Christmas Is Over!

Christmas in Florida

Christmas is Over!

I have a confession to make.  I knew when we booked our cruise for the end of November 2021 that it was going to cut into the Christmas season and therefore, I made an agreement with my husband that there would be no need to decorate our home – much to his relief!  However, when we got on our cruise on the day after Thanksgiving, the ship was not decorated for the holidays – not until the cruise after ours (what the what?).  We had a great time in our suite and on ship for 7 days.  What was not to like about having lots of room, a double balcony and even a bathtub in our cabin? We arrived home and I felt a little sad about not having decorations to enjoy.

I have been busy with Real Estate, my husband has been busy with being an over the road truck driver – but I ached for Christmas in our home!  So, as wonderful husbands do, George got all the stuff out of storage to decorate our house:  The 9 ft tree, the Thomas Kincade Santa ornaments, the nick knacks, all of it.  Friends told me, “Don’t worry about it!  Decorations can stay up until January 6th!”  I liked this way of thinking, buying more time and all!  Now, fast forward a little and we accepted the opportunity to go to Destin for a long weekend right after the New Year.  No problem, I was able to work from the car, the time share or from anywhere at any time – and I did!  The problem is when we got back it was January 10th and my tree was still up!  Dang it!!  I will have it put away this week, but I really love the holidays here in Florida – when the weather is 80+ degrees and sunny!  There is so much to do like golf carting, walking, biking, pickle balling, golfing, quilting, railroad making, Veteran fellowshipping, swimming, working out, taking classes and/or field trips and so much more – nothing but a smile and a kind heart is required (and maybe a nice pair of shorts).  So here is the picture I wish to remember during this past holiday season.  I had waited so long to get poinsettias that all I could find were these little ones but that is OK because on this January 10th, they still look good after a little water.  I am going to give them to some friends and neighbors starting with my next-door neighbor.  The wonderful thing about living in a great 55+ community is helping others to smile…  Are you ready to enjoy people again?  Give me a call.

Buying a house in Ocala in 2021

It’s getting harder and harder to buy a house in Ocala. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of months now and the following are random thoughts.

Unless you live in Ocala or within reasonable driving distance you’re screwed. No one will hold a house while you jump on a plane and come down here. You can’t even trust that a home that looks active doesn’t already have an offer.

I don’t see the market changing anytime soon. This is pure supply and demand. There is also a catch 22 thing where people are afraid to sell even at high prices because they don’t know where to go next.

If you are out of state and absolutely want to move there are a couple of things you can do.

  1. You could make an offer on a house sight unseen. Yes people actually do that but it’s highly dependent on your personality.
  2. You could sell your existing home. Store you furniture or sell everything but very important and personal items. You could then try and find some sort of rental which is very difficult or stay on a hotel for a month or two. I have heard there are rentals in The Villages in the summer off season. Some people have relatives to stay with or a few lucky ones might have an RV.

I did an informal survey of the community I live in, Stone Creek. A few homes are selling below list price but most are selling at or above list price. There were a lot of cash sales but sellers are still taking offers where the buyer is getting financing. I can’t tell if sellers are taking a contingency on the sale of an existing home or not.

New Del Webb homes are cheaper in Ocala

As you may know I built a new home in 2019 in Del Webb Stone Creek here in Ocala. I always liked to sell homes here but since moving I’ve had a lot more buyer business in my community.

The other day I was showing new homes to a buyer with my sales contact Allen. We were talking and he said how much more expensive the same model was in other Del Webb communities in Florida.

That got me to thinking and I did a simple search. Del Webb Mystique model. Here in Stone Creek the base model and that’s the price they always show was $264,990-. Sure enough I didn’t see another Del Webb and I looked at like 6 communities with a Mystique base under $300K.

That’s why buyers come to Ocala. Inexpensive homes. A lower chance of hurricanes. A quiet and peaceful lifestyle.

Buying a house online in the age of the Coronavirus

In this weird new Corona world I’ve been reading that people are shopping for and buying real estate sight unseen online. I’m not a big advocate of sight unseen but as it so happens I’ve sold several such properties. Being experienced in this area I thought I’d do a blog post describing how I’ve done this type of sale in the past.

  1. I send you listings or you contact me out of the blue with a home you’ve already found online.
  2. I will go over to the house and look it over. As you know the list agent takes pictures and writes a description putting the house in the best light and minimizing any negatives. I go and take pictures of anything I see as a negative for you the buyer. I have also in the past made short cell phone walk through videos.
  3. My looking at the home should not be confused with an inspection. I am not there to find structural, electrical, plumbing problems ect. You would hire a home inspector for that. I am just looking for things you cannot see online.. I can look for permits that may show the age of the roof and AC though.
  4. You can make an offer long distance by electronically signing a Florida purchase and sale agreement. This is pretty easy as long as you have minimal computer skills.
  5. Once the offer is negotiated you have a contract and can schedule an inspection. I go to all inspections so just in case there is an issue I can see it in person. The inspector will email a very detailed report to you and will be available to answer questions via cell phone. A lot of buyers who see the house in person go home and we do the inspection much like this.
  6. We do long distance closings here all the time. A title company will be selected by the seller. The seller pays for a title search and gives you a full warranty deed. The seller also pays for Doc Stamps (a tax ) and Realtor fees. If you are a cash buyer there are very few closing costs, inspections, survey and register the deed. HOA fees and taxes are pro rated. If you get a loan there are a lot of closing costs and they are all from with your lender. The title company will either mail or email closing documents and you will have to send them back by over night mail.
  7. I go to all closings. I will get the keys to your house and either hold onto them until you get here or mail them to you.

