The Listing Portal is a Custom Ocala MLS Search

A Listing Portal is a custom search on the Ocala/Marion County MLS that creates an account with an ID and password. A buyer will use my Dream Home Finder to provide the information that I need to set up a search. I sometimes use the Dream Home Finder AS IS and I sometimes need to email the buyer to clarify some issue or to make a recommendation. Once the search is set buyers will get an automatic email when ever a new home, that conforms to their search criteria, gets listed. After setting up the Listing Cart I don’t contact my buyers unless they contact me for more info, want to change their search or are ready to see a home. I once had a Listing Cart set up for a buyer from Chicago and it took him 3 years to close down his business and sell his house. I’m very patient.

I can’t help buyers who don’t give me enough information. Too many people will use my Dream Home Finder and just fill in Single Family and a price range. A search like that will get 1,000 hits, no kidding. I need to your your price range. The sq ft of living area, not including the garage or Lanai. The type of home, single family, 55+, pool home ect. There is also a comment section. This is where you tell me that you want to only want a 55+ community with lower HOA fees. Don’t say low fees give me a number.

Below is a screen shot showing what the Listing Portal looks like. On the top there are 5 Tabs. The first is the List View. Next is the Detail View which shows the home size, age, current taxes, HOA fees everything about the home. Photos are next and there can be as many as 50. Drone shots are becoming popular. The Map tab not only shows the location but there is also a Satellite view that zooms in and out. You can email your listing to someone and you can add other email accounts by contacting me. You can rate a listing and make a comment or a note. You can print a listing. There will be some homes that you just don’t like so there is a delete button. The Portal is a direct link to the Ocala MLS. Everything is up to date. All listing on Zillow or where ever originate here.

Listing Portal

Buying an Ocala retirement home for cash

Most of my buyers are looking for a retirement home and quite a few use money from the sale of an existing home in a more expensive part of the country to buy a home for cash here in Ocala. A lot of people don’t like the idea of not having a mortgage hanging over their heads in their retirement years. What some buyers don’t realize is that there are very few closing costs associated with a cash sale.

All of the big money for closing costs come from getting a loan. It is up to the bank to estimate closing costs associated with their loans. From what I have seen closing costs run between $5-$7K on most loans. The funny thing is closing costs can be crazy high on small loans. I saw a buyer get a $50K loan to suppliment cash he had and the closing costs were 5,000 ! I said that’s 10% !

Title and closing. The seller here pays for title insurance and doc stamps (tax on sale). A title company researches the title and delivers a full warranty deed. The title company handles everything to do with the closing.

HOA fees are pro rated to the day of closing. Some HOA’s have a set up fee and a couple have an HOA contribution fee. Some HOA’s want a month or 2 in advance to get started.

Inspections. Everyone needs a professional home inspection which includes a termite inspection. Many get a wind mitigation certificate for their insurance company which lowers the rate a little. An inspection will run in the $350 +/- range depending on what you inspect.

Survey. Being cash there is no bank that requires a survey. 55+ communities are planned communities. However is you don’t get a survey there will be an exclusion on your title insurance saying that you didn’t provide a survey. Most buyers get a survey but not all do. A survey even on a small lot like in 55+ will be $300 +/-.


Sold comps don’t lie

I was talking to a buyer while giving a tour of a couple of 55+ communities. When asked what people got off the list price I replied that homes sell for about the 96% of list price like you see in my Market Reports. My Market Reports are based on info published monthly by our board of Realtors. She seemed to think there was an odd desperate seller out there ready for a low ball offer. I told her she could make any offer she wanted but it really should be based on sold comps to be taken seriously. In 55+ communities it’s easy to find sold comps from the past 90 days and sold comps in 55+ and most non 55+ stick to that 96% of the list price statistic.

Is Ocala headed for a sellers market ?

When the real estate market crashed in 2007 Ocala was hard hit. Resales went so low new home builders couldn’t compete. No one has started a major new community in almost 10 years. Subdivisions that already existed continued to build sporadically during those years but there were no new major investments. Only in the last year have we seen new investment. Shea homes started a Trilogy community. DR Horton is building in the area including JB Ranch. On Top of the World is building in new areas of Candler Hills and Indigo East. But those are established or revived subdivisions that already existed in some form.

In other parts of the country you buy a home in a town because you got a job there, you grew up there or you have relatives there. Here in Ocala people come here to escape the winters, retire on a budget or to escape the taxes and home owner insurance of southern Florida or some other state. Ocala needs it’s home inventory to constantly increase to keep up with newcomers. To some extent the flow of newcomers slowed when they couldn’t sell an existing home but it never stopped. People retire when it’s time to retire. Based on this I feel Ocala will have a housing shortage and a sellers market in the near future.

How to move long distance …..step one pick a city

The first step in moving long distance is to pick a city. It doesn’t matter what the houses are like if you don’t like the area or the area doesn’t have the things that are important to you. Everyone is different. What is important to me might not even be on the radar for you.

I just spent time with a guy who decided not to buy in Ocala. His reason was that he only ate organic food and there wasn’t enough in the way of organic markets here. A quick internet search or asking me could have saved us both a lot of time.

After a thorough internet search and maybe exchanging emails with someone local like a realtor such as myself you should visit the city. Don’t bother looking at homes just spend a day or 2 traveling around the area. You could hit a few cities in a week or so. Buying a home is a huge investment. You should expect to do a lot of home work. The internet is just a start. There is no substitute for real life in person interaction.

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.

Florida home owners insurance companies rated by size

Is bigger better when securing property insurance?

