If you live in East Marion County, Florida, or are looking to buy a home in East Marion County, Florida, then listen up, because this video is for you. Hi, I'm Rhonda Walker with Xcellence Realty. And today I'm coming to you to talk about the flood insurance changes.

If you're moving to an area or currently have a home that is near water or in an area that might be flooding, then the national flood insurance program, as of April 1st, has been changing some of its premiums. So although Florida is the lowest priced premiums across the United States for flood insurance, 80% of Floridians will be looking at a 20% increase in your flood policy. So check with your insurance provider. 20% of you may even see a decrease or your home may have moved out of a flood zone.

How's that possible? Well, the flood insurance program, they have an application where you can click and go put your address in and check to see what your flood status is. If you are in an A or an AE, that means that you have a special flood status and will need flood insurance. Now, they're changing some of their flood mapping systems by using not just the [plat 00:01:10] map in the actual 100 year flood plain issues, but they're looking at the elevations and the topography of everything around it. And in addition, they're using some future data predictors for catastrophic events that will actually help to either lower your insurance, or it might even actually raise it.

So if you are looking to buy in Marion County, of Salt Springs, Lake Kerr area, Fort McCoy, Salt Springs, Ocklawaha in East Marion county, or if you live in these areas, then you will to click the link below and put in your address and see if you need flood insurance. Because if you do, you want to get with your insurance provider, because your normal homeowner's insurance will not cover a flood, and you'll need a separate policy for that. And make sure that the property gets the maximum amount on your flood insurance. The national flood insurance program will cover up to $250,000 in rebuilding of the home and up to a $100,000 worth of contents on the inside. So make sure you get the right policy. Shop around too. Don't just check with your insurance provider. Check with two or three, because you may end up finding out that, guess what? You can get a better price somewhere else.

I'm Rhonda Walker with Xcellence Realty. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to me today, and I hope that you have a great day. Be sure to click the link and go check to see if you need flood insurance.

Check your flood status by visiting: FEMA FLOOD MAPS


If you're considering buying a second home, you may be wondering, "What kind of premium am I going to pay if I want to buy a waterfront property?" Well, you are in luck, because you're about to find out. Today we're going to talk about waterfront premiums in East Marion County, Florida.  I just recently did a study on the most often requested three bedroom two bath homes closed sales from 2018 to 2021 and compared waterfront prices to non waterfront prices. Here is what we learned. 

From 2018 to 2021, the premiums paid for a waterfront property rose significantly from 16.6% in 2018 to a whopping 45.3% in 2021.

From 2018 to 2021, the median home value of non-waterfront properties in East Marion County only rose $43,500 increasing from $126,500 to $170,000. Whereas waterfront homes sold values increased $99,500 jumping from $147,500 to $247,000. 

What does that mean for East Marion County and where can you expect to have those premiums at their highest? Well, I took my research a little bit further and looked at some of the lakes in the area. I looked at five towns situated in the Ocala National Forest: Salt Springs, Fort McCoy, Silver Springs, Ocklawaha, and Weirsdale. Here are the premiums paid by lakes in the area. 

Lake George, which is the second largest lake in the state had a premium of 103% in 2021. That's not surprising because it spans four counties. Marion County only has a very small portion of that land availability. The majority of Lake George is in Volusia and Putnam counties. The Marion County homes on Lake George are already at a premium due to a limited supply. Compound the increase in demand in an unprecedented high sellers market, buyers were willing to pay more for the opportunity to possess property on such a magnificent lake.

The number two lake was Lake Weir at 77% paid premium in 2021. Lake Griffin, 36%. Lake Ocklawaha, 25%. And private lakes were paid a premium of 20%. The private lakes consist of all the multiple little lakes. There are over 600 lakes within the Ocala National Forest. Some lakes don't even have a name they are just tied to an association or a particular subdivision.  Private lakes do not have a public boat ramp or public water access.

I looked closer at each town associated with each lake and here are the results.

