Disregard all the reviews from the "crabby" owners. No, this place isn't "going downhill."
I've been here for 2 years and am one of the "younger" generation, only 60+. I live in OTOW's best kept secret - the older villas or attached homes. Of course OTOW wants to sell their new homes and for those who want 3,000+ sq. ft and can afford to spend upwards of $150-300K, that's fine. However, you have to maintain your own yard. Here in the villas we don't.
This is the place to be if you play golf. Two grocery stores are right outside the front gate. The Route 200 corridor is going to be built up in the next few years so there will be a lot more things available close by. The city of Ocala proper is about 10 miles away with many interesting places to visit, a quaint town square, many different shops and restaurants.
Prices for the villas have risen over the past 2 years with the uptick of the real estate market. They are extremely affordable, now going for the low 60's to mid 80's. Not bad for a cement block structure house, 2 BR 2 bath, garage, yard maintenance, basic cable, water. They maintain the outside of the home (painting) but you are responsible for the cost of the roof replacement. Prices very depending the sq. footage of your roof.
Everyone is very friendly. Of course there are the usual curmudgeons, but they are few and far between.
There are a kazillion clubs (about 200) and you're only bored if you want to be. The only comment that I have are that some of the clubs are aimed at those older than I. Yeah - I guess I could try them, but frankly, bingo, mah jong, bridge, canasta don't interest me. If you're into crafts, that's wonderful.
Classes abound. They used to be free for residents but lately they're charging $5 a class for residents and more for non-residents. There are some interesting ones - a virtual gold mine of interesting subjects.
It's very safe here. I walk all over all the Friendship communities. I like the fact that there's a 24 hour guard at every gate. A neighbor was going out of town and her Dad was coming to pick her up. It was around 4 a.m. and the guard called her house. Her cell was out on the porch on her suitcase - she had run back inside for something. Since the guard couldn't get an answer, he wouldn't let Dad in. Good move! That's shows he did his job.
All in all, I like it here. It's very quiet. I'd recommend it to anybody. OTOW is a great place to live!
It's been 4 months that we moved from New York to this beautiful complex that gives us everyday new challenges to do things that we never did in New York. The people that live here are friendly and if you need a helping hand they are there for you and nothing in return. Everyone says hello and most of the times they stop and make conversation with you. The workers are professional in there trade. They make On Top Of The World more beautiful then what it is. We have no regrets.
We have lived in Friendship Colony for 1 1/2 years now and are year round residents. We absolutely love it, the community is generally very well kept, manicured. We have water, basic cable, and exterior bldg maintenance included in our fee. The only reason I did not give it five stars is that I have seen some areas where the yard work in front is very neglected, weeds reached about 1 foot in height. This is mostly just on side streets. Luckily, we live on a main thoroughfare, so we do not have that problem. Otherwise, we are very very pleased with the community, and we consider it a reasonable value for the amount of amenities that you get. It is very peaceful and quiet here and the residents are usually very friendly. We have felt very welcome here and already feel very much "at home".
This used to be a nice place. Now all the Colen family cares about is maximizing profit. The golf courses are going downhill through lack of maintenance. The facilities need updating. The employees are sullen and condescending. The HOA continues to be raised. There are much better alternatives and we will be moving soon.
Anyone looking at 55+ communities in central Florida will certainly visit The Villages. We did. It's HUGE with around 100,000 homes. The phrase we heard most often from our guide was "Hope we can find a parking place."
Imagine a community with all of the amenities of The Villages (clubs, pools, gyms, sports facilities of all kinds, beautiful grounds and life-long learning center) but with only about 5,000 homes. That's On Top of the World. Oh, we also have something that you won't find in The Villages, a beautiful, large indoor heated swimming pool!
We built a home in the Candler Hills neighborhood in 2012. A few months ago, we wrote to the developer to comment that in the almost 3 years we had lived in the community, we had yet to find anything to complain about!
Although we have been lucky with weather since we have been in Florida, should we get a big storm, all the homes and villas here are sturdy masonry construction. No stick-built, vinyl-sided stuff here.
We were able to sell one of our two cars when we moved here because there are two shopping plazas (one with a Publix, the other with Winn-Dixie) accessible by golf cart. Several restaurants are also golf cart accessible, and there is a Dunkin Donuts where you can take your golf cart through the drive-thru lane!
Of course management would like to sell you a new single-family home, but they have also formed a real estate company specifically to handle resales in the community. They will happily show you both single-family homes as well as villas.