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 9, 2014 – Florida-owned Citizens Property Insurance retained its lead as the state’s largest residential property insurer in the latest “top 20” numbers released by the Florida Department of Insurance Regulation.

Top 20 personal residential writers in Florida as of Dec. 31, 2012

1. Citizens Property: 1,268,071 policies
2. Universal Property & Casualty: 542,882 policies
3. State Farm Florida: 387,970 policies
4. Security First: 177,589 policies
5. St. Johns Insurance: 175,535 policies
6. Homeowners Choice: 152,446 policies
7. American Integrity: 150,189 policies
8. Florida Peninsula: 139,721 policies
9. USAA: 135,964 policies
10. United Property & Casualty: 117,233 policies
11. Tower Hill Prime: 113,624 policies
12. Castle Key Indemnity (Allstate): 113,344 policies
13. Castle Key Insurance (Allstate): 109,156 policies
14. American Bankers: 104,489 policies
15. ASI Assurance: 101,480 policies
16. Florida Family: 96,190 policies
17. ASI Preferred: 90,340 policies
18. Tower Hill Signature: 77,533 policies
19. Southern Fidelity: 75,124 policies
20. Ark Royal: 74,276 policies

© 2014 Florida Realtors®

Why can’t I sell my house here in Ocala Florida ?

I’m out showing houses all the time. I work almost exclusively as a buyers agent here in Ocala but these thoughts apply to homes any where.

Why can’t I sell my house ? It takes time. You need patience. There is a buyer for every house. The average days on the market here in Ocala is currently 120. If you want a fast sale you have to price your home to sell fast.

Maybe the buyer for your house won’t start looking for another 2 months.

Maybe someone who would have bought your house bought another one a month ago.

Maybe someone who likes your home thinks it is over priced compared to others they see on the internet

Maybe someone who would buy your home thinks it needs too much updating for the price.

Although the market is improving it is still a buyers market. Sellers are competing for the buyers attention. The house in the best condition at the best price always wins.


Ocala Florida sink holes

Sinkholes: An overview from Fla. DEP

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aug. 16, 2013 – Another Florida sinkhole made national headlines when a resort near Disney World broke apart. Because the phenomenon scares most homeowners, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Geological Survey compiled the following information. It provides a single point source for general knowledge about the nature of sinkholes in Florida, along with information on what should be done if a sinkhole happens nearby.

Facts about sinkholes in Florida

• The entire state sits on top of several thousand feet of limestone, which can form with natural void spaces called porosity. In limestone where the void spaces are connected, the rock is permeable. In most ways, this is positive: Porous and permeable limestone makes great aquifers and provides millions of gallons of fresh drinking water for residents and agriculture. However, acidic groundwater can change the limestone, leading to sinkholes.

• Sinkholes form from the collapse of surface sediments into underground voids. In Florida one may see solution sinkholes, cover-subsidence sinkholes or cover-collapse sinkholes. The first two types will show very little topographical disturbance to the naked eye, while the third is the type that shows an abrupt change in topography and the one most people consider when they hear the word “sinkhole.”

Questions about sinkholes

My yard is settling … Do I have a sinkhole?
Maybe. But a number of other factors can cause holes, depressions or subsidence of the ground surface. Expansive clay layers in the earth may shrink upon drying, buried organic material, poorly-compacted soil after excavation work, buried trash or logs and broken pipes all may cause depressions to form at the ground surface. These settling events, when not verified as true sinkholes by professionals, are collectively called “subsidence incidents.”

If the settling affects a dwelling, further testing by a licensed engineer with a licensed geologist on staff or a licensed geology firm may be in order. Property insurance may pay for testing, but in many cases insurance may not cover damage from settling due to causes other than sinkholes.

A sinkhole opened in my neighborhood … should I be concerned?
Although sinkholes in Florida sometimes occur in sets, most are isolated events. The bedrock underlying the state is honeycombed with cavities of varying size, most of which will not collapse in our lifetimes. A quick inspection of your property for any sinking or soft areas might be prudent. Unless the sinkhole is very large and extends to your property, there’s likely to be little reason for concern.

Should a sinkhole open in an area near you, the hole should be immediately cordoned off and clearly marked to protect traffic. Contact local law enforcement to report the hazard and call your city or county road department to initiate repair work. If the road is private, repair of the hole is usually the responsibility of the landowner or property owners’ association.

Is there a safe area of Florida with no chance of sinkholes?
Technically, no. Since carbonate rocks underlie the entire state, sinkholes could theoretically form anywhere. However, there are definite regions where sinkhole risk is considerably higher. In general, areas of the state where limestone is close to surface, or areas with deeper limestone but with certain types of water table elevation or characteristics have increased sinkhole activity.

More information about Florida sinkholes should be developed over the next three years. The Department announced recently that the Florida Geological Survey, in conjunction with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, has received a $1.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address sinkhole vulnerability.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

Dunnellon Florida makes list of Top 15 Retirement Hot Spots for Real Estate Investing

tree on edge of the water

Rainbow River Dunnellon Florida

Realty Trac best known for information on foreclosures has placed Dunnellon Florida on it’s list of 15 retirement hot spots. Not only did Dunnellon make the list it is number one !

Dunnellon is about 30 minutes west of Ocala. It is a very nice town best know for it’s homey rural atmosphere, 2 rivers and close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Now there is only one 55+ community in Dunnellon so Realty Trac is talking about retirement in communities without 55+ deed restrictions.

If you’re interested in Dunnellon real estate call me, email me or use my Dream Home Finder