Garden Series Home for sale Del Webb Stone Creek

Garden Series home in Stone Creek

Garden Series home in Stone Creek

View of pasture land from your Lanai

View from your Lanai








It’s all about the view. This is a 2018 Garden Series home for sale in Del Webb Stone Creek. The Garden Series feature lawn mowing and trimming, fertilizing and lawn insect control, shrub care and lawn water included in the $318- month HOA fee. This home has tile floors in the main living area, a great upgraded kitchen with stainless appliances and granite. It is 2 bedrooms and an office with 1447 sqft under air. Perfect if you want to down size or be a snowbird. Sellers were planning on a snowbird lifestyle but love Stone Creek so much they plan to make it their full time residence and want to build a larger home on a lot with the same view. Homes in Stone Creek or any 55+ with a view like this are hard to find.  $224,560.00 Great Deal. Available for immediate occupancy. SOLD

More pictures…. Read more

Dogs in Ocala Retirement Communities

I am often asked is if a specific 55+ community is dog friendly. All the retirement communities in the Ocala area allow dogs. The wording of the deed restrictions vary but all allow at least 2 “common household pets”. That means dogs or cats and not your pot belly pig I guess.  I don’t know of any community that restricts breeds but your dog should be friendly and happy. One thing that might make one community more dog friendly than another is if you can fence your yard. Some communities have dog parks others don’t.

New Home in Del Webb Stone Creek Part 4

This is part 4 of my experience building a new home in Del Webb Stone Creek

Today is June 11. This is my busy season and I am behind on my blog posting. To bring you up to date a lot has happened at my house in Stone Creek since my last post on April 19. On April 22 we went to our pre drywall inspection with our field manager Jacob. He went over how the inside walls are framed, the roof truss system, plumbing and electric both of which are beneath the slab, insulation and pest treatment on the interior wood framing. Once the drywall was in things really took off. Between April 22 and today June 11 they finished my house. I have posted pictures below roughly showing the sequence of events. As of today my house is pretty much finished. My field manager started his pre closing inspection this Monday. I have to admit he has a list of things that sub contractors have to fix that I may not have noticed on my own. After the field manager a woman from customer support does another inspection looking for anything that was missed by Jacob the field manager. I am happy. The whole process has been pretty straight forward with minimal stress on my wife and myself. On June 18 we go to our celebration meeting which is more of a pre closing walk trough and orientation about features of the house. This is not the end of my blogging about my new home building experience. Stay tuned.

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New Home in Del Webb Stone Creek

This is the first part of a series of posts about my wife and I building a new home in Del Webb Stone Creek. Much of this could apply to other new homes in other communities except of course spec homes.

Mid January 2019. We made our decision to build a new house in Stone Creek. We put down $20,000 to get started. The first step was to decide on a lot. Lots with no or little lot premium backed up to other homes or have a planting separating the homes. We decided on a home that looks out onto the Circle Square Cattle ranch that is owned by the family that builds On Top of the World. The lot premium was $18,500-. The next decisions involved structural components of the house.  We wanted an office with french doors, on the lanai we wanted the slider to close into a pocket and the Lanai to extend 8 feet into a screen cage. I have always loved a Roman shower so we got one. We decided against extending the garage 4 feet because it pushed the house back and we wanted as much yard as possible for our puppy Ginger. One of the bigger decisions was the elevation. The elevation is the front of the house and roof line. There were 6 options for the same floor plan that make the front of the house look totally different. Each having a different price.

A big take away is that in building any new home you can see a base price online. That is really base like a car with an AM radio and roll up windows if you remember back that far. I have heard different numbers but adding $40,000 + or 20% seems to be a good rule of thumb.

In my next post I’ll go over the time line and our visit to the design center.

Candler Hills Ocala Florida

Candler Hills Entry Sign

Candler Hills Sign

Candler Hills is an active 55+ golf course community located in SW Ocala. Candler Hills is a newer part of the On Top of the World Communities. The homes here are of concrete block and stucco construction and built within the last few years. There are new homes for sale and quite a few resales. HOA fees include a 24 hour guard at the gate, common area maintenance, curb side trash pickup, access to On Top of the World amenities, discount golf fees and the exclusive Candler Hills clubhouse and heated outdoor pool. Candler Hills is a golf cart community meaning you can drive your cart down the road. As a matter of fact you could drive all the way to a super market if you were so inclined. You are not allowed to finance more than 80% of the purchase price of a home here. Candler Hills has very high quality and very energy efficient newer home. Candler Hills unlike OTOTW itself is a fee simple community meaning you own the land. There are Community Development District bonds attached to most of the resale homes which add approximately $900- year to your taxes.

Update 3/24/15 HOA fees are currently $229- month. I think resale homes in Candler Hills are a bargain at the present time.

Update HOA fees are $233- month. I still think that resales are a bargain in Candler Hills. These are the best built 55+ homes in our area in my opinion.

Update 1/18/2017 HOA fees have increased to $257.30 per month. I am told there is a very impressive Candler Hills clubhouse under construction. I will update and add pictures when available.

Update 1/4/2018 There is a lot of new home building in Candler West. A new clubhouse and pool have also been added see pictures below. HOA fees went up to $271.44 month.

Update 1/23/19 HOA fees are now $276.24 month and include access to all the amenities in OTOW as well as the Candler Hills Lodge.

Update 1/07/2020 HOA fees have gone up to $282.36

Update 3/4/2021 HOA fees have gone up to $289.56 a month

If you would like a list of homes for sale in Candler Hills fill out my Ocala Dream Home Finder, call me or send an email. I will set you up a Listing Cart on the Ocala MLS for Candler Hills.

Pictures below

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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