Punxsutawney Phil 2022


I always found it fascinating and fun to see my favorite little ground hog on the television.  The whole affair of predicting the weather without radar, Doppler and satellites is amusing.  Seeing Punxsutawney’s handlers all dressed up with their suits and top hats has always brought a smile to my face.  I mean, who wants another 6 weeks of winter, right?  All that cold, windy, snowy stuff to deal with is not fun.  Well, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning so there is 6 more weeks of winter for folks in other parts of the country.  The good news (and don’t ruin it for the little ones) is he is only 40% accurate.  I heard he took the first flight to Florida he could today to get out of the cold!

We don’t really worry about 6 more weeks of winter in Central Florida.  We had a freeze for a couple of nights last week and they tell us one of those nights was the coldest in 4 years. It was pretty cold!  However, as it always happens in Florida it warms back up again.  Tomorrow we are going to experience 80 degrees and sunshine!  I have a lunch date with a colleague tomorrow.  I am going to head over in my golf cart because I can.  Talk to you soon!


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.

3 Fla. towns in top 5 for ‘affordable retirement’

SEBRING, Fla. – Sept. 7, 2018 – With 74 million members, baby boomers are the largest generation on record to retire. And if they follow previous generations, retirement will prompt them to move.

Many will head to warmer climates, but they’re also – unlike previous generations – in search of more active lifestyles too, looking for social and recreational opportunities, nearby restaurants and shopping.

“It’s going to be a tsunami when [all] the baby boomers retire,” Ken Gronbauch, a demographer at KGC Direct in Bonita Springs, Fla., told realtor.com. “The Southern states are going to get hit so hard. Florida’s population is going to explode.”

Realtor.com evaluated the 500 largest U.S. metros to find where at least a quarter of the population is 60 years or older and where members of this age group generally relocated to between 2011 and 2015. The areas were then ranked by the total cost to pay down a 15-year mortgage on a median-priced home to identify the most affordable retirement havens.

The five most affordable retirement towns for 2018 include three in the Sunshine State:

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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 Realtor.com Zillow or where ever originate here.

Listing Portal

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.

Low priced Ocala 55+ homes in short supply

Villas in On Top of the World

Villas in On Top of the World

We are now is a sellers market here in Ocala. Just a couple of years ago there were quite a few 55+ homes under $100,000.00. That is no longer the case. Prices have gone up and inventory has gone down. As of this posting January 2018 most 55+ homes under $100K are Villas in On Top of the World. Villas are homes attached in rows of 6-8. The Villas do include exterior maintenance, water and sewer but the $400-+ a month HOA fees are high for some buyers looking for a low priced retirement home. Today there are only maybe a dozen single detached homes in other 55+ communities. They are small around 1000 sqft of living area, 2/2 with a 1 car garage. They do have reasonable HOA fees but you need to hire a lawn guy and pay water and sewer. There are low priced mobile home communities but mobiles in Florida on rented lots are not considered real estate and I can’t sell there.

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.

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Buy a retirement home with no monthly payments

I have to go to real estate classes to get points for my license renewal. A few weeks ago I had a free day and went to a class about how to buy a retirement home using a reverse mortgage. It was more interesting than I expected.

There is an FHA program called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase. With a large down payment, usually around 50%, you can buy a house with no monthly payments as long as you live in the home. There is of course a monthly charge that gradually eats up the 50% or so equity you have in your house but at the same time the house should be appreciating in value to offset that to some degree.

Why would anyone do this ? A lot of people don’t want a mortgage payment for cash flow reasons on a fixed income. Others don’t want all their cash tied up in a house but don’t want mortgage payments either. Some buyers may have a sizable amount of money from the sale of another home say $100K. However a $100K home usually needs a fair amount of work. Using a HECM the buyer could buy a much newer totally move in ready home in the $175-$200K range with no monthly payments.

What are the negatives ? You gradually lose equity in the home. The closing costs are higher than a traditional loan. The interest rate is higher too.

This isn’t for everyone. Consult your financial planner.

Ocala 55+ homes with a view

view looking down Oak Run golf course

All 55+ homes in the Ocala area are on small lots and the homes are close together side by side. Builders do this because retired people don’t want to maintain a big yard and so they can fit as many homes on an acre of land as possible in order to pay for things like clubhouses pools and a golf course.

A lot of buyers can accept a small lot if there is a view or some privacy directly in back that they see while sitting on their Lanai. There are 3 options.

A water view. This would be a very hard to find view of a pond on a golf course. There are no 55+ communities in Marion County on a lake.

A golf course view. There are quite a few homes with a view of the golf course. Builders sell these lots at a premium when new and build communities to maximize golf course lots.

A view of a wooded area. These homes would usually be on the perimeter of the community. An exception is Oak Run which unlike other 55+ was not built with parallel streets. The streets are more laid out in circles allowing more privacy.

Some times you might find some sort of hedge or planting and there are huge open drainage areas that have privacy but are not a real view in my opinion.

Other than golf course frontage I can not search on private back yards. The only way to determine this is by pictures on the MLS and the map feature which often has a birdseye view of the listing

You can only have 1 homestead deduction in Florida

This is an article about a recent court decision where a couple wanted to claim homestead deductions on 2 homes in 2 different states one being here in Florida.

Court upholds homestead exemption restrictions

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – March 30, 2016 – Venice Endsley and her husband, Robert, had what a court described as an “intact, congenial marriage” for more than 60 years.

In the 1980s, Venice Endsley signed over her rights to a home in Huntington, Ind., to her husband. In turn, Robert Endsley signed over his rights to a home in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to his wife. Venice Endsley had a homestead exemption on the Florida home, while her husband received a similar exemption on the Indiana home.

But the Broward County property appraiser learned of the arrangement in 2006, leading to a dispute that resulted Wednesday in an appeals court ruling that Venice Endsley was not entitled to receive the Florida homestead exemption. In doing so, the court waded into questions about whether state law only barred multiple homestead exemptions in Florida – or whether the prohibition also addresses properties in other states.

A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal, pointing to a provision in the Florida Constitution, upheld a decision by a Broward County circuit judge, who found that the Endsleys were a “single family unit and could not claim separate homestead exemptions,” according to last Wednesday’s ruling.

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