In Weirsdale, the median price premium paid was 41% in 2021. For Ocklawaha it was 32%. For Salt Springs it was 20%. Fort McCoy was 3%. And Silver Springs actually had a negative premium rate. Silver Springs has a lot of the smaller private lakes, but it doesn't have any of the bigger lakes like Lake George or Lake Weir or Lake Griffin or even Lake Kerr. The larger the lake, the more activities permitted on the lake, the higher the demand.

Next I looked at the private lakes by town association. 

The highest premiums paid for private lakes in the Weirsdale area sold at a premium of 47% in 2021. What is so great about Weirsdale and the private lakes down there? Simple, you can have a home on a private lake and still have a lake view. And maybe you can go down and sit on your dock and enjoy the sunset and relax at the end of the day. But you are still only a 15 minute drive to either Lake Griffin or Lake Weir, or even into in Lake Eustis in Lake County. Those are the larger lakes where you can do other activities like jet skiing and using your kayaks or canoes or skiing itself. Or even going fishing and even enjoying  dinner at Gator Joe's on Lake Weir.

Based on these numbers, we can forecast that, if all things remain steady (interest rates and buyer demand) we could expect waterfront premiums to increase up to 55.3% by the end of the year in 2022.

Bottom line: if you are looking for that waterfront vacation home in East Marion County Florida, purchasing earlier in the year may save you from paying larger premium prices down the road.


The pandemic created a tremendous interest in vacation homes across the country. Throughout the last year, many people purchased second homes as a safe getaway from the challenges of the health crisis. With many professionals working from home and many students taking classes remotely, it made sense to see a migration away from cities and into counties with more vacation destinations.

The 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that this increase in vacation home sales continues in 2021. The report examines sales in counties where “vacant seasonal, occasional, or recreational use housing account for at least 20% of the housing stock” and compares that data to the overall residential market.

Their findings show:

  • Vacation home sales rose by 16.4% to 310,600 in 2020, outpacing the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales.
  • Vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year during January-April 2021 compared to the 20% year-over-year change in total existing-home sales.
  • Home prices rose more in vacation home counties – the median existing price rose by 14.2% in vacation home counties, compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.

This coincides with data released by Zelman & Associates on the increase in sales of second homes throughout the country last year.

As the data above shows, there is still high demand for second getaway homes in 2022 even as the pandemic winds down. While we may see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to provide those sellers with a good return on their investment.

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many people who purchased a vacation home during the pandemic, you’re likely wondering what this means for you. If you’re considering selling that home as life returns to normal, you have options. There are still plenty of buyers in the Florida market. If, on the other hand, you want to keep your second home, enjoy it! Current Florida market conditions show that it’s a good ongoing investment.


Every year around this time, many homeowners begin the process of preparing their homes in case of extreme winter weather. Some others skip winter all together by escaping to their vacation homes in a warmer climate.

For those homeowners staying at their first residence, AccuWeather warns:

“The late-week cold shot should fade next week, but this is a warning shot for winter's return late in the month and early February."

Given this, it’s time to go and stock up on winter weather supplies! However, if you’re tired of shoveling snow and dealing with the cold weather, maybe it’s time to consider obtaining a vacation home!

According to the Investment & Vacation Home Buyers 2018 Report by NAR:

72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe now is a good time to buy.”

It’s time to take advantage of the equity in your home. As the latest Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions stated:

“Nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties (are) equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 433,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.

The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage.”

This means that over a quarter of Americans who have a mortgage would be able to use some of their home equity to make a significant down payment toward a vacation home, and many are doing just that! According to the same report by NAR:

“33% of vacation buyers purchased in a beach area, 21% purchased on a lakefront, and 15% purchased a vacation home in the country.”

Many homeowners who are close to retirement will use some of their equity to purchase vacation homes, which may eventually become their permanent homes post-retirement!

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity to buy a vacation home in Florida, let’s connect to discuss your options!


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About Rhonda

Rhonda Walker, Real Estate Agent

Strategic Advanced Marketing, Clear Communication, and Experience you can trust.

Utilizing innovative technologies and marketing strategies Rhonda is raising the bar in the real estate industry by increasing the number of views your home receives from potential buyers.


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