rent a house and look to buy

I was showing retirement homes to a single guy from up north, He saw a few homes he liked but friends kept telling him he should look at more cities. They told him to rent a house for a while and take his time looking.

I told him about a couple who rented in On Top of the World for a year. They wanted to be sure they liked it there. After I found them a house I said to the wife that prices had gone up a lot in that year. She agreed and thought it was a good $5-$10,000. In addition she and her husband spent another $1200 a month in rent.

A few things to think about if you think renting and looking is a good idea.

55+ communities restrict rentals most are a minimum of 6 months and landlords prefer a years lease.

Timing can be a problem. What if you find a perfect house in the first month ? Do you wait and hope it doesn’t sell right away ? Do you go for it knowing you will owe the rest of your lease ? Expect to pay a good $1000 a month in rent. Three four or five months rent is a lot if you find a house right away.

I suggested to my buyer that if he wanted to see other areas he’d be better off just driving around and staying in a nice hotel for a few days in each city. It’s cheaper in the long run than getting involved in a 6 month plus lease. He had to admit the 2 days he spent with me looking at communities and homes gave him an excellent idea of what we have here in Ocala for 55+ homes.

A good reason to buy a 55+ resale is the lot

After seeing homes in 55+ retirement communities buyers realize that even though the homes may be on smaller lots close together a private view out the back from the Lanai makes all the difference. Private lots sell for a big premium new and are hard to find. There are resale homes with private lots some with a really nice view in many price ranges.

Del Webb Stone Creek Ocala FL

Del Webb Stone Creek entrance

Del Webb Stone Creek

Del Webb Creek is a 55 plus, gated, golf course community located in SW Ocala.  Stone Creek is a newer community that is still under construction with both new homes and resales available. The homes here are concrete block with stucco and range in size from 1450 to over 2400 sq ft of living area. Prices range from about $170,000- to over $400,000- plus for resales.  In addition to the Stone Creek golf course there is a huge clubhouse with a state of the art fitness center, craft and game rooms, a resort style outdoor swimming pool, an indoor heated lap pool, tennis courts, a softball field and even a fishing pond and dog park.  HOA fees are around $185- per month. Stone Creek is conveniently located just north of SR 200 with easy access to shopping, restaurants and health care. If you are looking at the Villages you really need to look at Stone Creek.

Update 6/14 HOA fees are $183- month. Stone Creek came out with new models in January 2014. This is the 2nd time they changed the models since the originals in 2004 so there are now quite a few floor plans.

Update March 2015 HOA fees are now $188- month. Stone Creek is a very hot market right now. This was one of the only 55+ communities to continue building after the real estate market crash. It is not one of the only sources for newer 55+ homes in the area.

Update 3/16 HOA fees are now $192- month. Homes sell fast in Stone Creek and prices are going up.

Update 12/18/17 HOA fees remain at $198 month for homes without lawn care. There are also a few Villas and smaller Garden Series homes with lawn care. This is a very popular 55+ community with great amenities. Houses sell fast here

Update 1/23/10 HOA fees for Classic and Estate series homes are $198- month and the Garden Series that include lawn care are $307- month

Update 3/4/2021 HOA fees for Classic and Estate series homes are $204- month. Garden Series $326- month. Villas $437- month

If you’re thinking about buying a new or resale home in Stone Creek I can help. Only a Realtor can show you both new and resales. A Realtor will also show you comparable sold properties and help you negotiate your sale. Before you register for a brochure or a tour ask about being represented by a Realtor.

If you would like a list of homes for sale in Stone Creek either email me or use the Ocala Dream Home Finder. I can set you up a Listing Cart on the Ocala MLS for Del Webb Stone Creek homes.

In the interest of full transparency I am building a new home in Stone Creek  this year 2019. I have become somewhat of an expert on new homes in Stone Creek. I know all the options and the entire building process. I am blogging about building new in Stone Creek if you want to follow my progress.

Updated pictures below

Read more

Summerglen Ocala Florida

Summerglen entry sign

Summerglen Ocala Florida

Summerglen is a 55+ retirement community with a very nice golf course just south of Ocala.  All homes are 2004 and newer. Homes in Summerglen are all concrete block with stucco and range in size from a little under 1500 sq ft of living area to a little over 2500 sq ft. HOA fees include maintenance of the common areas, clubhouse and amenities, trash pickup, guard at the gate and lawn mowing but not fertilizing. Summerglen is an active 55+ community with a great clubhouse, heated beach entry pool, fitness center, library, crafts, dog park, softball field, basketball court and a lot more. Two things that Summerglen offers that most other communities don’t have are lawn mowing and free RV parking, both are extra costs elsewhere. Golf is an extra fee. There is also a nice restaurant, Moreno’s Grill located next to the clubhouse. As in any community that has lawn care you cannot fence your yard.