Looking for an economical way to live in Florida? We have friends who purchased a villa 2 years ago for $40,000 (including the golf cart). The kitchen and master bath were somewhat dated, so they spent $25,000 on updates and now have a lovely 1500 sq. ft. home.
Whether you're looking for a well-built single family home at a reasonable price or really economical living in a villa, we're convinced that On Top of the World deserves a look.
We bought in the Candler Hills section of OTOW about 2 years ago and love it. Had initially looked at The Villages but the house pricing was way too high for what you get. At On Top Of The World, you can get a beautiful home on the Golf Course for less than $300,000 in the Candler Hills section. They also offer maintenance free homes or villas which are a really good deal for much less. Property has 3 Golf Courses. Plenty of activities.
They have recently opened the Stonebridge section of Candler and are currently constructing a new lodge with resort style swimming pool.
I would highly recommend OTOW to anybody looking for a 55+ community.
We moved into Friendship Village in OTOW approximately a month ago and love it. Our neighborhood is very quiet and the neighbors very friendly. Customer Service has been very helpful and the maintenance of the outside is great. The guards and gates give us a very secure feeling. We looked into other communities before moving here and OTOW was far and away superior. No complaints here.
In regards to the yard maintenance is that great for sure. I live in Friendship Village
and we get our yards done every 3 weeks and terrible when they do it. They leave big
patches that they miss mowing and the trimming is terrible. Sure they have a lack of employees
and dont pay them very good as I was told by one of the workers.
We pay good HOA fees and they have their rules but the yard maintenance needs a lot of improvements. Other than that I love it here. Why cant they work on the maintenance in our section.
Mike who posted a review in 2013 is totally wrong. If you purchase a villa, you own it. It's the land that is leased, but it's a 99 year lease and there is no rent payment for the land. It was included in the price of the villa. We've been here almost five years and it's beautiful and well kept. I have also never seen a tattooed motor cyclist wearing a skull and crossbones jacket.
Our villa is 1,341 square feet contains a living room, dining room, kitchen, lanai, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is plenty for two adults. Our second bedroom is used as a guest room. As for the comment about the grounds, OTOW maintains everything in front of the house and the lawn and leaf removal in both front and back. Trimming bushes or flowers in the back is the homeowners responsibility.
We enjoy it here and are year-round residents.
I'd just like to comment on the tattoo faces and loud motorcycles. I have yet seen a tattoo face or seen or heard a motorcycle. I've been a resident for 2 years and I live in a villa and love it! Only other thing I can say is if you are unhappy at OTOW move.
I bought a fully furnished villa in April this year and could not be happier with it. We still live in TN and come down every chance we get and can not wait till we are full time residents. I have not met a single person that I would not call a future lifelong friend. If you will try there stay and play offer you will see why I fell in love with this place, Ocala is a wonderful place to live and OTOW is the best choice.
I have lived here for a little over 4 months. Over the course of a year I researched many different 55+ communities in FL and always seemed to come back to OTOW. While most of the other communities are cheaper to purchase, and the HOA fees lower, I really didn't want to live in a trailer (modular) with an attached carport, which seems to be mainly what is offered here in Florida. Many of these other communities didn't have the range of amenities offered here.
Yes, in the ads for the community, you won't see the villas mentioned. I guess this is supposed to be a well-kept secret that the On Top Of The World real estate people don't want you to know about. They want to sell the big bucks housing! While I am sure that the stand-alone homes are beautiful, the square footage is just too much for some people, myself included. I never even considered a free-standing home. They were too expensive for me. I live in one of the villas and it is just fine for me.
I feel very safe here. This is a gated community with a guard, the streets are private so not just anybody can drive through. There are security cameras everywhere. One at each gate records the license plate of every vehicle leaving. Even the local sheriff's department agrees that this is a very safe community to live in.
For those who have posted comments in this section regarding "bikers" or stating that OTOW does not keep up the lawns here - that's just balderdash! Yes, there are motorcyclists here but they are not the rowdy Hell's Angels that the complainers insist they are. No, I haven't experienced bikes blasting in and out of the community.
Regarding the complaint about the maintenance, there are crews who work diligently and cover this ENTIRE community once a week, excluding Saturdays and Sundays. I walk my entire "Friendship" community here every week and see them doing different streets every day. This is a HUGE job! They work their way across the entire expanse of OTOW, then the next week, start at it all over again! There are some people here who are totally fanatical about their property and are out there every day blowing leaves off lawns and driveways. Me? I am very happy to leave it to the groundskeepers once a week.
