Realty Executives in The Villages

Walter Coe, Ph.D.

Broker Associate (352) 516-3480

Walter Coe, Ph.D.


The Village of Fenney

(Published on - 11/28/2019 4:36:23 PM)

There is no better retirement destination in Florida than The Villages or one of the nearby upscale active, adult communities. The Village of Fenney is not contiguous with the retirement destination known as The Villages.  It is a "self-contained" community with nine holes of golf and other recreation amenities common to other nearby "self-contained" adult communities, the difference is that Fenney has access to The Villages recreation and social amenities . . . by car, with the promise of a golf cart path to Brownwood in the future.  

The developer skillfully uses its Lifestyle Preview Plans, Internet videos, ownership of The Villages® Daily Sun newspaper, local television and radio to create the misperception in buyers that The Village of Fenney is but 4 miles away from The Villages and has everything you need to enjoy an active retirement. The reality is that Fenny is 8 miles from Colony shopping and 10 to 15 miles from Lake Sumter Landing and the major center of activity surrounding Spanish Springs by car.  A golf cart path will not make Fenney contiguous with The Villages. 

What the developer doesn't disclose is that a large, and potentially dangerous federal prison, and dynamiting rock quarry are nearby.  The lack of adequate parking at Fenney recreation facilities is causing the overflow to congest neighborhood streets.  Residents of Fenney are up-in-arms, questioning the developer's poor planning and woeful lack of reasonable disclosure.


The average Villager doesn't play golf, use any of the 84 or so recreation centers, or any of the over 2,000 social clubs.  What the average Villager enjoys most about The Villages is its vast array of commercial amenities right at the fingertips. Not 15 miles away.  Golf cart access to The Villages will be inconsequential to Fenney residents, given the distance to the major center of activity.  Really, is anyone going to be pleased to drive a golf cart 20 to 30 miles to get to and from the greater Lake Sumter and Spanish Springs area?


There are upscale, gated-secured, active adult communities much closer to The Villages than Fenney that offer a Championship Golf and Country Club and recreation and social amenities like The Villages, with much more home for the money, and easier access to The Villages commercial amenities then Fenney.  If the smaller self-contained community is appealing to you, then you owe it to yourself to check out Stonecrest, Spruce Creek South, Del Webb Spruce Creek, and Harbor Hills.  All located close to The Villages.

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The Villages Florida Sinkholes

(Published on - 11/28/2019 4:34:42 PM)

Sinkhole Damaged Home 1

Sinkholes are a natural and common occurrence in Central Florida.  They are to Florida as earthquakes are to California and tornadoes are to the Midwest.  They tend to form following large amounts of rainfall.  After an extended period of drought underground cavities that might normally be filled with water may only be partially filled and unable to support the weight of floodwaters without collapsing.  Sinkholes come in all sizes, but most are only 3 to 4 feet across and 4 to 5 feet deep.  Even so, they can cause substantial structural damage to buildings and infrastructure.

 Some signs that the home may be affected by a sinkhole:

  • Doors and windows fail to close properly.
  • Cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • Small ponds of water collect after a rainfall where none has collected before.

Subsistence is the formation of depressions on the ground surface that is common during heavy rainfall, can be caused by things unrelated to sinkholes, e.g., poor soil compaction, leaking water pipes, etc. and are not covered by a sinkhole policy rider.  In The Villages, homes sited along golf courses and bodies of water appear more susceptible to subsistence than other locations. 

Sinkhole Insurance Coverage

In Florida, all homeowner's insurance policies are required to have "Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage." Defined by Florida Statutes as geological activity that results in "all" of the following:

  • The abrupt collapse of the ground cover.
  • A depression in the ground clearly visible to the naked eye.
  • Structural damage to the covered building, including foundation, and
  • The structure being condemned and ordered vacated by the governmental agency authorized by law to issue such an order.

Also, according to Florida Statutes, "damage consisting merely of the settling or cracking of a foundation, structure, or building does not constitute a loss resulting from a Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse."

Walter Coe, Ph.D. All Right Reserved 11/27/2019

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The Villages Florida Location, Location, Location

(Published on - 11/28/2019 4:33:47 PM)

Florida The Villages occupies over 30,000 acres and is still growing with about 130,000 current residents. While The Villages has an abundance of recreation and commercial amenities, your home’s location relative to these amenities will impact your ability to fully enjoy a lifestyle that is second-to-none.

When deciding location, focus on the major commercial amenities. No matter where you buy in The Villages there will be an accumulation of all the different types of recreation amenities nearby, so your goal should be to select a home that fits your feature requirements that’s located convenient to the major center of commercial activity: The Villages Hospital and Medical Center along US 441, major stores along US 441, Spanish Springs Town Square, and Lake Sumter Landing.  Light commercial amenities. Small shopping centers that include a supermarket, bank, gas station, and pharmacy are strategically placed such that no matter where you buy your home you’ll have one nearby, with only a couple exceptions.

Your home’s location not only will affect how easy it is for you to fully enjoy The Villages it will have a major effect on the future market value of the home. Homes that are long distances from the major center of commercial activity, the greater Spanish Springs / Lake Sumter Landing Area, will not appreciate in value as much as comparable homes that are.  Other locations to avoid are homes:

  • Near sludge disposal plants.
  • Backing or fronting a busy street. While such homes, when sold new, carry a premium price, as a resale they tend to be heavily discounted.
  • Close to Neighborhood and Regional Recreation Centers. Pickle-ball and tennis starts at 7 am and goes on until dark.
  • Within ear-shot of the freight trains running 24/7 along US 301.
  • Near any sports complex, e.g., softball fields.

