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The hidden treasures of Ranchero:
Resort residency minus tourist cost

the art of living

Special to mattmediafla.com

LARGO, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2009) — To own the Tampa Bay lifestyle, you can buy a condo or townhouse "from the 200s," "from the 400s" or, once upon a fairy tale at Trump Tower Tampa, "from the 700s." You can buy an average hammered-and-nailed site-built house for $174,900, down $47,000 from $221,900 in 2006.

Or you can own a solid, spacious, attractive home for what you might pay in taxes elsewhere. Migrate seasonally, play landlord part of the year, or turn a vacation resort into your full-time address. If you are 45 or older, you can find premier residential resort buys at Ranchero Village, a community of 942 manufactured homes just north of St. Petersburg and south of Clearwater.

Ranchero offers limited access — gates off Belcher and Ulmerton roads — but almost unlimited advantages. It's scenic, social and secure. It's not Malibu — where CBS News reported that manufactured homes sell for more than $1 million each on lots leased for $2,500 per month — but is central to water, located midway between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay itself.

Ranchero homebuyers normally pay the low five figures instead of the low sevens. Even huge ultramodern, maximum-code modulars sell in the village for less than $100,000.

The resident co-op's 2006 purchase of all Ranchero Village land and facilities [see news release below] give today's homebuyers two great options:

· Rent the land under your Ranchero home for just $528 to $587 per month, depending on location within the community.
· Or buy an equal share of the village for a financeable $51,450, gain perpetual rights to your home's parcel, pay a monthly maintenance of $250, and own real property offering more value for 80 or 100 or 150 thousand than you will find almost anywhere.

How many pools, tennis courts, fitness rooms, lot-sized yards, fruit trees, oak squirrels and duck families, private streets, resident services and social events does your average $175,000 in-ground offer? And what depreciation? How secure is it, geographically, physically, financially? And what would you get for $80,000?

As these web pages show, Ranchero's lifestyle value sets a standard difficult to match.

Ranchero Village, 7100 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33771
· 3 clubhouses, 3 heated pools, 4 tennis courts, golf, bocce, shuffleboard
· Fitness, billiards, computer and card rooms; saunas; on-site offices
· Wildlife, lakes, palms, pines, fruit trees, gazebo and home gardens
· Full array of organizations, full calendar of observances and events
· Low maintenance — lawn care, tree care and trash removal provided
· North and west entrances; wide, safe streets; controlled night access

>> Jewel sale: Ranchero 417, $29,500, land lease or share >>
>> A special invitation to Coquina Key Arms South residents >>

Village homeowners secure land, future for $60-million

LARGO, Fla. (Monday, Jan. 30, 2006) — Paying $49,000 or $52,000 each for shares, 407 resident homeowners completed their purchase of Ranchero Village Jan. 17, ensuring the 45-and-over resort's future amid massive redevelopment that has wiped out much of Tampa Bay's affordable housing.

"It's the best thing we ever did. No two ways about it," Ranchero resident Steve Posgai told St. Petersburg Times reporter Lorri Helfand on closing day.

mattmedia news release

Ownership of the 126.2 acres and all facilities ends village residents' fears of the quick-stamp rezoning, land conversion and high-priced residential or commercial construction that have doomed communities such as Tarpon Springs' Linger Longer park, whose story is recounted in the same Jan. 18 Times editions under the headline "They're being evicted."�

The Ranchero Village Homeowners Association's acquisition committee and its conversion consultants, the Florida Community Services Group, set the monthly shareholder fee at $250. Because the land mortgage is fixed and the village of 946 manufactured or modular homes requires no infrastructure changes, that amount projects as stable. The cooperative could actually vote to reduce the fee as more residents buy shares — now up 5 percent to $51,450 and $54,600 — and revenue from non-shareholders' land leases accumulates. Shareholders no longer pay rent, receiving perpetual rights to their lots at no additional cost.

Non-share homeowners — 538 as of the land deal's closing date — incur only a $20 monthly rent increase for 2006. New residents buying homes after Jan. 17 have the option of purchasing a share from the co-op corporation at the currently established price or signing a land lease for $504 or $512 per month. The average two-bedroom,

two-bath apartment in Pinellas County cost $871 per month in 2004, and many since have become condominiums with asking prices in the hundreds of thousands.

Those who buy a Ranchero home and a share receive one of the best deals in Florida real estate: $100,000 or less for a desirable dwelling, a land percentage essentially equaling two-plus lots, and full vacation facilities. The median resale price of a single-family site-built house has doubled in Florida during the past five years, to $252,300, according to a legislative report. Modular, manufactured or mobile homes on their own undivided land are almost non-existent in Pinellas. Across the bridges in Hillsborough and Manatee, such homes often are zoned agricultural, requiring larger parcels and hence higher prices.

A mattmedia homebuyer still can live the Ranchero life for less than $26,000. Ranchero 2149, 738 and 417 have no shares attached, maximizing purchasers' long-term options at what is widely considered the area's finest community of manufactured homes.

A home and a share may be purchased simultaneously or separately, then resold with lot rights as a single piece of real property. The home still may be sold separately after the share is added, although the cooperative will reimburse for the surrendered share only after reselling it. A co-op member moving from one home to another within the park retains share rights.

Even without a share attached to a particular house, Ranchero Village's new resident-owned status protects each home's value. Nevertheless, mattmedia's sale prices have not risen: $36,000 for No. 417, $32,149 for No. 2149 and $25,738 for No. 738. For directions or more information about relocating, investing or renting at Ranchero, contact mattmedia president Matt Lorenz (813-817-3339) or VP/administration and development Celia Onidi (813-817-4821).

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