the mike rance real estate blog

dec 14 2015

Lake Dora


the area around lake dora could be your dream come true! lakefront living with historic small-town charm away from the hustle and bustle of orlando, and plenty of activities, restaurants, yearly events, shoppes, and more detailed here by the mike rance team!

Located between Lake Eustis to the north and Lake Apopka to the south on the Harris Chain of Lakes, Lake Dora covers 4,475 acres perfect for fishing and boating enthusiasts alike. To the southwest of Lake Dora is pristine Florida wetland full of native wildlife. The Dora Canal, connecting Lake Dora to its northern cousin Lake Eustis, is a prime area for bird-watching. Whether visiting, new to the area, or long-time resident, Lake Dora activities like the guided pontoon boat and seaplane aerial sightseeing tours are perfect ways to capture the beautiful landscape of Lake Dora.

Mount Dora 
Lake Dora is the gem of the Central Florida city of the same name. Mount Dora, retaining over one hundred years of history, has the comfort and feel of a charming, small town that over 13,000 residents call home. One reviewer urges us to “experience the neighborhood … where the trees hang with Spanish Moss and gardens seem to be taken from the pages of a southern magazine from years gone by” ( Mount Dora sits along the northeastern shorelines of Lake Dora, hosting one of the lake’s only two boat ramps for direct access, letting the public enjoy the placid lake and relax with the beautiful Florida sunset.

But Mount Dora is not the only city to claim a coast of the pristine Lake Dora. Tavares lines Lake Dora along the northwestern side of the lake, hosting Lake Dora’s only other public boat ramp and featuring the famous Tavares Seaplane Base & Marina in Wooton Park. Before the strategic city investment to build the Tavares Seaplane Base, no full-service seaplane base existed from Key West to Atlanta. According to an article from the Orlando Sentinel (, “When City Council members decided on a name for their seaplane base [..], they had a long list of interesting choices … Spruce Goose Lagoon, Happy Landings, Tavares Plain to See and Zero Feet on Sea, Tavares were among the options collected during a contest in which seaplane pilots across the country and local residents alike submitted entries.” But it was the most traditional name that won out and put Tavares on the map as “America’s Seaplane City.”



In recent years, the city-owned, public-use seaplane base on Lake Dora has created a lively seaplane culture throughout the town. Local festivals, restaurants, and even a Children’s Splash Park celebrate the seaplane theme.

The Seaplane Base itself hosts several yearly Fly-In Events such as the recent Halloween Fly-In and the upcoming Spring Fly-In, Saturday May 7, 2016 beginning at 9 am and featuring competitive events like Shortest Take Off, Bomb Drop Contest, and Spot Landing Contest! Participating pilots will receive a complimentary $10 dining voucher to Tavares Downtown restaurants.

Tis the Season


Christmas Lighted Boat Parade and Cannonball Christmas Express
The City of Mount Dora loves Christmas, from its impressive light displays all over Mount Dora neighborhoods and huge Christmas trees that light up town squares. The Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is always a spectacle at the Lake Dora Lighthouse, where local boat owners compete for originality and best-in-show titles.
If you missed this year’s parade on December 5, you can still enjoy the city of Tavares’s Cannonball Christmas Express the entire month of December.  Bound for the “North Pole” from the Tavares Train Station, you can “enjoy hot chocolate & cookies on the station platform” while waiting for your train. “Santa will board the train … to visit with kids of all ages and present each child with a gift,” all in a magical 50 minute trip! Bonus visits along the train from Eugene the Elf and Mrs. Claus make this family event a one-of-a-kind Christmas experience.

Restaurants on Lake Dora


The Goblin Market
“Celebrating seventeen years in the historic downtown Mount Dora village,” the Goblin Market’s unique concept of “casual elegance” shines in this Lake Dora restaurant. This restaurant takes pride in its “intimate, book-lined dining rooms,” “alfresco” courtyard and garden patio, and “personable and attentive staff,” operating under a simple philosophy to provide a unique experience complete with high quality products. Their fresh meat, seafood, and other homemade delicacies such as the jumbo lump Crab Bisque soup will make you fall in love with this one-of-a-kind Mount Dora establishment.


ALS Sand Bar/Puddle Jumpers Lakeside
The name ALS stands for Air, Land and Sea, and is your simple, American style restaurant that boasts casual waterfront dining on the northwestern corner of Lake Dora. Although ALS Landing might have closed earlier this year, ALS still stands strong with its sister dining experience – the Sand Bar Island Cantina.
ALS Sand Bar sits directly on the Tavares Seaplane Base & Marina and provides live musical entertainment daily. ALS menu features fresh, hand-crafted burgers, hand-battered fish and chips, and other daily specials that are “not just good but great.”
ALS Landing quickly re-emerged after remodeling and under a new name, “Puddle Jumpers,” a term that refers to small seaplanes. Puddle Jumpers features the same casual lakeside experience, with a few upscale menu options that highlight the “extreme care for the food and drinks” served at this spectacular restaurant.
Both locations feature a full bar and invite you to “watch the seaplanes land while enjoying life and good food” – exactly what life in America’s Seaplane City of Tavares on beautiful Lake Dora is all about.