Before you meet with a developer’s sales representative, meet with me. I’ll see that you have all the information you need to get your “dream home” for the lowest price possible in a good location.

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The Villages Florida Closing Process

(Published on - 11/28/2019 4:33:19 PM)

The Closing Agent will prepare the Settlement Statement and emails it to your agent for review a few days before Closing.  In a purchase involving financing, the mortgage lender will have final approval over the settlement statement.  The balance of funds to close should be wire-transferred to the Closing Agent no later than the closing date.

Regarding property taxes and assessments, property taxes are paid in arrears on a calendar year basis.  Non-ad valor um Assessments are paid in advance on a fiscal year basis (October 1st through September 30th).  Accordingly, the buyer will receive a credit from the Seller for property taxes from Jan. 1st to the day of Closing.  The buyer will be debited for assessments paid by the Seller in advance from the past October 1st to the day of Closing.

Any remaining bond balance can be paid upon Closing or during any year.  If not paid, the principal and interest will automatically amortize and be added to the property tax bill as a non-ad valor um assessment.

Title Insurance and Doc Stamps 

1) The title insurance policy confirms clear title, is required by mortgage lenders and is important to have in any case.  The cost for the buyer's title policy is paid by the seller in a pre-owned home purchase and by the buyer in a new home purchase.  It costs about 1% of the home's purchase price. 

(2) Doc Stamps is the state tax on the transaction. It costs $7 per each $1000 of the purchase price and is paid by the seller in a pre-owned home purchase and the buyer in a new home purchase.  

Other Costs:  The home inspection is about $300 and the termite inspection about $100.  These inspections are not required but strongly recommended.  The buyer is responsible to pay the cost of inspections regardless of whether the purchase closes or not. The Amenities Fee is currently $159 per month; it can increase with changes in the consumer price index (CPI).  Water and sewer charge is based on consumption; figure about $60 per month.  For trash collection, $20 per month is a reasonable estimate.

*  The above costs are estimates only and do not include any charges or expenses related to mortgage loans or prorated costs, e.g. property taxes and assessments; water and sewer charges; amenities or association fees.  This is only an estimate of certain closing costs and not a full accounting of actual costs which will be prepared by the closing agent and addressed prior to closing.

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Florida Sinkhole Insurance - Understanding The Financial Risk

(Published on - 11/28/2019 4:32:40 PM)

Sinkhole Damaged Home

For most people, the home is their single largest investment. So, when they decide to relocate to Florida and select their new home, it's a big deal. The astute buyer seeks to be informed about the community, the comparative value of homes that fit their budget and feature requirements, the material condition of the home, the cost of homeowner's insurance, and an array of other things that support an informed buying decision.

While the average buyer in Florida doesn't appear to give a second thought to the potential loss due to fire, hurricane, lightning strikes, and a host of other calamities, they have come to be very concerned about the potential for sinkhole loss. In Florida, a sinkhole can occur almost anywhere.

What is a Sinkhole? A sinkhole is essentially any hole in the ground created by erosion and the drainage of water. They can be just a few feet across or large enough to swallow whole buildings. Although they're often the result of natural processes they can also be triggered by human activity, such as poorly compacted soil during infrastructure and home construction.

There are two basic types of sinkholes, those that are created slowly over time causing ground cover subsidence and those that appear suddenly causing the ground cover to collapse. Ground cover subsidence in a development like The Villages is commonly the result of erosion due to poorly compacted soil. Poor workmanship. It's the sudden ground cover collapse sinkhole that creates headlines.

Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse means geological activity that results in ALL the following:

  1. The abrupt collapse of the ground cover;
  2. A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye;
  3. Structural damage to the covered building, including the foundation;
  4. The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the governmental agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.

Homeowner's Insurance.   Every insurer authorized to transact property insurance, homeowner's insurance, in Florida must provide coverage for a Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse pursuant to (Florida Statutes 2017 627.706). The statutes require that the premium up-charge for such coverage should be reasonable, but the deductible can be as high as 10 percent of the homes insured value. Accordingly, sinkhole coverage is included within the provision of every homeowner's insurance policy.

Sinkhole Insurance. Additional coverage against sinkhole damage to the property is available from some insurers but it's expensive and the deductible can be as high as 20% of the insured value of the home. And typically requires that no sinkhole activity has affected the home or occurred within one mile of the home within the last three years.

The Financial Risk: Assume the buyer purchases and insures the home for $500,000 and the deductible for a sinkhole loss is 10 percent of the home's insured value. And the home experiences a total sinkhole loss of $40,000, including the cost of alternative housing while repairs are made and loss or damage to personal property. No matter what the loss, the homeowner is out-of-pocket at least $40,000. Never mind the emotional stress and inconvenience associated with the loss. The financial risk is the deductible and the incidental cost that may not be covered by insurance.

Sinkhole Remediation. The two types of remediation commonly employed are Underpinning in conjunction with grouting to fill any discovered voids and Grouting alone. Underpinning is the preferred method and can be warranted. Grouting alone may not sufficiently stabilize a home's foundation against future sinkhole damage and cannot be warranted.

Financial Protection: there are companies that warrant underpinned homes.  One such company, StrucSure Home Warranty, provides five and ten-year warranties for underpinned homes backed by Lloyds of London.  Of course, like any other home, the underpinned home could experience another sinkhole, but unlike homes that have yet to experience sinkhole damage, the underpinned home is unlikely to experience any structural damage.

The above is meant to provide some limited understanding of sinkholes and the related financial risks. For a more complete understanding consult a geological engineer and your homeowner's insurance provider.

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Walter Coe, Ph.D. 06/10/2018 All Rights Reserved  352-516-3480                  


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