Ocala New Home Buyers Beware

If you are looking at new homes and want to have the help of a Realtor beware ! If you contact a builder to request information be it on the phone or online they will register you as a customer. They do not disclose that they will not pay a real estate commission once they claim you as their customer. Builders do pay real estate commissions but only if the Realtor brings you into the sales office or pre registers you.

A Realtor can be a big help in buying a new home. The builders sales people are employees just like car sales people.

A Realtor can provide the following services.

  1. Show you resales that might exist that are only a couple of years old with upgrades beyond what you get in a new home from the builder.
  2. Show you sold comps to see what new and recent resales sold for.
  3. Realtors can help you select the best community for you. They will tell you the bad as well  the good unlike getting a one sided view from the builders employees.
  4. Help you select a good lot. I often scratch my head and wonder why with all those lots to pick from someone bought the one they did.
  5. Advise on options. Some options are a must and and others are just crazy over priced.
  6. Help find contractors for all those things you end up doing after closing.

Thoughts on building a new home


a street of new homes lined with trucks and a dumpster

This is a follow up to my ongoing series about my building a new house in Del Webb Stone Creek. When you build new you should be prepared to live with construction noise and dust for 6 to 12 months.

New Home in Del Webb Stone Creek Part 5

This is part of my on going series about my experience building a new home in Del Webb Stone Creek for my wife and myself.

We closed on our new home on June 21st. It took just about 5 months from signing the contract until closing. In past blog posts I talked about the construction experience. I plan to continue to blog about my experiences after closing.

One thing that pops up is that we have spent quite a bit of money after closing. We found that we didn’t like some options offered by the builder and elected to take care of them on our own after closing. We didn’t like the window treatments offered and installed Levelor blinds on our own. We didn’t like the pendant light options over the kitchen island either and my wife found ones she liked online. There was no option for ceiling fans so we had to get them ourselves. Pendant lights and fans were about $1600- and window treatments which we installed ourselves were another $1,000-. We found a great retired electrician in the neighborhood to install our lights and fans at a super reasonable price of $30- each. These things add up fast ! We have a nice work area in the garage and cabinets and overhead storage were a quick $1,000-. We got a Lanai with a screen cage extension. For added outdoor space we had a 10 x 24 cement pad poured. The cement pad alone was $1800-. We didn’t use pavers on our Lanai floor because we thought they were crazy expensive, $3600- for a 16 x 16 area. We will probably tile the lanai and new cement pad and it should cost about $3000-. A savings but also an out of pocket expense too. We fenced our yard for our dog $3500-.  My new neighbors have made similar comments about expenses after closing.

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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 part 3

This is part 3 of my experience building a new home in Del Webb Stone Creek.

We met our Field Manager on March 8th. It had been about 6 weeks that felt like a very long time before anything seemed to get going. Then BANG as soon as we were assigned Jacob our field manager things really took off. They installed the underground utilities and poured the concrete slab within 7-10 days. Next a crew came in and put up the block walls. We had to wait for inspection of the walls before proceeding but that didn’t take long. Next framers came in and set the roof trusses and sheathed the roof. It was beginning to look like a house. The interior walls were framed, the AC, electric and plumbing are roughed in, exterior doors and windows installed and the roof has been shingled all as of today April 19. Next week we meet with Jacob for a pre drywall build quality orientation. Up to this point we get weekly reports along with pictures of the weeks accomplishments.

Pictures below for anyone who enjoys construction like I do.

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New Home in Del Webb Stone Creek part 2

This is part 2 of my experience building a new home in Del Webb Stone Creek here in Ocala.

On January 19 we signed our contract. On February 8th we went to the design center to pick out the interior finishes. Almost everything in the house can be upgraded. We decided on all tile floors in every room. Tile on both shower walls. We went with mid level cabinets in the kitchen and baths. We kept the base granite mostly because the upgrades didn’t wow us. We added pull out draws in the kitchen and under cabinets lighting. Although expensive it seemed too hard to do after closing and wouldn’t have come out as professional. We upgraded the base black appliances a couple of levels to stainless Kitchenaid. We had to pick door height 6 or 8 foot, door handle finishes, faucets, cabinet door pulls, even where and how to mount flat screen tv’s. I expected it to be overwhelming but it wasn’t too bad. We are decisive and were in and out in a little over 2 hours. In the end we added $27,000 in options in addition to our lot premium of $18,500.

Nothing else happened until March 7th when we met our Field Manager. Actually he had been busy ordering all the materials for the house and getting the building permit. Building permits take several weeks here.

JB Ranch

JB Ranch Entry Sign

JB Ranch is a new 55+ community located just off SR 200 here in SW Ocala. JB Ranch was started just before the great real estate crash of 2008. There are a mix of 3 builders. Armstrong Homes, a local builder, built a few homes around 08. Lenar built a couple of dozen homes on lots they still owned in 2018 but have finished. The remaining homes are being built by DR Horton. These are really nice homes that are priced to compete with much older resales. Prices are in the high $100’s to low to mid $200’s.

The clubhouse is brand new. There is a meeting room, kitchen and a fitness room with really nice high end equipment. There is 1 outdoor beach entry type pool. Once built out there are expected to be approximately 380 homes.

HOA fees will include trash pick up and lawn mowing and trimming. Unlike other communities that include lawn mowing in the HOA fee JB allows fences. Once the clubhouse is open HOA fees will be $141- month. That is a lot of value for $141 a month.

Information and statistics 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

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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.

I am moving to a 55+ community

When my wife and I first moved to Ocala in 2004 we were only 49. Coming from a log cabin on 12 acres in Maine we made a pretty radical transition and bought a pool home on a 1/2 acre in SW Ocala. We loved the concept of a pool under a big screen cage right off the Lanai.

Fast forward 15 years. We are tired of maintaining our yard and pool. The pool really isn’t that hard but the maintaining the yard which was a sort of gardening hobby is getting old.

Time for a change. I have taken my wife on tours of 55+ communities in the past but we always thought the lots were small, didn’t want to pay HOA fees and weren’t interested in social activities. We decided a home with a view in back was really nice despite homes close on either side. We think the HOA fees are worth it because the curb appeal of the community beats any Not 55+ we can afford and we will utilize some amenities like the dog park and fitness center.

We have never had a new home and that’s a big factor in our move too. We are building a new home in Del Webb Stone Creek. I plan to blog about my new home building experience so people can follow the process in the very near future.

Is it a good time to buy a home in Ocala ?

Prices have gone up a lot since the great real estate crash of 2008 but there is no bubble like back then. There is not an over supply of homes. In fact there is an under supply and we are in a sellers market. There are not enough new homes being built. We need more builders to step up and start new major projects. Right now builders outside of 55+ are just buying lots in established subdivisions instead of breaking ground on new communities. On Top of the World is planning a huge new community that will be both 55+ and Not 55+ later this year. Another reason there is no bubble is that we don’t have the crazy types of loans that are almost guaranteed to fail like we did back in the great recession. Even though prices have gone up Ocala is still lower priced than most of Florida and a lot less than the rest of the country. A bonus is that it never snows here !