Pisces Rising
For a smart, casual dining experience featuring a one-piece mahogany bar, comforting jazz music, and floor-to-ceiling windows letting in the picturesque Lake Dora sunset, Pisces Rising is a happy mix of Florida history and modern dining. The restaurant is “lovingly wrapped around a Florida cracker bungalow-style home built in the 1920s,” and focuses on freshness, from its meat and seafood to its seasonal vegetables and flair. Pisces Rising features live music and monthly three-course wine dinners, occurring every third weekend of the month with wine provided by family-owned Maggie’s Attic Wine and Beer Cellar.

Other Shoppes/Activities


Lakeside Inn
The Lakeside Inn has been a landmark for history and hospitality in Mount Dora since 1883. For more than a century, this lovely Victorian Era inn has provided a unique and classic destination for tourists and pioneers, accessible before railways by lake steamer from Jacksonville and the Harris Chain of Lakes. Beautiful cypress trees and other native subtropical vegetation are complemented by the many possible sightings of bald eagles, alligators, egrets, and turtles that can still be seen today on the Dora Canal. Since Florida’s coastal railroad boom of the Roaring 20s, the Lakeside Inn has fought the quick decline of Central Florida tourism and stood the test of time, remaining as the last Victorian Era hotel of the area and the “oldest continuously-operated hotel in the State of Florida.” The inn offers 87 guest suites, weekly entertainment, their local arts, crafts, and gift item shop The Gatehouse, and indoor and outdoor function areas alike for social and business events and beautiful weddings.

malena3.jpgMalena & Magda’s Boutique
Malena and Magda’s Boutique is your small city boutique with an elegant and exclusive twist. Malena & Magda’s takes pride to offer their customers great quality and exclusive items. The boutique carries a unique variety of designer leather and vegan purses, while always featuring a wide selection of jewelry and other items made by local artists. “None of our purses or jewelry are alike,” says Magdalena, who named the store after her and her grandmother’s nicknames. “You always will find something different at very reasonable prices.” Their products include handbags by Carbotti, Nicole Lee, Sondra Roberts, Ili New York, and Dida. If you aren’t charmed by the cotton clothing made with Pima and organic cottons from Peru, right beside you can find knitted tops made in Greece by designer John P. or a pair of handmade ElizaB. flip-flops to show off lakeside.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Downtown Mount Dora stands as one of the best romantic getaways in all of Central Florida, streets lined with New England architecture highlighting the city’s century of history. With Victorian details, beautiful lakeside parks perfect for romantic walks, and horse-drawn carriage rides, Mount Dora transports you to a simpler time. The carriage rides are an exceptional activity during Christmas time in Mount Dora, passing through streets lined with Christmas lights on historic houses and trees draped with bulbs.

Homes on Lake Dora

MLS Quick CMA - Live Lakeside on Mount Dora


20 Active Listings
9 properties with private pools
2 bed 1 bath – 6 bed 5 bath
$249,000 – 1.795mil List priceliving3.jpg

1 Active with Contract
1 property with private pool
4 bed 4 bath
$634,900 List price

2 Pending Listings
2 bed 2 bath – 4 bed 4 bath
$345,000 – 557,000 List price

10 Sold Listings (past 6 mo.)
3 properties with private pools
2 bed 1 bath – 4 bed 6 bath
$69,900 – 1.795mil List price
$54,900 – 1.725mil Sold price

Even more properties are available close to Lake Dora without direct lake frontage. Talk to the Mike Rance Team today to see what is available or schedule a showing to get your hunt started for your dream house!

nov 12 2015
johns lake

Take a deeper look at the rich history and residential community surrounding Johns Lake and keep scrolling for a unique sneak preview of a spectacular lakefront property on Johns Lake before it hits the market! The Mike Rance Team gives you an inside look at the next hot property in the desirable Johns Landing Community! Don't miss it! See below...