If golf is your thing, this is a wonderful place. As far as the other amenities are concerned, there are a ton of classes - many offered for free - presented by Master The Possibilities. As I am at the bottom of the age bracket allowed here, most of the clubs seem to be for those older than I am. I guess in the coming years, with the older generation of residents passing on, things will change.
In closing, I'd like to say that this is an enjoyable place to live. Very convenient to grocery stores and banks. Downtown Ocala is not 10 minutes away.
I would highly recommend OTOW to anybody looking for a 55+ community.
My husband and I traveled all of Florida, comparing communities, amenities, prices. We realized we needed to generate a list of our priorities: amenities fees, number of amenities, exercise possibilities, life long learning and allowing 2 lap dogs under 15 pounds,insurance prices, maintenance, etc. For those of you who love dogs, you will find a limited number of communities that will allow dogs, let alone two. Armed with our list, we found places, but the purchase prices and amenities fees were very high or they offered very limited amenities.When we came here, however, we found reasonable prices, a beautifully maintained community, a doggy park , life long learning classes, a well equipped rec center, offering not only machines, free weights and classes, but also separate men and women's saunas, whirlpool and steam rooms, along with racquetball, wallyball, etc, dances, Farmer's Market, every club u can imagine and outdoor games such as golf, softball, bocce, horseshoes, remote planes, two wonderful pools and one incredible indoor pool. The list goes on. No, we do not have roaring motorcycles going by nor have we seen any tattooed faces. There are free standing homes with higher price tags and the villas, which leave extra money in your pocket if u want a lower purchase price. We decided to Snowbird and keep our beautiful, lakefront Michigan home, so the villas afforded us this choice. The only complaint we have is the online marketing, which doesn't even mention the villas and obviously is meant to present the community as one of only upscale free standing homes. We were fortunate in having an Ocala based realtor, who showed us the villas in our price range. I doubt we would've known they even existed had we come for their promotional visit. Our villa is 1800 square feet and lovely. Having ten wooded acres back in Mi to maintain, we welcome having our yard maintained through our amenties fee while we kick back with a glass of wine and a good book, or go to classes or events.This place and its villas is a hidden, non advertised gem. We are so happy to have found it.
This is the place to live if you are looking for an active 55 and over community. You are never too young, I'm 56 and I fit right in.
I'd like to comment just on the review that said you should only go to On Top of the World if you like "facial tattoos, skull-and-cross bone jackets, and motorcycles with no mufflers roaring by your house."
That statement is entirely, completely, without qualification, a lie. False, without any truth. The rest of his bilious post is false too. He doesn't actually have any knowledge or experience of On Top of the World.
We wouldn't live anywhere else. I agree with all the positive reviews, I read them all. I don't understand the few cranky grouches who may not have a life. We have a motorcycle that is just as quiet as our car. I have never seen any heavily tatooed, this is a very classy place and I would be proud to invite anyone here. The landscaping is always well manicured, the homes are painted every 6 years in a color of our choice as long as its approved, its quiet and peaceful, there's a park for dog lovers, one side for big dogs and another for the little ones, there's so many amenities here, too many to list. You just have to come and check it out. We are so glad we found this place to retire and spend the rest of our days here and I hope there are many, we've been here 3 years.
Love it here.Very relaxed feeling and the feeling of being safe. People are very friendly. Wonderful to be near all the shopping and Drs.
In my opinion this is the best bang for the buck in Ocala. The clubs are
numerous and you can be as busy as you want. I bought a house for
a reasonable price with the only problem being the landscaping in the
backyard. I figured I could work with the Master Association to fix
problems and I was willing to spend some money. In my opinion the
landscaping up keep is the worst I have ever seen. I have lived in Condos and HOA'a throughout Florida and again never have seen
this level of indifference. In my opinion this is a good buy but be
aware that landscaping in my opinion, is the worst problem here.
I dont think they keep the yards up. Is that because of the heat???
We moved to OTOW from the West Coast and love it. Not all property are leasehold. We own our house and the lot. I have yet to see people with tattoos etc. Yes, there are motorcycles but these a respectable retired people who go on occasional organized bike rides. You will always get complainers wherever you go. We need to stop and smell the roses and appreciate all that OTOW has to offer and it is a lot! We are very pleased to have moved here. We had done extensive research and looked at many retirement communities in three different States before settling here at OTOW. No regrets whatsoever.