Update 6/14 HOA fees are still at $125- month which includes lawn mowing. The developer has turned over the community to the HOA. I am surprised that they can continue with such low HOA fees.

Update 3/15 HOA fees have increased to $130- month. Still a bargain seeing considering the lawn mowing.

Update 3/16 HOA fees remain at $130- month. The best deal in our area !

Update 1/30/17 HOA fees have increased to $150- month. This still includes lawn mowing and trimming but not pruning, lawn water or fertilizer. You do get a $20- month credit at the restaurant though.

Update 12/2/17 HOA fees are $156- month and still includes lawn mowing and trimming but not pruning, lawn water or fertilizer. You do get a $20- month credit at the restaurant though. Best HOA fee deal in town !

Update 12/10/2018 HOA fees have gone up to $206- month. In addition to mowing and edging the yard you now also get cable TV, Spectrum Bronze Tier 1 and super fast 100 mbps internet. A $20- month voucher to the restaurant is also included. You won’t get more for your HOA $ than Summerglen.

Update 1/20/2020 HOA for 2020 is $252.00 and they no longer offer a monthly voucher for the restaurant.The restaurant on premises is now operated my Turnpike Mike’s and the people seem happy with it..Happy Hour daily etc..The lawn service is also new and they are doing a great job.The Golf Course is in very good shape and that was taken over a couple of months ago..

Update 3/4/2021 HOA fees remain the same at $252- month

If you would like a list of homes for sale in Summerglen fill out my Ocala Dream Home Finder , call me or send an email. I’ll set you up a Listing Cart which is custom MLS search for Summerglen.

Images below.

Read more

Oak Run Ocala Florida

Oak Run entry big rock wall with pond

Oak Run is a large 55 plus community located just off SR 200 in the SW corridor area of Ocala. Construction began in 1985 and was built out in 2007. Oak Run is divided into neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have evolved over a 25 year period and each one has a unique character. The older homes are frame with aluminum or vinyl siding. The newer homes are concrete block and stucco. As time went by the size of the houses grew as buyers expectations increased over that 25 year period. You will find older homes as small as 700 sq ft of living area and newer homes over 3,000 sq ft. Prices as you might expect vary tremendously. HOA fees vary by the neighborhood. In a few areas the homes include lawn care which adds to the fee. In general HOA fees at this time range from $110- to about $150- with homes that have lawn care being  higher at about $230- $250 per month, exact fees vary by neighborhood. Amenities at Oak Run are extensive. They include 3 gates with a guard house, basic cable TV, curbside trash pickup and common area maintenance. There is the Royal Oaks Golf Course, 5 outdoor pools, an indoor pool, a great fitness center that is like joining a gym, a restaurant, numerous clubs, tennis, pickleball, horseshoes, shuffle board ect. Golf is not included in the HOA fee.

Update 3/15 Fees remain stable but I think prices are starting to go up. Oak Run gives you a lot for your HOA $. It is a must see.

Update 3/16 HOA fees are always stable in Oak Run. They do vary by the neighborhood, size and age of the home. Inventory is down and prices are up from last year.

Update 11/9/17 HOA fees seldom go up in Oak Run. They vary by neighborhood which is related to the age of the home and if the house is on a maintained lot or not.

If you would like a list of homes for sale in Oak Run fill out my Dream Home Finder or send me an email. I’ll set you up a Listing Cart for Oak Run. Read more

Ocala 55+ home prices vs The Villages

I often get buyers looking in The Villages contacting me to see what is available further north in Summerfield and Ocala. There are nice alternatives to the Villages in Ocala and Summerfield. I don’t work in The Villages myself but the Ocala Marion county MLS does cover some of it. This morning I was looking at what sold yesterday on our MLS and saw a house in The Villages that sold for $179,500-. It was only 1179 sqft living area, frame with siding and $153 sqft, built in 03. I thought wow that’s crazy expensive and prompted this blog post.

The following are just examples of homes sold in the past 30 days. They may or may not be comparable. They are only intended to provide a rough idea of prices in various communities. When comparing homes of different sizes look at the $/sqft.

The Villages :

2005 1535 sqft block and stucco $246,000 $162 sqft Mallory Square

2006 1602 sqft frame/siding $279,000 $180 sqft Tanglewod

2018 1196 sqft frame/stucco $285,000 $259 sqft Sumter Jacaranda Villas golf view

Ocala and Summerfield:

2017 2017 sqft block and stucco $284,295 $146 sqft Candler Hills Stonebridge  3 baths GC garage

2002 1680 sqft block and stucco $185,000 $113 sqft Ocala Palms golf/water views GC garage

2016 1928 sqft frame/cement board  $257,000 $146 sqft Ocala Preserve at Trilogy

2006 1504 sqft block and stucco $146,500 $100 sqft On Top of the World

2009 2419 sqft block and stucco $374,888 $155 sqft Stone Creek birdcage golf view GC garage

2009 2279 sqft block and stucco $226,500 $101 sqft Summerglen golf course view

2004 1958 sqft block and stucco $240,000 $123 sqft Spruce Creek Country Club

2006 1812 sqft frame and stucco $274,500 $154 sqft Stonecrest birdcage and golf course view

If you’re interested in seeing homes for sale in any of these Ocala or Summerfield communities fill out my Ocala Dream Home Finder and I’ll set you up a search and Listing Portal.

