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Old 07-11-2008, 10:01 AM
 
48 posts, read 159,723 times
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We are a week away from a house hunting trip in the Clearwater area. We are focusing in on On Top of the World (OTOW) because of what we understand are its liberal pet rules. (multiple pets allowed)

I am wondering about the land lease, however. I understand that there is a 100 year land lease. Did it begin in 1969 when the units were built? That would leave 60 years, which is a long time, but I'm guessing that if the current crop of new retirees buy in there could be worry about what, if any, value the units will have in 20 or 30 years.

Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Also, I've heard that potential buyers have to have interviews. Does anyone know how this is arranged and what questions are generally asked?

Another question relates to prices of the units. From online listings and online sale data, it appears that prices are continuing to drop. Does anyone have a sense of how low they are likely to go? I'm seeing 1,400 square foot condos being priced in the low-$70,000, and 1,100 square foot condos at little more than $60,000.

Final question: Are there other condo, townhouse, or villa communities in the general Clearwater area that accept multiple pets?

Thanks so much for your help!!
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:41 PM
 
Location: palm harbor
471 posts, read 1,509,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Profilewriter View Post
We are a week away from a house hunting trip in the Clearwater area. We are focusing in on On Top of the World (OTOW) because of what we understand are its liberal pet rules. (multiple pets allowed)



Final question: Are there other condo, townhouse, or villa communities in the general Clearwater area that accept multiple pets?

Thanks so much for your help!!
Highland Lakes in Palm Harbor has 2 of their villa neighborhood/complexes that allow pets(multiple). Their sf homes also, but not the condos to my knowledge.
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Old 07-13-2008, 06:04 AM
 
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Generally these land leases are renogotiated long before they are close to coming due. Otherwise the condo owners would be unable to finance their condos and the project would unravel. Even so, the land lease is a drawback but it is my belief that it is priced into the market.

The interview is beyond stupid and exists in a separate area of absurdity all its own. You MUST attend the interview. They are offered only one day per week. There are no exceptions. All persons in title must attend. There is a form that you fill out which asks for some limited biographical data and asks questions regarding your proposed use of the condo. You sit in a room with an OTOW employee and go over the form. Now if you are asking why this couldn't be done over the phone thereby saving an entire day of your life and the expense of a trip to Clearwater solely to attend the interview then you haven't yet caught on as to just how stupid the idea is.

Yes, prices now start in the low 60s for the 1100 sq. ft. units. The primary determining factors affecting price are the age of the building, the floor you are on, and the amount of work which has been done since the unit was built.

Newer buildings are higher, the first floor units are higher, and typical renovation projects are new kitchens, new windows, and new hvac which are called "air handlers".

We paid $66 at the end of last year. We are on the third floor of one of the newest buildings. We have an original kitchen, original windows, and an original air handler. We would have been better off waiting and likely could have gotten it for $60 now, but picking bottoms is hard.

Amazingly, the units in our building sold in the mid 50s when they were built in 1985. Do the math. Even though the complex is nice and well maintained, assessments are reasonable, and many amenities are offered, the prices have not done well over time with the exception of the bubble when they reached into the 130-140s.

I believe this is due to the fact that the turnover is high in a 55+ community and the number of people who use them as seasonal residences cause them to have characteristics of vacation homes which suffer the worst in a real estate downturn.

Iwill be at OTOW from the 15th through the 23rd. If you need anything feel free to ask.

Last edited by cump; 07-13-2008 at 06:06 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:51 AM
 
48 posts, read 159,723 times
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Default Very helpful information!

Thanks so much!

We will be in the Clearwater area from July, 19 through about August 1.

We are seriously considering purchasing in OTOW. But, that said, we have not yet seen the condos. We are eager to do so. It looks like a very good amount of space for a very reasonable price. And we do like the greater Clearwater area a lot.

In general, are you happy with your choice of OTOW?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:01 PM
 
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We are very happy with the condo. The people are friendly and since it is 55+ you don't have problems with noise from either children or adults.

