South Florida had always been in the back of their minds. So when pandemic shutdowns started, Brooke Fina and her family finally took the plunge.
“We craved the Florida lifestyle,” explains long-time Westchester resident Brooke Fina. “We’re boaters — my husband has always owned a boat. We also have family in Florida so we visited a lot and, every time, were always reminded how much we loved the lifestyle.”
At the same time, she says, they loved living in New York and tended to dismiss the idea of a major move — until COVID-19 hit and, as Brooke explains, pushed them to re-evaluate their lifestyle and what came next.
“The opportunity came about and we were able to sell our house really quickly. At the same time, we got the OK for my husband to work from home. So we just decided to take the plunge and make the move,” she says. “So far it’s been the best decision that we’ve made for our family.”
The timing also seemed right for their two young kids. With their son starting middle school and her daughter in third grade at the time, both were in their own transition period and could start in a Florida school alongside other newcomers.
Diving into a virtual exploration
With their search starting peak-pandemic, Brooke and her husband leaned on friends, family, and their Suburban Jungle Strategist Melissa Schneider to help accelerate their virtual search.
“Melissa moved from the New York area, too, so she had the same experience we did,” Brooke explains. “She quickly became our guru — I called her for everything. She’s amazing and has endless resources that helped us navigate the process.”
That, Brooke says, included everything from exploring neighborhoods and communities to finding go-to services like doctors, plumbers, and salons.
“It was so helpful to connect with someone in the area who understands how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing — someone who can make all of this less overwhelming.”
Making a move — and building their dream home
After considering different options, Brooke and her family opted to rent in South Florida while they built their dream home in Boca Bridges.
Source: Evans Fina Interiors
“We tossed around the idea of moving to a country club community, but then we heard about this new development, Boca Bridges,” she says. “Once we saw it we immediately knew we wanted to start from scratch and build a house just for us. We love construction and design, so it was a really exciting opportunity.”
Building in Boca Bridges also launched another exciting chapter in Brooke’s journey: while working on her new home she simultaneously launched her interior design business, Evans Fina Interiors.
“When we first moved a mutual friend introduced me to Jill Evans, who is now my business partner,” Brooke says. “Jill lives around the block from us in the community we’re renting in during the build. I don’t think any of this would have happened if we hadn’t moved to Florida. Everything just fell right into place.”
Finding “home” in South Florida
Despite the massive move during a global pandemic, Brooke says she and her family settled into the area very quickly — and are loving life in South Florida.
“The kids love it,” she says. “We put them into a private school that offers a smaller, more intimate learning experience — that’s really benefited them. And because school has been in-person, they’ve been able to go every day, make friends, and get acclimated. They’re really happy.”
Brooke’s husband also loves their new lifestyle.
“We’re on the boat every weekend and we go to the beach a lot,” she says. “We go for a lot of walks around the community and it’s great — everyone is out and about so we’ve met our neighbors and made some friends. It was a big move, but we’re thrilled we made it. No looking back!”
Exploring South Florida — or anywhere? Let’s talk! Schedule a free Suburbs Strategy session now.