This place is great and not all properties are leasehold. Homes in Candler Hills and Indigo East are freehold homes. We checked out several retirement communities in Central FL and OTOW was by far the BEST. Of course some people are hard to please no matter where they live. You have to check the place out for yourself.
I own a single family home in Candler Hills East since 2007. We purchased here because of the rules and supposive wheelchair access. I am confines to a wheelchair and when we first bought I could lift myself from the pool deck back into my chair. Late in 2007 I had heart surgery and am no longer that strong. OTOW provides a lift for the one indoor pool but refuses to add a lift for our outdoor pool. The reason being is TOO EXPENSIVE. So if you are in a wheelchair or consider there may be a chance you may one day be confined......OTOW is not the place to buy.
Quiet, convenient, secure neighborhood with the amenities that suit us. We are very pleased to be a part of the On Top of the World, Florida community.
I purchased a villa in 2011 for 72K. I love it! Since we do not own the land, sometimes its a bit discouraging to follow all the HOA rules, but they are there to stop OTOW from becoming a rundown motorhome park. And I agree. OTOW is well maintained: the streets, landscaping, mature trees, all the common areas, the entrances. I proudly bring my out-of-state visitors to my home, and they always comment about how very nice it is. The amenities are next to none. You can participate, or not, as much as you wish. We happen to be motorcycle enthusiasts, and we travel a lot; therefore the maintenance, which is included, is a godsend to us.
I feel the need to say that the motorcyclists currently living in OTOW are very respectful, as we are. Change is hard to handle sometimes, and people 20 years younger than I am are definitely going to have their own ideas, but I find that to be refreshing and just another reason for an HOA to be successful.
A decade ago, an OTOW villa cost over $100K and were mostly filled with the nicest middle-Americans of the WWII age (the Greatest Generation). Now the villas sell for $50K and the oldsters are dying or leaving for assisted living. They are being replaced by a lower strata of baby boomers (the Me, Me, Me Generation). The newbies drove us crazy before they drove us out. If you are looking for a stable population with any hope of increasing property values, don not look at the leases at OTOW.
Resident for 1 year. After a year living in OTOW, I feel it is appropriate to insert my review. I honestly believe for the money (purchase price and HOA fee) you could not find a better or more entertaining place to live in central FL. OTOW provides real security and a quiet clean environment. Everything you need is just a golf cart ride away. Activities are limitless in number. My sister came for a visit recently and bought a home within a week. Like me, she appreciated the value she saw here.
Fantastic place! We love all the activies and clubs. This cart friendly community is great. Leave the car in the garage and save gas! It is just a short golf cart drive to the shopping area with groceries, hair, nails, gift shop, post office, diner, barber, dentist, eye exams, doctors ofice and many other places for us when we do not want to drive to far.
The On Top of the World communities are by far the best in the area. It has three nice golf courses if you play golf you will love this. We have lived her for 7 years and this is our second purchase. We wanted to downsize because of health issues and did not want to leave OTOW.
The plus of living here is that we are close to doctores and hospitals. Ocala Fl. has the best hospitals and doctors in Florida!
I bought my home here for a very reasonable price. When I retired, the economy wasn't what I had planned for, so I'm very thankful to have a nice, clean home in Florida for a lower cost. The homes are technically on a 99-year lease, but I'm not going to be around in 99 years to worry about it! Love the location, the amenities, and that there are always people around. The only downside is that it's not closer to the beach!
Beware! OTOW used to be nice but now only good marketing masks the rapid slide into a less desirable place to live. Since it is just a lease and you do not own any land or building, you have no control -- the rules are changed arbitrarily and enforced unevenly. As the quality deteriorates, prices have fallen to a level of a mobile home park and is attracting the same type of resident. If you like facial tattoos, skull-and-cross bone jackets, and motorcycles with no mufflers roaring by your house, you'll like OTOW,s new look. Central Florida is a wonderful place to retire. But you'd do well to choose one of the 50 other communities in this former long-time resident's opinion.
I just bought a cute little 2 bedroom home in OTW Central for under $50k and the monthly dues include all the home and yard maintenance. I wanted something easy for me to maintain so that I could spend more time participating in community events and clubs. I am still a newbie so I haven't even tried out all the amenities yet but I've met a lot of nice people and have felt very welcomed.