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Old 05-28-2009, 01:01 PM
 
20 posts, read 44,107 times
Reputation: 22
Question Lakewood Ranch - too good to be true?

Seen LR posts, but still can't get handle on true cost to live there. The "tour & talk" is polished with the "luxury for less" bargain homes, free access to amenities & 1 yr pd gold golf membership, etc. But I've lived in S. Tampa 15 yrs, & know about tax mil rates, HOA dues; CDD fees; special assessments; homeowners & Hurricane insurance, etc.

This is what I took away:

Property tax mil rate would be 1.5-1.7 max with no other line assessments.

No Homeowners Ins needed or required by lender

No Hurricane Ins. needed or required by lender

No Flood (get that)

Mortgage ez to acquire w/only 10% down

CDD fees stable despite large # of foreclosures.

Merchants rent helps pay for upkeep.

So...2200sqft home w/1yr gold golf membership, etc taxes would cost $1100 per yr or less & HOA's etc $1500 yr

Sounds too good to be true






.
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: sittin happy in the sun :-)
2,568 posts, read 2,808,309 times
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there's an old saying.
If it looks too good to be true....it probably is !
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:31 PM
 
20 posts, read 44,107 times
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Yup.. they really put on the car polish.
Hope someone can give me nuts & bolts.

Also "You get what you pay for" property taxes in FL are higher, b/c there's no State Income Tax & lots of new infrastructure, etc. In the past 15 yrs, where I live there are new roads, new schools & loads of new places all accessible & clean. Many folks forget that.

But LR is being pushed as the best place on earth!
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:46 PM
 
Location: fla
1,512 posts, read 1,883,718 times
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lived in lakewood ranch as a home renter---the area is wonderful,but as to the other perks--check them out with a realtor NOT pushing property there-----

manatee county regulates some of the impacts(financial) on that area--get a look at their future plans for the area and what taxes they apply to the developments--each section of lwr is different as to homeowners perks and responsibilities
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:42 PM
 
20 posts, read 44,107 times
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Sounds like being a renter was right on...

Did you like it? People didn't seem very "friendly", fine with me as I like privacy, not a team of "Mrs Kravitz's" snooping around. (hope you get the reference)

I'll def. ck with the county as you suggested.

Live in Tampa & know the drill for pushing communities, seen loads of them go up in last 15 yrs that now have their own zip code. They always turn into "just another town".

LWR reminded me of how Sun City Center started, only with a mixed age group.

I have a HOA in an older neighborhood (not gated) just enough "police" to keep it nice & fees of couple hundred/yr to cover reserves, insurance & ground upkeep.

Don't want to pay for amenities I don't use, am very leary of CDD's & the impact fees from the county might be steep.

Any other advise is certainly welcome..
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
6,715 posts, read 12,212,972 times
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Seen LR posts, but still can't get handle on true cost to live there. The "tour & talk" is polished with the "luxury for less" bargain homes, free access to amenities & 1 yr pd gold golf membership, etc. But I've lived in S. Tampa 15 yrs, & know about tax mil rates, HOA dues; CDD fees; special assessments; homeowners & Hurricane insurance, etc.

Here's my opinion on this-
This is what I took away:

Property tax mil rate would be 1.5-1.7 max with no other line assessments.
I believe Lakewood has a millage rate of 15.86 if I'm not mistaken. Not including any CDD fees which would vary by neighborhood. For example I believe Summerfield runs in the range of $850 per year added to your taxes.

No Homeowners Ins needed or required by lender-
This is incorrect as far as I know. Unless you have no mortgage, in which case it would be left up to your discretion if you wanted homeowners insurance or not.

No Hurricane Ins. needed or required by lender-
Same answer as above

No Flood (get that)-
I do not believe LWR is in a flood zone so this should be correct

Mortgage ez to acquire w/only 10% down-
Possibly, if they have some special rate thorough a bank. My question is-are they putting some other junk fees or points to make up for it?

CDD fees stable despite large # of foreclosures.-
That's a matter of opinion. Think about it if you have a large number of people not paying their CDD, HOA, etc. How stable is the neighborhood? If you have a bunch of foreclosures in your neighborhood bringing the property values down-how stable is your neighborhood?

