade “Celebrating the American Dream” starting from the corner of Town Center Boulevard and Three VIllage Road and finishing at the heart of Main Street. There, enjoy local live music, fire trucks, police vehicles and community vendors. This year’s parade grand marshall is Angela Cohen, literacy coach at Indian Trace Elementary and 2024 Broward County Teacher of the Year Caliber Award finalist.


Davie will celebrate July 4th with two events. On Thursday, the annual parade begins at 10 a.m. in Cooleemee. It will be followed by free watermelon and ice pops in the town park, along with hotdogs and drinks available for purchase. All are welcome to participate in the parade. Dress your vehicle, bicycle, lawnmower or yourself in red, white and blue and show up at the elementary school on Marginal Street by 9:30.

Read more at:


The City of Plantation presents an Independence Day Celebration, happening on Thursday, July 4th!

 Here’s the rundown of the day: 

  • 9:00 AM – PARADE Begins at the intersection of Broward Boulevard and NW 46th Avenue, heads west to 69th Avenue, to NW 4th Street, to 73rd Avenue, ending at City Hall. Spectators are encouraged to sit anywhere along the parade route. 
  • 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – PATRIOTIC POOL DAY: Cool off with us at the Plantation Aquatic Complex. Residents swim for free! Located at 9151 NW 2nd Street, Plantation, FL 33324.
  • 6:00 PM – KID’S ZONE: The Kid’s fun zone includes inflatables and games for hours of fun! 
  • 7:00 PM – FREE CONCERT: Concert is held at the north end of Central Park. Bring along a picnic dinner, lawn chairs or blanket. Food is available for purchase.
  • 9:00 PM – FIREWORKS: featuring one of the best pyrotechnic shows in Broward. For your safety and the safety of others, please refrain from using fireworks and sparklers within the park.

Food will be available for purchase in the evening portion of our Independence Day Celebration or bring a picnic dinner and lawn chair. No personal fireworks, sparklers, drones, tents or pets are allowed. For more information call (954) 452-2510.

Southwest Ranches, is it the new Hollywood?

Blog written by Francesca Villardi

Southwest Ranches, is it the new Hollywood?

Who would have thought that South Florida would become the new hot spot for Hollywood stars? Certainly not this little sleepy horse town, called Southwest Ranches. Recently, it has become the new place to be for stars like The Rock, or Rappers Rick Ross, and Trippie Redd. Celebrities such as Gisele Bündchen, the supermodel and equestrian enthusiast, Daunte Culpepper, the NFL’s distinguished quarterback, Udonis Haslem, the NBA’s Miami Heat luminary, and T.J. Duke, NASCAR’s emerging talent, are among the few who have moved out to the “country” and started calling Southwest Ranches home.

Despite its rural character, Southwest Ranches is now attracting ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Centrally located, it’s close to three major international airports and a short drive to either Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Some are calling it the Hamptons lifestyle in a little-known location. And don’t expect it to get overrun with celebrities; it will always have that small-town feel thanks to strict preservation rules that prevent future overdevelopment. The town’s motto is ‘The pavement stops here!’ There are no sidewalks or stores here, just lots and lots of land, and this privacy is what many come here for.

According to their website, The Town of Southwest Ranches, located in Southwest Broward County, is approximately 13 square miles and home to nearly 8,000 residents. The town is a rural environment, filled with grazing animals, nurseries, farms, exquisite and unique scenery, and an abundance of wildlife.

The zoning in the town is almost entirely rural residential and agricultural, which requires that lots must be a minimum of one to two acres. Southwest Ranches also has a growing amount of zoning for recreation and open space, which preserves land for residents’ enjoyment. The newest zoning district is for community facilities that allow uses that serve the community, such as places of worship.

The town of Southwest Ranches was formed to stop encroaching development, and all the Town Council Members have pledged to “preserve our rural lifestyle,” which includes donkeys braying, roosters crowing, and no sidewalks.

So if you want to hobnob with famous neighbors, or just want that country feel, call us today, as we are the Southwest Ranches specialists and can find you the home of your dreams.

10 things to do in and around Southwest Ranches

Blog written by Francesca Villardi

10 Things to Do in Broward County

Right in the backyard of Southwest Ranches, there are plenty of things to do. We have all kinds of hidden gems out west in Broward County!

