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I'm a 33y/o divorced (single) male w/ no kids. I have an Excellent job witch will be relocating me to Ocala around June. Im from Chicago so it will be a huge change on night life and things to do.....any suggestions?!?
Im also looking for nice areas to look for housing in ( as a single ) to buy not rent....I travel weekly, home only two days per week so a safe area.
I have seen on a one day quick trip bounce and back a couple nice bar and grills and the ocala golf club witch I plan to join. I am not really big into horses so...
An area you might find of interest is Fore Ranch. There are sections w/ single family homes and others with town homes/condominiums. There are many homes available for sale. The community is less than 10 years old and there are some fantastic opportunities.
I'd suggest you look at Gainesville. If you get a chance, visit both cities and see which you like. Gainesville might be more fun for you. The Ocala economy is not great and it just seems to lack the vitality Gainesville has. There's just more to do in Gainesville.
Ocala is lovely & pretty quiet in our neighborhoods - if you live in a nice one. The night life has increased here, in downtown Ocala, from what it was years ago. Nice restaurants & little pubs with live music. Check the real estate taxes in Gainesville before considering. It IS a college town (UF), so it's bustling with students, more traffic. Ocala has easy access to Ormond & Daytona Beach Shores (55 miles East). If you snorkel or swim, we also have natural fresh water springs in Marion County. So, there's a lot to consider. Happy moving!
If you're only going to be in Ocala 2 days a week, you might actually like it.. It's really laid back, like the above poster said a couple of decent clubs and bars, and depending on where you are in Ocala you could easily make trips to The Villages & go to Lake Sumter Landing or the old square (12 yrs here and i forgot the name lmao) with live music, dancing, etc- Alot of people ranging between 30s and retirees. Day trips to Daytona are possible but as a single guy you'd probably want to just get a hotel and stay so you can enjoy the night life..
This is going to be VERY different than Chicago but...there are some positives depending on how you look at it. You'll get a lot for your money and if you buy in a good area you can get a really good deal on the property because of all the foreclosures since 2007. As far as excitement...even with the few places in Ocala for entertainment this will not even be close to what you have in Chicago. There are some nice bistros and a younger rock place called the OEC; as it has been said Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville is close for more excitement and with the money you'll save you s/b able to stay at some nice places and have fun. You'll have safety, good quality living...so when you are bored I'd encourage you to be grateful of all the good points in the area. I would suggest staying away from Hwy 27-40 between 75 to 301. I am a Floridian, left for 20 years and saw my first snow in Chicago but couldn't wait to get back. Florida has so many cultures, personalities and natural beauty! Hope you enjoy it and....you'll have to check out the Rainbow River in Dunellon and the Nature Coast (Crystal River to Homosassa) for the springs. Clearwater Beach will be wonderful for Beach life (check out Frenchy's on CLW beach). Hope you enjoy your new adventure!
The Bad - retirees galore!! The Villages is not for you! And (I don't care what people say) next to no entertainment. My husband was in a rock band for many years. They played just about everything, Southern Rock, Classic Rock, and Alternative Rock. They would never play in Ocala because it sucked so bad. (Hey, it's just my opinion - we're all allowed) NO NO NO good eateries unless Ruby Tuesday is upscale in your opinion.
The Ugly - Not an area I'd ever live in. If someone gave me a free home I would sell it and live somewhere else...lol...
Summary: Ocala is NOT the place for you. Ocala is for families that like summer trips to Silver Springs/Wild Waters park. How do I know this? I lived in Gainesville for 16 years, commuted to Ocala for work for 8 years and had 1 friend that was married who lived in Ocala for 10 years. She moved to Gainesville for the last 7 years and can't believe how blind she was before she moved. I have never been able to find too many good things about Ocala and I'm not trying to be mean to people that live there. I understand they like peace and quiet and more rural living, but it's just not for you. My brother-in-law lived there for 3 years as the manager of a restaurant. He too was single and he too is such a wonderful golfer that he was a sponsored amateur (originally from Cleveland). He was tired of golfing with the elderly in Ocala (where retirement living truly begins) and switched to billiards, which was his only source of decent entertainment in that area. When I asked how he met women he said he didn't. The girls he met were either hillbillies or alcoholics in bars (because he's not a church goer). He was transferred to Tallahassee and is hoping to get transferred out of Florida all together now. Gainesville has Haile Plantation which a an upscale golfing community and it's not full of retirees, you'd find quite a diverse age range to pal around on the course with. There's also two other popular ones, Meadowbrook and Gainesville Country Club. Like I said, more your age and men your age would be able to introduce you to some "friends". ; )
You're from Chicago, used to travelling, how far of a commute is okay with you? If a 45 minute good commute is okay then move to Gainesville. Gainesville is surprisingly diverse. Depending on where you work in Ocala you can take Hwy 441, which is a dream to travel on, or I-75. Restaurants, fine dining, specialty eateries, lots of shopping available - you don't have to go to another city for anything, upscale housing available without having to buy 5 acres for horses, young women, and during college season... some pretty fun bars. UF football games, but yet quiet.
If 1 hour/20 minutes isn't too far then I would definitely live in the Orlando area. You'd never ever ever be bored. Life would be very exciting and you will always have a good concert to go to or show, comedy show and of course all the fine dining money could buy, not to mention the airport would be close at hand. Gainesville airport fares are about $150 more expensive than MCO.
If you choose Gainesville I'll be happy to tell you all the good neighborhoods to buy in based on how much you want to spend. As others have posted, Florida was hit so hard in the real estate crunch it has yet to recover. Quite frankly, in Gainesville there are so many houses to rent for less than your mortgage would be that I would take that option right now. It's the same in Ocala but fewer houses on the market for rent there because it's a smaller community. It's not worth buying plus paying the property taxes in Gainesville and then home owners insurance if you think you won't live there for the rest of your life. Nice homes/ condos are available everywhere. I know some great agents.
Good luck with your options. I hope you fare well and by all means let me know if you go to Gainesville and I will tell you where the best places are to eat, the local stuff. : )
I would take a ride out on State Rd. 200 SW of Ocala between 66th St. down to the Citrus/Marion County line. I don't know the names of the communities (most are gated) but they look nice and safe. There's a Lowes and a Walmart and several nice eating and shopping places further North of 66th St.
Some of the 55+ communities off of Hwy 200 are On Top of the World, Pine Rune, Oak Run, Spruce Creek Reserve, Stone Creek to name a few. Despite what was previously said, the Ocala area is nice and many of the Hwy 200 communities are well designed and planned. These communities have clubhouse facilities and limited access to non-residents.
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