Merchants rent helps pay for upkeep.-
That is my understand but I've heard that many of the vendors either have pulled out due to lack of revenue or not doing well. But this is not unlike other areas of Sarasota/Manatee or the Nation for that matter. I wouldn't want to count on the merchants rent for the well being of my neighborhood.

So...2200sqft home w/1yr gold golf membership, etc taxes would cost $1100 per yr or less & HOA's etc $1500 yr

Sounds too good to be true

There's also the Chinese drywall issue in several of the neighborhoods in LWR-Summerfield and Greenbrook I know have both been effected.

Let me say that I think LWR is a very well kept, pretty community right now. I know many people the have bought in there and are very happy. But I don't want anyone going in to a community expecting something and getting something totally different. Just playing devils advocate and stating my opinions
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:01 PM
 
20 posts, read 44,107 times
Reputation: 22
SoFlgal - I agree! I started this thread b/c my first contact with sales staff seemed to minimize your points and not address mine below.
This is not a "new" community, and certainly can't have every amenity without passing the cost to the homeowners.

I've lived in FL 15 yrs & am familiar with the name LWR, not the community.

My friends from OOS bought one of the Neal homes "on the spot".

The "cheap price", according to sales staff, was builder's decision from lowering the ceilings and not using granite. Further, they said he is a "debt free" builder. He was a legislator who bought the 54 or so lots from Ryland with bond $$. Am I wrong in assuming he's "debt free" by making the compromises to sell fast and passing his 'debt' to the homeowners as CDD fees?

I also don't think they fully understsand about HOA, CDD, assessments or additional county or impact fees & the sales staff tried not to explain them.

I believe they pd cash, so they dont need insurance, but realistically, that's quite a gamble. (fire, theft, personal liability, storm etc.)

What really bothers me is the sales staff told me they haven't had a hurricane in 45 yrs, that being 1964; and that a hurricane is NOT a threat b/c it's east of 75. That's NOT true. All of FL is a threat. Remeber the storm that shattered Naples & Port Charlotte, then went into to Polk Co and Orlando! That was 4-5 years ago.. NOT 45 yrs ago.

I've lived here long enough to see some pretty bad storms, including no-named ones & I believe to sell on the premis that hurricane ins. is not needed just b/c they are east of 75 is, IMO, misreprestation.

I'd love if you could answer these questions please.

What is the main attraction to living there?

Are you familiar with Neal Construction & where else they built?

Why are they selling tile roofs when they are outdated, very expensive to fix and insure?

Wouldn't the first yr's taxes be based on the "land" & then a re-assessment done before March 1st, (deadline for homestead)?

Is the area prone to sinkholes?

Is the area outside LWR prone to more crime than other communities?

Is the cost of living in LWR ^ than other similar communities?

When was the last storm in that county? Did it cause any damage?

Is homeowners insurance hard to get in that county?

Thanks for reading & replying.. I really need advise as I'm going down again this wknd.

Last edited by sillygal2me; 05-29-2009 at 03:01 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
6,715 posts, read 12,212,972 times
Reputation: 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillygal2me View Post
SoFlgal - I agree! I started this thread b/c my first contact with sales staff seemed to minimize your points and not address mine below.
This is not a "new" community, and certainly can't have every amenity without passing the cost to the homeowners.

I've lived in FL 15 yrs & am familiar with the name LWR, not the community.

My friends from OOS bought one of the Neal homes "on the spot".

The "cheap price", according to sales staff, was builder's decision from lowering the ceilings and not using granite. Further, they said he is a "debt free" builder. He was a legislator who bought the 54 or so lots from Ryland with bond $$. Am I wrong in assuming he's "debt free" by making the compromises to sell fast and passing his 'debt' to the homeowners as CDD fees?

I also don't think they fully understsand about HOA, CDD, assessments or additional county or impact fees & the sales staff tried not to explain them.

I believe they pd cash, so they dont need insurance, but realistically, that's quite a gamble. (fire, theft, personal liability, storm etc.)

What really bothers me is the sales staff told me they haven't had a hurricane in 45 yrs, that being 1964; and that a hurricane is NOT a threat b/c it's east of 75. That's NOT true. All of FL is a threat. Remeber the storm that shattered Naples & Port Charlotte, then went into to Polk Co and Orlando! That was 4-5 years ago.. NOT 45 yrs ago.

