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Old 12-22-2017, 09:05 PM
 
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Forgive me if I have misstepped, this is my first time on this site. I am visiting Ocala in the next 30 days to assess The Villages, Stone Creek, & OTOW. Iíve seen some very old posts regarding these communities, but wondered if I could get some updated, recent information from anyone who lives in these areas on things you wish you knew before you purchased or highlights regarding your satisfaction w the area. I greatly appreciate any information you can give me. I am not from Florida & there is only so much internet research I can do. Thanks much and happy holidays!
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:32 AM
 
4,506 posts, read 4,360,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmillz212 View Post
Forgive me if I have misstepped, this is my first time on this site. I am visiting Ocala in the next 30 days to assess The Villages, Stone Creek, & OTOW. Iíve seen some very old posts regarding these communities, but wondered if I could get some updated, recent information from anyone who lives in these areas on things you wish you knew before you purchased or highlights regarding your satisfaction w the area. I greatly appreciate any information you can give me. I am not from Florida & there is only so much internet research I can do. Thanks much and happy holidays!
You haven't misstepped at all. I'm not the most knowledgeable person on this subject, as I've only been here for a few months and I've never lived in any of the communities you've mentioned, but I wanted to respond to at least keep this thread up there until some of the other folks get around to posting. This being the holiday weekend, responses may be spotty until folks get back to their normal routines.

We have two posters here who can tell you about OTOW, one has resided there for a while and another spent a year there and moved. Both can give you points of view pro and con. I haven't seen any Stone Creek info other than the recent poster who checked it out, found the residents to be stand-offish and moved to another community.

I haven't seen anything recent on the Villages. Of the three communities, it's the largest and most established and has reached legendary status in Florida as a 55+ community with both pros and cons. As I understand it, the biggest pro is that it is largely self-contained in terms of services and shopping, which means that people with limited mobility can stay in the community and get what they need and not contend with traffic outside the community.

Here's an article on The Villages written back in 2014 that has the good, the bad and the ugly:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/likethebrea...VK#.lc1NX0Gqex

OTOW and Stone Creek are located on the southwest sector of Ocala/Marion county and have egress/ingress on Rte 200. I am not a fan of the 200 corridor, it can be confusing and have some very heavy traffic, and with all the 55+ communities that line the corridor, it can be tough to navigate, at least from my point of view. However, 200 has just about every convenience and shopping you would need, so there's that. I guess once you get to know the back roads, it's better. My understanding is that OTOW is doing what it can to provide alternate access to some of the shopping plazas along 200 for its residents, including golf cart access.

My best advice to people is to RENT for a year if you can and get to know the area and find the right community for yourself. One of the posters here did exactly that, rented for a year in OTOW, found that it wasn't for her and moved elsewhere. I think the fees are pretty high in all these communities, but I know OTOW is pretty comprehensive in what it offers for those fees. I can't speak for the Villages and Stone Creek.

I will say one thing, the longer I'm here in the area, the better I like it and I'm very happy I moved here.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:42 AM
 
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Oh, also, there's a RE agent who has put together a VERY comprehensive website on all the 55+ communities in the Ocala area, and he keeps it updated and answers questions on his blog. It is a work of art and a labor of love. Unfortunately, I can't provide a link here in the this forum because it would be considered real estate advertising (I have no connection to the guy, I just think he's done a really good job.) DM me if you want the info. It makes for fascinating reading.

He's got just about everything on there: size of the community, types of construction, fees, amenities, etc. However, he doesn't get into The Villages too much, it's mostly the Ocala area communities. Good luck!
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Old 12-23-2017, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Florida
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I would recommend OTOW.
Be sure to meet with a sales person at each community. They can be helpful.
This site can give you some insight, but remember only a minority of people post. https://www.talkofthevillages.com/forums/
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:32 PM
 
4,506 posts, read 4,360,020 times
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Originally Posted by rjm1cc View Post
I would recommend OTOW.
Be sure to meet with a sales person at each community. They can be helpful.
This site can give you some insight, but remember only a minority of people post. https://www.talkofthevillages.com/forums/
I didn't even know that forum existed, thanks for posting. I must say, OTOW really has some beautiful landscaping and lovely roads, and it has some class.
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Old 12-24-2017, 10:58 AM
 
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Thanks for all the great information & additional links to review! Happy Holidays!
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Old 12-26-2017, 04:41 PM
 
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Dear Jmillz,
You're doing the right thing by asking questions and trying to get a feel for a new community. There's nothing as good as street intel, though, so if you're able to come down and stay for about a week to scope out a rental, I'd advise doing that.

