Why I moved to Ocala

My pool

When I’m driving around with buyers the conversation always turns to why I moved to Ocala. The defining moment occurred in the winter of 2004. I lived in the western mountains of Maine at the time in a log cabin in the middle of no where. I had a 600 foot driveway and I owned a 30 hp Kubota tractor with a front end loader and a 6′ snowblower on the rear. I was snow blowing the driveway and my wife was shoveling the walk. We had a metal roof on our house and all the snow let go at once burying her. Between crying and swearing like a sailor she said this was our last winter in Maine. I was all for moving. We decided we wanted to go some place it never snowed and there was no ice. That actually eliminates a lot of America. We then decided we’d rather have a lush tropical humid climate as opposed to the desert of the South West. Even in 2004 we were able to do a lot of research online. We liked Ocala because of the low home prices and we thought it was the least likely city in Florida to get hit by a hurricane. We grew up in Mass and lived in Maine for 11 years. Both states have no natural disasters unless you count ice storms. We came to Ocala thinking about a small farm but then we saw pool homes with a pool under a screen cage just off the lanai. That was totally new to us and we loved the lifestyle. We weren’t old enough for a 55+ at the time and I don’t think we would fit in even now. My dog you see on my website would get us thrown out ! Any way that’s my story.

Ocala Real Estate Market Report for July 2015

$10,000 to $100,000 290
$100,001 to $200,000 218
$200,001 to $300,000 65
$300,001 to $500,000 21
$500,000 plus 8
Total residential sales 602
Median Days on Market 98
Average % of Original list vs Sold Price 91.3%
Active Listings 3272

Well it was another good month for sales here in Ocala. I feel like every month I write the same thing but it’s true, we are finally out of a buyers market and sales are way up. Not only are sales up the the average price of homes that I’m selling are up. That’s great news for someone like me who is on commission. There are still good deals out there. Just this Monday I closed on a home in Del Webb Stone Creek. I think my buyers got that home for below market value because we found a motivated seller that had to previous offers fall thru.

 Statistics used for this blog post are from the Ocala Marion County MLS and are deemed to be accurate at the time this blog was written but are not guaranteed. All information is time sensitive and subject to change without notice. Home sales are for Marion County only and do not include FSBO, homes sold by builders or by auction that were not  listed on the MLS, commercial properties or vacant land. Residential sales do include farms, mobile homes and condo’s.

Ocala Florida weather report for August 2015

Normally the summer weather here in Ocala is pretty predictable. It will be 90 every day with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Normally it’s sunny all day with an afternoon thunderstorm 3 or 4 times a week that lasts for an hour or two and back to sunshine. The summer of 2015 has been different. I have never seen so many days where it rained all day since I moved to Ocala in 2004. I’ve also never seen so many cloudy days. It’s normally sunny every day for at least part of the day. I haven’t seen the flooding here in SW Ocala like they have had down near Tampa but there might be some in other parts of Marion County. Let’s hope things return to normal soon.

August is also the first serious month of hurricane season. Hurricane season technically starts in June but the ocean water doesn’t really heat up enough until August. Ocala is one of the least likely areas in Florida to get hit by a hurricane but I watch the news and keep track of them any way.

Ocala Real Estate Market Report for June 2015

$10,000 to $100,000 299
$100,001 to $200,000 253
$200,001 to $300,000 53
$300,001 to $500,000 21
$500,000 plus 8
Total residential sales 635
Median Days on Market 99
Average % of Original list vs Sold Price 92.8%
Active Listings 3316

June sales were great considering we are going into the summer months. The market has recovered. We are no longer in a buyers market and have entered a neutral market where neither side has a big advantage. In my work in the 55+ communities I see the inventory of under $100K homes shrinking and prices increasing. My average sale went way up this year from previous years and I attribute it to changes in the market as opposed to something that I’m doing different.  If you’re thinking about buying now is the time. In a year or 2 we will be in a full blown sellers market.

Statistics used for this blog post are from the Ocala Marion County MLS and are deemed to be accurate at the time this blog was written but are not guaranteed. All information is time sensitive and subject to change without notice. Home sales are for Marion County only and do not include FSBO, homes sold by builders or by auction that were not  listed on the MLS, commercial properties or vacant land. Residential sales do include farms, mobile homes and condo’s.

Thunderstorms in Ocala Florida

I heard in the past that central Florida is the lightning capital of the world. I just read that it is actually in Africa. There is a area that stretches from Tampa to the Space Coast that has more lightning strikes than any where in the US. Although Ocala is a little north of that area we get serious thunderstorms and lightning is a real problem.