Some other facts which may be of interest to you, in no particular order or level of importance: Taxes, as a non homestead, are around $1700. Our new monthly assessment as of this month is $266. Last year it was $258. To wash and dry a load of laundry is $2.75 total. If you are not there over the summer you still need to leave the air conditioning on to prevent mold. We set our to 80-82. Some Standard units have an additional set of base cabinets on the far wall of the kitchen. Since kitchen storage is limited that is nice. The kitchen cabinets are plain laminate cabinets. Sturdy, not pretty. www.palmacrerealestate.com is the site for the developer who also does resales. Palm Acre resales are not in the MLS. MLS listings are not handled by Palm Acres. There are floorplans with room dimensions in the Palm acre website if you click on a listing. Getting an OTOW ID card is a minor hassle but you sometimes need one. It is not necessary to get a OTOW license plate but if you get one with the condo I would use it.
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:11 PM
 
48 posts, read 159,723 times
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Default More questions!

Thanks so much for this information!

I have more questions --- lots of questions.

What is the general area like? Not OTOW itself, but the streets around it. Is the area totally malled-out? How is the traffic?

Our plan is to spend a lot of our leisure time in Dunedin and at the beaches, and also using what looks like the excellent Clearwater recreation facilities --- clay tennis courts, aquatic centers, fitness centers, and the like.

But still, it would be nice if OTOW, and the area surrounding the complex, was pleasant. (For me that means not too many strip malls, but I know that is a tall order anywhere on the Pinellas peninsula)

I'm so glad that you like OTOW! Do you spend a lot of time in the complex, or do you head for Tampa or the beaches?

OH, one more question. How soundproof are the OTOW units? You don't hear noise from above, I'm guessing, unless it's repair people on the roof, but what about from either side?

Yet another question: Do many of your neighbors work? Full time; part time?

Thanks again for your information and insights!
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Old 07-14-2008, 05:43 PM
 
80 posts, read 232,428 times
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The surrounding area is decent. The condo complex to the south of the west side of OTOW looks nice. When we have gone into neighborhoods and subdivisions in the area they seemed good.

A lot of people complain about the traffic in the Tampa Bay area. I haven't spent enough time there to reach a firm conclusion, but my limited experiences tell me that if they drove a couple of rush hours in Chicago they would be singing songs about how much better they have it.

The units seem reasonably soundproof. However, a lot of the residents seem pretty laid back so that would contribute to the lack of noise. Also the condo on one side of us was vacant so that eliminates one souce of noise.

I have been told, but I do not know this for a fact, that some of the older buildings are less soundproof. I do know that they seem to sell for less. That is a good indicator of some value difference, in my opinion.

We prefer the west side to the east side and we prefer to be further from Belcher and away from a major OTOW street. But that is just personal preference.

I believe that the majority of people do not work and those who do are pt workers. that is based on a very limited sample and the impression i get from what I've read and the age of the residents.
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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Default Good Timing!!

I rather imagine you are in Clearwater right now. Sorry I didn't contact you sooner. We have a 2 bedroom 2 bath condo on the second floor in Building 18 at On Top Of The World. We love it. It is most convenient to the elevator and the laundry and it avoids the many problems involved with units on the ground floor. Also our building is a very friendly one with folks from various areas. We love picking our grapefruit and oranges and
lemons from our trees in the backyard. Our family situation has changed and we must sell our unit. It is listed with Palm Acres Real Estate there at
OTOW. It is Unit #30 in Building 18. Take a look - who knows you might really like it. We do.
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Old 08-07-2008, 12:32 PM
 
48 posts, read 159,723 times
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Default Hi Bill/ Info on OTOW Clearwater

Hi Bill,
Thanks so much for writing!

We were indeed in Clearwater --- and largely without Internet --- when you wrote.

We had a little time (not enough) to look at OTOW during our visit, and liked what we saw quite a bit.

You mention problems with first floor units, could you please give us some details?

Also, you mention that you enjoy living in OTOW. I would love to hear the pros and cons!

How do you, and your fellow residents, spend your time? Do you go into Dunedin? Clearwater?

It's good to know that there is a friendly group in building 18. I'm making a note of that.

We are at this point bouncing back and forth: OTOW or a house in Dunedin. We change our minds just about every day. OTOW pluses, from an outsider's perspective, include very attractive grounds, a good location, and lots of space. Oh, and what we've heard is solid management.

On the negative side, the area is not within biking or walking distance of a downtown area or of beaches or an attraction like the Dunedin Recreation Center. So we would need two cars.

I would truly love to hear your opinion!

Thanks so much!
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:49 PM
 
2 posts, read 11,022 times
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ProfileWriter....

Hi...It is August 2008 now & I just came across these threads about OTOW....I am wondering if you ever made the move to the Clearwater area?

Janis
Palm Harbor, FL
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