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.

Ocala #6 in Best Places to Retire

Ocala sign for historic downtown square

US News and World Reports published a list of the Best Places to retire in 2020-21 and Ocala came in at # 6 out of 150 major metropolitan areas. You will notice out of the top 20 Ocala has the highest housing affordability score.

Link to article

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

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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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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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Indigo East Ocala FL

Indigo East entrance sign

Indigo East

Indigo East is a newer part of On Top of the World communities. It is located just north of SR 200 and is close to shopping restaurants and health care.  Homes in Indigo East are all of concrete block and stucco construction and range in size from around 1200 sq ft of living area to a little over 2,000.  Prices are in the $100-200,000- range with most in the middle. Indigo East has an electronic gate that works on a bar code but not a person in a guard house at the gate. There is a nice clubhouse and pool. HOA fees include maintenance of the common areas, clubhouse, curbside trash pickup. For an additional $750- year per household you can use all the amenities at On Top of the World such as the indoor pool, fitness center and clubs.

Indigo East also has Community Development District bonds that add $483- per year to the taxes and an additional common area maintenance fee that adds an additional $296- year to the taxes. Bonds are for 30 years and the maintenance fee is forever and can go up or down. Great homes for the money despite the CDD bonds and resulting taxes.

Update 3/15 HOA fees are $133- month. Price remain stable. Great prices on newer CBS homes.

Update 3/16 HOA fees are now $136- month. There is also new construction and there is a current promotion where the builder is selling new homes with no CDD bonds. Prices start at only $150 K.

Update 1/18/2017 HOA fees went up to $150.47 month. They are renovating and expanding the clubhouse but I am told that there is still no exercise room.

Update 1/9/2018 They are building a lot of new homes and are adding a new clubhouse with a pool and fitness area. HOA fees went up to $159.87 month.

Update 10/29/18 The new fitness center and 2nd pool are now open. Pictures below.

Up date 1/23/19  HOA fees are now $161.47 month. New homes are selling like crazy in Indigo East. They are about 85% sold out. I have also seen a couple of almost new resales already.

Update 1/07/2020 HOA fees have gone up to $166.31. Indigo is almost built out.

Update 3/4/2021 HOA fees have gone up to $174.07 per month

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

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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 “The Southern states are going to get hit so hard. Florida’s population is going to explode.” 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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