Ocala Palms Golf Course Community

Ocala Palms entry sign

Ocala Palms

Ocala Palms is a golf course community located in the NW part of Ocala Florida.  Ocala Palms is a 55+ community. There are a few frame and vinyl homes but most are concrete block and stucco here.  Home prices and sizes vary a lot. The size can range from 1,000 sq ft of living area up to almost 3,000. Ocala Palms has a lot of homes with golf course frontage and a fair number of hard to find 55+ pool homes. HOA fees include the club house, outdoor and indoor pools, tennis, a 24 hour guard at the gate, common area maintenance, curb side trash pickup but not golf. Ocala Palms is a golf cart community meaning you can drive your cart down the road but you can’t make it to any shopping. The HOA is for social activities. The clubhouse, golf course and common areas are not owned by the residents which is not unusual in this area.

4/2015 HOA fees are $185- month. They include the guard at the gate, trash pick up, and use of the amenities, Golf is not included and is extra. There is also an extra $20- monthly fee for cable TV which is mandatory.

Update 3/16 HOA fees are $197- month plus the mandatory cable TV fee. Sales have really picked up over last year.

Update 1/20/2018 HOA fees remain the same at $198 month plus $20 cable tv.

Update 1/23/19 HOA fees are now $205- month.

Update 3/4/2021 HOA fees are now $217- month.

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

Read more

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.

Spruce Creek Preserve Dunnellon FL

Spruce Creek Preserve entry sign

Spruce Creek Preserve

Spruce Creek Preserve is just off SR 200 in Dunnellon Fl. This is a great location because it is just a short drive to restaurants, shopping and health care in the SW 200 corridor area. Spruce Creek Preserve is a gated, 55+, golf course community.  Houses in Spruce Creek Preserve are frame with stucco or frame with vinyl siding. Homes here can range from 1,000 sq ft of living area to over 2,000 with most being in the middle. HOA fees of around $120- per month which includes the guard at the gate, clubhouse, common area maintenance, curbside trash pickup and basic cable TV. Golf is not included in the HOA fees. Spruce Creek Preserve is a very nice community that shows pride of ownership

Update 3/16 HOA fees are $121- month. Fees are very stable here and it seems like a well run association

Update 1/20/18 HOA fees are $124 month. A great deal.

Update 1/23/19 HOA fees went up to $127- month. A great value still.

Update 3/2/2020 HOA fees went up to $127- month. A great value still.

If you would like a list of homes for sale in Spruce Creek Preserve fill out my Ocala Dream Home Finder, call me or send me an email. I can set you up a Listing Cart on the Ocala Marion County MLS for Spruce Creek Preserve.

Read more

Trilogy Ocala Preserve

large paver area with furniture looking out to a small pond

View of Reflection Lake from Lakeview Veranda

Ocala Preserve is a new Trilogy community developed by Shea homes. It is located on SR 27 in the NW horse farm area of Marion County just a couple of miles west of I 75. There may from time to time be a couple of resales but most homes here are new. The HOA fees are currently $395- month but cover a lot. There is outside maintenance including mowing, pruning, lawn care and water for the lawn. You pay for water you use in the house. Trash is not included and is $17- month extra. You also get cable tv the Centurylink Prism Essentials package but a DVR is extra. A blazing fast 100 mg internet is also included in the HOA fee. There is a fitness center with Technogym equipment which can interact with an app on your smartphone. The clubhouse called the Oak House has a restaurant, a special kitchen for cooking classes and private dining area. There is an outdoor heated resort type pool and a lap pool but no indoor pool. There is also a golf course designed by Tom Lehman, The Club at Ocala Preserve. Trilogy at the Ocala Preserve delivers a definite resort feel popular in newer 55+ communities. Of special interest to those who are not 55+ yet is a section of the community that is not age restricted. In addition to all of the above there is a dog park, extensive walking and biking trails, Reflection Lake where you can fish or kayak, pickleball courts, tennis, and a large green area called Reunion Park. The community is gated with a real life person at the gate.

Update June 1 2018 HOA fee is now $415- Month

Update 3/2/2020 HOA fee is now $430- Month

If you are interested in new homes at Ocala Preserve call me, email me or use my Ocala Dream Home Finder. I can show you new homes at Trilogy, competing Ocala 55+ communities and newer resales to help you make the best decision for your move.

Read more