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Your Questions About Ocala FL, Answered

We’ve been getting a ton of questions about Ocala, FL. Ocala has long been known locally as the vibrant seat of Marion County and the epicenter of North Florida’s horse country. Well, the secret is out about Ocala. As we wrote in our 2022 real estate forecast, last year alone Ocala saw a 19.7% increase in home sales, and it’s not hard to see why. Cool springs, lush state forests, a bustling town center, and of course Ocala’s world-renowned Equestrian Center are but a few of the reasons folks are putting down roots in Marion County. Today we thought we’d answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about Ocala.

Is Ocala FL a nice place to live?

I think you already know the answer to this one. We mentioned the outdoor attractions and the Equestrian Center. Add to that friendly locals, a quaint downtown bustling with shops (many of which have been around for generations), a Michelin-starred restaurant, an amazing brewpub, galleries, a movie theater, and you begin to get the full picture.

Branching off from the historic downtown you find stately homes with acreage on quiet oak-shaded streets. There are also state-of-the-art affordable new construction communities going up all around Marion County, so there’s really something for everyone.

Is it expensive to live in Ocala FL?

Ocala is affordable in comparison with other nearby real estate markets. The median home sale is $226k as of this writing, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. That’s up 20% since December 2020. Now is a good time to buy, as prices are expected to keep increasing, but not as drastically as they have since the start of the pandemic, when lots of people were looking to buy homes with room to stretch out.

How safe is Ocala, Florida?

Very safe. US News & World Report ranked Ocala the 4th safest place to live in the country. Ocala is small enough that neighbors know each other.

How far is Ocala, Florida from the beach?

Ocala is a 90 minute drive to Daytona Beach and other beaches along the Atlantic Coast. You’re also about an hour from the Gulf Coast. Bird Creek Beach, for example, with its great fishing spots along the Withlacoochee Bay, is only an hour away. This is real Florida.

Is Ocala FL a good place to retire?

Lots of people think so. Ocala was ranked the 16th best place to retire by U.S. News & World Report. The weather is warm most of the year, homes are affordable, the hospitals are good, there are many houses of worship, Florida is a tax-friendly state, and overall, people are happy with the safety and sense of community they find in Ocala.

What is there to do in Ocala?

There’s plenty to do in Ocala and the surrounding area.

The World Equestrian Center of Ocala has been described as Disneyland for horse people, but it’s way classier. In addition to the Equestrian Center’s well-attended horse and dog shows, the complex features the stylishly-appointed Equestrian Hotel, a spa, and a couple of exquisite restaurants. In 2021 Boutique Design magazine selected The Equestrian Hotel as one of the four best luxury hotels in the world.

The Equestrian Center goes all out during the holidays, with an ice skating rink and a great gift shop for the young ones. Even if you know nothing about the world of equine sports, you’ll be taken by the sheer scale of the center and the dedication and passion of the people who make it such a spectacular hub of equestrian culture.

Silver Springs is probably Ocala’s most famous and oldest tourist attraction. You can book a tour on a glass-bottom boat, or take a hike on one of the trails branching off from the springs. Silver Springs is the gateway to Ocala National Park, with its 500 acres and waterways providing habitat for a variety of Florida-native flora and fauna.

Historic downtown Ocala is a quaint and walkable downtown anchored by a Southern-style gazebo. The stately 19th century brick buildings that make up the main drag are what earned downtown Ocala the nickname “Brick City”. Live music and delicious dining opportunities are two of the biggest draws in Brick City.

Golf is a big deal in Ocala. From downtown Ocala it’s a short trip to the 20 or so solid golf courses located in this north central Florida community.

Looking for something off the beaten path? Be sure to check out the Flamingo Museum. Located in an unassuming strip mall, Cindy Dunlow’s quirky Flamingo Museum is home to the largest collection of flamingo-related items in the world. You can leave with a lawn flamingo, but the rest of the collection is NSF (not for sale)!

Check out our in-depth guide for more tips on where to buy and what’s happening in Ocala.

Marion theater in Ocala, FL

Guide to Ocala, FL

Cool springs, pine forests, horse farms. If that trifecta sounds like your kind of thing, you’ll love Ocala. Ocala is the crown jewel of lightly developed Marion County, Florida.

How far is Ocala from Disneyland?

Ocala is a 90 minute drive to Orlando.

Where should I live in Ocala FL?

The historic downtown is a great place to live, combining the convenience of being able to walk to coffee with more space and acreage than you might expect to get in a more dense city.

Southeast Ocala, with its easy access to Silver Springs and Ocala National Forest, is another desirable part of Ocala.

Here are a few of our recommended communities in the surrounding area:

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to learn more about a particular community.

How does homestead exemption in Ocala work?

The Florida homestead exemption is a tax break for permanent Florida residents that could reduce your property tax liability by up to $50,000. If you’ve established your Florida home as your permanent residency by January 1 of this year, $50,000 of your assessed property value is exempt from taxation. If property taxes are imposed by your school district, the exemption is $25,000. There are a few caveats and important deadlines to meet. To learn more, take a look at our article on Applying for the Florida Homestead Exemption.

Have a question about Ocala we haven’t answered? We’d be happy to help you get to know Ocala better. Already sold? Give us a call today at 352-559-8820  to see what’s available now!

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