Again, strictly my opinion. Anyone who tells you you don't need insurance on your home because we have not had a direct hit, well I'll be nice and just say that I would not listen to them. First off, if you have a mortgage they will require you to carry a certain amount of insurance. If not, and your home blows away and you elected not to carry insurance then you're not too smart.

I've lived here long enough to see some pretty bad storms, including no-named ones & I believe to sell on the premis that hurricane ins. is not needed just b/c they are east of 75 is, IMO, misreprestation.

I'd love if you could answer these questions please.

What is the main attraction to living there?
Some of the reasons people like Lakewood are: The lifestyle, "green living", the schools are rated pretty well, having their own community-hospital, parks, shops, golf course, fitness center, etc all in one convenient community.

Are you familiar with Neal Construction & where else they built?
Pat Neal is a very smart business man and has been around ever since I was a kid. He's built many communities and also does quite a bit of commercial construction work. He's a master at marketing his communities, buying cheap land and turning into a lovely communities. LWR used to be a cow pasture. He plays the Bradenton and Sarasota Herald Newspapers like a fiddle and always has some marketing gimmick to get free advertising. But hey, it works and he sells a lot of homes. Here are some other communities that Neal has his fingers in: http://www.nealcommunities.com/neighborhoodhomes/findacommunity.cfm

Why are they selling tile roofs when they are outdated, very expensive to fix and insure?
They think it makes the neighborhood more aesthetically appealing and uniform to have all tile roofs. They are pretty but in Punta Gorda when Hurricane Charlie came through these tile roofs turned into flying missiles.

Wouldn't the first yr's taxes be based on the "land" & then a re-assessment done before March 1st, (deadline for homestead)?
Yes, that is how it should work if it is a brand new home, depending on when it was completed.

Is the area prone to sinkholes?
To my knowledge there have not been any instances of sinkholes in LWR. I think most of the sinkhole issues are north port Tampa in Spring Hill, etc

Is the area outside LWR prone to more crime than other communities?
LWR is a pretty sheltered area. I would not want to comment on the crime in and around that area as I haven't lived there in many years. I was born in Bradenton but don't currently live in the neighborhood. Any one care to comment on the area of University Parkway east of I-75?

Is the cost of living in LWR ^ than other similar communities?
Not really sure on the cost of living in LWR. Some of the biggest things would be the homeowners insurance, CDD fees, HOA fees, etc. These would vary from house to house and community to community.

When was the last storm in that county? Did it cause any damage?
You really can't gage future hurricane activity on if a hurricane hit an area recently or not. Charlie hit Punta Gorda in 2004 and there could be another hit this year, you just don't know. Just be prepared and take sensible precautions and you should be fine. Hurricanes are one of the only natural disasters that usually give you ample notice to "get outta Dodge" if you feel the need. I was born and raised in Florida and have never evacuated due to a hurricane. Not to say that I never would, just never felt the need to. Please take a minute to review this link that goes over hurricane preparations: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/disaster_prevention.shtml

Is homeowners insurance hard to get in that county?
Homeowners insurance depends on many factors. Some of the most important things to pay attention to when looking for a new home and thinking about insurance are: the age of the home, if the home has hurricane shutters or impact resistant glass, how the roof is tied down, how close the home is to a natural body of water or fire hydrant, the style of the roof(hip roof is best gable is the worst), if the home is in a flood zone and if so what flood zone it is in, what the home is made of(wood frame, block, etc), what kind of garage door does the home have-Miami-Dade? These are some of the most important factors.

Thanks for reading & replying.. I really need advise as I'm going down again this wknd.
Hopefully I've help answer a few questions for you. Good luck with your search
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:54 AM
 
Location: SRQ
4,174 posts, read 7,990,708 times
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There's been robberies/break ins in LWR. It's not immune.
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Tampa, Fl (SoHo/Hyde Park)
1,272 posts, read 2,631,514 times
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I play golf in lakewood ranch often and the housing communities stradling the courses seem like a ghost town, many empty homes and u never see anyone around, almost eery...especially true with communities around Legacy Golf Club off university...i also wondered where all these people would work as bradenton/sarasota is far from an employment mecca or hub and tampa seems way too far...not sure about LWR, seems like another cookie cutter experiment in the middle of nowhere, time will tell
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