My personal experience with lightning was 3 or 4 years ago. A huge blast shook my house so much so that I went outside in the pouring rain to look for a hole in the roof. Seeing nothing I went back inside. A short while later I went to the garage and saw the clock for the irrigation system in the middle of the floor. A bolt of lightning hit the ground in the back yard. It got into the wires that lead from the sprinkler clock to the control valves. The electricity followed the wires inside and blew the clock off the wall. Then it traveled into the house wiring and blew up my desktop computer in my home office on the opposite side of the wall. I learned my lesson and now have every electronic device in my house plugged into a high quality surge protector. I also have a surge protector on the electric meter to protect the major appliances.

 

Ocala Florida Real Estate Market Report for May 2015

$10,000 to $100,000 303
$100,001 to $200,000 200
$200,001 to $300,000 48
$300,001 to $500,000 21
$500,000 plus 12
Total residential sales 588
Median Days on Market 105
Average % of Original list vs Sold Price 92.7%
Active Listings 3370

Sales in May were down a little from the 631 closings we had in April but it was still a good month. May is probably the last month where sales can be attributed to snowbird contracts. At least until we get going again in the late fall.

I know I’ve said this before but I may not have said it recently so here it goes. I think the Ocala area is going to have a housing shortage and a sellers market. Building almost stopped after the crash in 07. No one has started a significant new development until this year. That’s 8 years without new homes adding to the inventory in an area that attracts buyers from outside the area.

Statistics used for this blog post are from the Ocala Marion County MLS and are deemed to be accurate at the time this blog was written but are not guaranteed. All information is time sensitive and subject to change without notice. Home sales are for Marion County only and do not include FSBO, homes sold by builders or by auction that were not  listed on the MLS, commercial properties or vacant land. Residential sales do include farms, mobile homes and condo’s.

Buying a Home in Ocala contingent on Selling an Existing Home

Sellers here in the Ocala area will often accept an offer contingent on the successful closing of a buyer’s existing home. The buyers home must be under contract with a reasonable closing time of say 30-60 days. 

Florida real estate contracts have firm performance dead lines. When negotiating a contract the buyer and seller agree on a closing date. In general we expect to close on the agreed on date.

A problem can result if the buyer is from a state without a firm closing date such as New York. In NY for example they close on or about a given date. I have no idea how people can plan their next move or schedule movers or anything that way. On 3 separate occasions I have had buyers from NY who were not able to close on time here in Florida due to some delay with their existing home sale.  

Ocala Florida weather report for June 2015

It has been an unusually warm dry spring at least where I live in SW Ocala. However June is the start of our wet season. There is a little humidity in the air and we’ve had afternoon thunderstorms the last couple of days.

June is also the beginning of hurricane season. Every year I say the same thing. Ocala is one of the safest places in Florida for hurricanes. That’s one of the biggest reasons that I moved here myself. As far as I can determine Ocala has never been hit by a hurricane. In 1968 Gladys passed close to Ocala knocking down a lot of trees. I moved here in 2004 when the remnants of 4 hurricanes with tropical storm winds hit Ocala. There was a huge amount of rain and a lot of downed trees but that was about it. Here in SW Ocala near the 55+ communities I didn’t even lose my power. 

Ocala Real Estate Market Report April 2015

$10,000 to $100,000 318
$100,001 to $200,000 215
$200,001 to $300,000 63
$300,001 to $500,000 25
$500,000 plus 10
Total residential sales 631
Median Days on Market 105
Average % of Original list vs Sold Price 92.3%
Active Listings 3376

It was an excellent month for home sales in Ocala. As I keep saying the buyers market is coming to an end here in Marion County. Inventory has been going down. The median price of homes being sold is going up. 

As a buyers agent I don’t see the same selection as a couple of years ago especially in the lower priced homes. List prices are going up and selection is beginning to go down. Houses in pristine move in condition are in demand. 

Statistics used for this blog post are from the Ocala Marion County MLS and are deemed to be accurate at the time this blog was written but are not guaranteed. All information is time sensitive and subject to change without notice. Home sales are for Marion County only and do not include FSBO, homes sold by builders or by auction that were not  listed on the MLS, commercial properties or vacant land. Residential sales do include farms, mobile homes and condo’s.

When buying a home there are things you can’t change

When I’m showing homes to buyers I like to say there are things you can change and things you can’t change. You can change the paint colors, you can replace the carpet with some other type of flooring and you can even do a kitchen remodel. You can’t change the lot the house is on. A lot of people want a private lot or a home with a view. It’s hard to change the floor plan in a home in Florida. A block home on a concrete slab is harder to expend and some things like plumbing are beneath the concrete. In 55+ communities the homes are too close together to expend the size other than maybe the Lanai in the back. As a buyer you need to set priorities. Get the things that can’t be changed like a great floor plan or a nice view. Don’t get bogged down on paint or carpet they can be changed.

Joe Dallorso
Fontana Realty
7668 SW 60th Avenue #200
Ocala FL 34476
352-598-4340

EMAIL JOE
Ocala FL Weather