I rented in OTOW for a year. There's a lot to like about it- the feeling of security (though no actual security; anyone can walk in. The gate guards only screen car traffic.). The mature landscaping in the front of the community is quite lovely, and that was a big plus for me. IF I'd decided to buy there I definitely would have chosen one of the villa areas, not a single family.

Cost was definitely a factor in my decision, plus its relative isolation. It's at the far southwest of the county, and SR 200 is only going to get more and more built up and ugly and busy. Yes, there's a "back way" out on 80th north out to SR 40, but eventually that will get built up too.

The basic HOA fee is over $400 a month! Now, that pays for a lot of amenities, but I'm not at the stage of live where I'd be taking advantage of them. For the villas where I was looking, the HOA included water and outside maintenance, so you're basically paying $200 for the amenities unless you're willing to do your own lawn. (I am not that person ).

There are rentals there, but they go fast.

The only other n'hood I know much about is Oak Run. Farther southwest down 200, completely built out with the older houses there starting to show their age. Much lower HOA fees, starting at $139 I think. Fewer clubs, activities than OTOW but how much can you do in one day? Actually more secure than OTOW because it is completely fenced and has a service entrance, which keeps that traffic down to one place. (At OTOW, they all come in on 94th Ave and start lining up before 7AM.)

Good luck with your search and your move! HOpe this is helpful!
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:00 PM
 
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Beatkay- thank you so much for your informative response! You said you rented in OTOW for a year .... did you end up purchasing elsewhere? I’m also really considering Stone Creek if you happen to have any thoughts on that.
I am actually coming to Ocala for a number of days to stay in the town & check out all 3 communities. My son went to college in Tampa & now lives there, but other than that, I don’t know a lot about living in FL. However, the more I considered Ocala as the town to live in, the more I liked that decision due to the Central location & ease of getting to both the east & west coast of the state & Orlando. I was originally looking at a Del Webb community in Sarasota, but when I compared prices on the exact same home, it was almost $100,000 less expensive in Ocala. I’ve heard good things about the area so that made my decision easy.��

I’ve also never lived in a place such as these 55+ Communities, so I’m excited to check them out too.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to write to me & I hope you are having a happy holiday season. — J
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:30 PM
 
4,506 posts, read 4,360,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmillz212 View Post
Beatkay- thank you so much for your informative response! You said you rented in OTOW for a year .... did you end up purchasing elsewhere? Iím also really considering Stone Creek if you happen to have any thoughts on that.
I am actually coming to Ocala for a number of days to stay in the town & check out all 3 communities. My son went to college in Tampa & now lives there, but other than that, I donít know a lot about living in FL. However, the more I considered Ocala as the town to live in, the more I liked that decision due to the Central location & ease of getting to both the east & west coast of the state & Orlando. I was originally looking at a Del Webb community in Sarasota, but when I compared prices on the exact same home, it was almost $100,000 less expensive in Ocala. Iíve heard good things about the area so that made my decision easy.��

Iíve also never lived in a place such as these 55+ Communities, so Iím excited to check them out too.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to write to me & I hope you are having a happy holiday season. ó J
If you want to live in a 55+, but closer to your son, there is Sun City Center and Kings' Point in south Hillsborough County. You can look up the threads on those communities in the Tampa forum. Whereas there's over 22 55+ communities in the Ocala area, in Hillsborough County there's only those two, that I know of. They're not bad, but the surrounding areas are rough.

You might want to check out a couple of the 55+ communities north of the Villages off 441: Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf & Country Club and Stonecrest.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:50 PM
 
508 posts, read 819,913 times
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You might also want to consider Trilogy by Shea Homes in Northwest Ocala off of I-75 and US 27. I've heard a lot of good things about them. It's a far more central location to Ocala, shopping, the mall, I75, Ocala General Hospital. Also closer to Gainesville if you need serious medical at Shands at the University of Florida.

The reviews for The Villages hospital are TERRIBLE as they are owned by the developer. Google it. The medical situation is largely ignored by people buying but it's critically important as you age.
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