  1. Flamingo Gardens– Established in 1927 as a mere citrus orchard, Flamingo Gardens is now home to over 3,000 species of plants and a wildlife sanctuary. Located just west of Fort Lauderdale, the Gardens surround the historical Wray family home, now a museum open to the public. Across 60 acres of land, visitors can explore tropical rainforests and wetlands, stand in awe of Florida’s largest trees, and, of course, delight in the company of flamingos.
  2. Sawgrass Recreation Park– Sawgrass Recreation Park is located in the heart of the Everglades. It’s home to a variety of endangered and protected species, such as the American crocodile, manatee, and Florida panther. Keep your eyes peeled – you never know what’s lurking in that sawgrass.
  3. Horseback Riding-Four of our regional parks offer horseback riding. The Tradewinds Park stables are county-operated and offer trail rides, pony rides, camps, and field trips. At Tree Tops, riders bring their own horses, as they do to ride the equestrian trails at Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center and Vista View Park as well.
  4. Water Parks– C.B. Smith’s Paradise Cove features Paradise Pipeline with four five-story-tall water slides, enabling riders to experience corkscrew rides exiting into the four-foot-deep plunge pool. The 32-inch wide-open body slides vary in length from 395 feet to 430 feet. The 400 gallons of water per minute move riders down the slides for an incomparable experience. Riders must be 42 inches tall, weigh less than 250 pounds, and be able to swim.
  5. Sports and Recreation– Pickleball, racquetball, miniature golf, tennis, batting cages, and more are all located just minutes away from Southwest Ranches.
  6. Vista View Park– Want hills in South Florida? Vista View Park offers a new splash pad with 21 spray features to keep you cool. At 65 feet above sea level, this park’s hilltop is the highest manmade elevation in Broward County. It’s popular with competitive bicyclists, paragliders, horseback riders, and picnickers.
  7. Parks– Love the outdoors? We have eight parks all within minutes of Southwest Ranches. Whether you’re looking for action, adventure, relaxation, or just some family time, one or more of these parks will fulfill your needs.
  8. Shopping– We have two major malls minutes away: Pembroke Lakes Mall and Sawgrass Mills Mall. Plus, we have so many other shopping and dining options that you will forget you’re in the “country.”
  9. Target and Clay Shooting– Markham Park offers gun enthusiasts a great place to practice. They have pistol and rifle ranges, skeet and trap fields, archery, and sporting clays – something for everyone.
  10. Everglades Tours– Climb aboard one of the state-of-the-art vessels for an unforgettable Everglades airboat tour. Then, experience a live alligator show featuring the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team in the world-famous Gator Pit! You can even get an opportunity to hold a baby alligator. With miles of wetlands and mangrove tunnels, you’ll journey deep into the Florida Everglades, zipping across the “River of Grass” at top speeds with an expert airboat tour guide.

Broward County offers a variety of activities that cater to all interests, making it an excellent place to explore and enjoy.

Mortgage Rates fall under 7%. Is this the time to buy?

Blog Written by Francesca Villardi

Mortgage rates dipped below 7% this week, with the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan falling from 7.03% last week to 6.99% for the week ending June 6, according to Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates retreated this week given incoming data showing slower growth,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Rates are just shy of seven percent.” Mortgage rates have been struggling for almost two months, going just above and below  the 7% mark. 

There are those who say that inventory will continue to rise by 30% each year. What does that mean for buyers? Well buyers are still sitting in a tough spot. Yes, there is more inventory but with rising prices and high interest rates it’s tough to decide to buy now or wait it out.

Mortgage rates now

Last week, mortgage rates climbed back over 7% after falling to 6.94%. It’s as if it is a game for home buyers wondering if this is the time or do we wait. After all, mortgage interest rates can make or break a deal especially if it is over a 30 year payment. That can come out to thousands or even hundred of thousands of dollars depending on the price of the house. Experts say that mortgage rates should decrease to around 6.5 by the end of this year or early next year.

And as good as that sounds comparing it to the interest rates of last year that hit a high of 8.45%. But they say we may never see mortgage rates as low as in 2021 in which rates were as low as 2.65%

Housing stock is up

The number of homes that are for sale continued to grow in May, with buyers seeing 35.5% more homes for sale for the week ending June 1 than last year. That was up for the 30th straight week compared to the year before. This was because the sellers saw mortgage rates drop and thought maybe this was their time to sell. Homes are still selling more slowly; they are still selling more quickly than pre-pandemic times.

Check out Southwest Ranches

Blog written by Francesca Villardi

If you hear donkeys braying or roosters crowing and there isn’t a single sidewalk in sight, do you think you’re in South Florida anymore? Believe it or not, you are! Welcome to Southwest Ranches, a unique town alongside the eastern edge of the Everglades. Just 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale, this charming town offers a distinct country atmosphere.

Southwest Ranches covers approximately 13 square miles in Southwest Broward County and is home to over 7,923 residents. The town boasts a rural environment filled with grazing animals, nurseries, farms, exquisite and unique scenery, and an abundance of wildlife. The zoning in the town is almost entirely rural residential and agricultural, preserving its rural lifestyle by incorporating as a separate city. They also have a growing amount of zoning for recreation and open space, ensuring land is preserved for residents’ enjoyment. The newest zoning district is for community facilities that serve the community. Southwest Ranches was formed to stop encroaching development and to “Preserve Our Rural Lifestyle.”

We love the country atmosphere in this neighborhood, which is why we specialize in selling property here. We know most of the people in the community and have even sold many of them their homes. In fact, there are several properties we’ve sold two or three times. When you come to us looking to buy your dream home, our entire team will be available to help you and make the transaction seamless.

Call us today to check out this unique town that is waiting for you, your family, and your animals to call home.

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April sales in Broward County

Blog written by Francesca Villardi


According to Realtors of Broward/ Palm Beach and St. Lucie. Just in! April 2024 reports have been released from Florida Realtors® detailing recent real estate activity in Broward County. The reports compare year-over-year data. Here are statistics on single-family homes.

As the summer season approaches and more consumers are headed to South Florida, Broward County is experiencing an increase in inventory, currently sitting at 4,146 active listings – a 52.6% increase from this time last year. The county’s months supply of inventory has also increased year-over-year, currently at 4.0 months.

“Broward County saw over $1 billion in dollar volume in April 2024 with 1,196 closed sales. We are continuing to see inventory increase with 1,767 new listings from this time last year – an 31.5% increase,” says David Serle, 2024 president of Broward, Palm Beaches & St. Lucie Realtors®. “As more people head to South Florida during moving season, it’s essential to work with a REALTOR® who treats each transaction as a unique consumer experience that we navigate with different levels of support, complexity and expertise.”