johnslake1.jpgIf you’ve ever seen an overhead of Johns Lake, you’ll see why the lake is sometimes called the “Johns Chain,” with a widely varying shoreline and two large “islands” that extend out from the north and south sides, creating a narrow channel that connects the east and west pools. These two islands, Deer Island and Williamson Island, are actually peninsulas, connected by land bridges little over 500 feet wide. But the islands don’t stop the lake from claiming over 2,400 acres total between Clermont and Orlando. Historically, the land around Johns Lake had been used largely for citrus groves. Some still exist, while other inactive groves have been transformed into coveted residential and lakeside developments.
The 160-acre northern peninsula, or Deer Island, was purchased by its first non-native American owner, Hannah B. Rollins (any relation to the Central Florida private university?) for just $2,433.59 in 1883 (wow!), although the island didn’t go by that name until after 1933. John Patrick Mooney took over ownership of the island from 1915-1919 in his peak years as one of the area’s largest citrus growers, and is believed to be the origin of the name “Johns Lake.” After many winter freezes and fruit fly infestations of citrus crops, growers transformed the land to tourist and residential communities. Today, Johns Lake holds many excellent residential neighborhoods (11 lakefront homes available as of Nov 10th 2015, 3 right on Deer Island!).
johnslake3.jpgWilliamson Island, the southern peninsula, also carries a rich history, named for a “unique West Orange family,” as noted in the Spring 2014 issue of Winter Garden Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Window publication. It writes, “Deep in a wooded area in the midst of the orange groves, the Williamson family cemetery slumbers. Thirteen headstones stand in a neatly-kept enclosure - all that’s left of a unique West Orange family.” The group of headstones are often marked as “Williams Cemetery” on maps, but this other article quickly tells us that “maps can be wrong,” noting the cemetery’s real name. “It was really the Eli Williamson Family Cemetery,” the author writes of the burial ground and former home site. The article has a great insider’s look from the point of view of a modern adventurer exploring unique areas of Florida’s rich history, documenting his journey in pictures. The author also shares some valuable history of the Johns Lake area and the surrounding citrus industry still alive today.
johnslake4.jpgJohns Lake also proves to be a suitable spot for bass fishing, with many rocky structures, weed beds and water fluctuations that create a prime habitat for trophy size bass. Much of the shoreline is still undeveloped, providing a pleasing, natural landscape to lake-goers. The lake was restocked with 500,000 bass fingerlings in the early 2000’s and continues to flourish with numerous prize fish. The lake supports a public boat ramp on the northern side just below SR-50. Don't forget that lake allows for more lake activities than just fishing!
Nearby, crescent-shaped Lake Avalon sits just south of Johns Lake and Black Lake just east.

Now, here it is...

special preview
from the Mike Rance Team
see it here first before it hits the market!

5 bed 3 bath 4461 sq ft

This luxury home sits on the northern shore of the east pool of Johns Lake in the beautiful community of Johns Landing. 

Spectacular views permeate through the entire house with great vision and natural light from windows and french doors throughout.

The kitchen comes complete with a wood front refrigerator to match the cabinets offering plenty of storage, along with a spacious pantry, a lovely wine rack built into the island...

...and a large wrap around bar area tying the kitchen into the wide open floor plan.

The back of the house offers the perfect patio area and a second floor screened-in balcony to appreciate the lakefront atmosphere.

And who can resist this view of the lake that sits right outside your back door!

Contact the Mike Rance Team today for more information and to stake your claim on this lakefront dream home!

living lakefront on johns lake

DeerIsland1.jpgJohns Lake Neighborhoods:
Johns Lake Pointe
   -The Overlook
Johns Lake Landing
Johns Lake Estates
Johns Cove
Deer Isle
Magnolia Island
Magnolia Pointe
Magnolia Bay
Stoneybrook West Golf Club
Black Lake Park
Lake Avalon Groves
*All Johns Lake neighborhoods may not be represented.

all lakefront homes listings on johns lake
(6 mo)

DeerIsland2.jpgActive – 11 listings
List Price $279,950 to $4,759,000
900 to 11,650 square feet
2 beds, 2 baths to 7 beds, 7 baths
10 properties with private pools

Pending – 2 listings
List Price $329,000 to $895,000
3,724 to 3,985 square feet
4 beds, 3 baths
2 properties with private pools

Sold – 12 listings
List Price $179,900 to $1,199,000
Sold Price $183,500 to $1,050,000
1,766 to 6,477 square feet
3 beds, 2 baths to 6 beds, 5 baths
7 properties with private pools

Even more properties are available close to Johns Lake without direct lake frontage, including one on Deer Island inland! Talk to the Mike Rance Team today to see what is available or schedule a showing to get your hunt started for your dream house!

oct 30 2015

Halloween: MYTH or FACT?


As we near the spookiest holiday of the year, many myths arise about the impending dangers of Halloween night and Halloween candy. All over the news, stories are broadcasted of how to protect your children, and who wouldn’t want to be informed and extra cautious? But are these claims about poisoned lollipops or candy bars with razor blades grounded in truth? See the breakdown below for some Halloween debunking from the Mike Rance Team before the big night!

Trick or treat?

Myth: Your children’s candy may be poisoned.
Fact: There have been no documented cases of strangers poisoning Halloween candy. All known cases have turned out to be hoaxes. However, danger can arise from allergies or dietary restrictions. Parents, keep an eye on what your children may be getting in their bags. Always remember that even if a product doesn’t contain nuts, it could have encountered an area in production of cross-contamination with nuts. Any sugar restrictions should be carefully monitored. And lastly, if your neighbors love to hand out delicious homemade baked goods, make sure you ask them what is in them so as to avoid any accidental consumption of an allergen. Other than these risks, the most discomfort a child will feel from Halloween candy is from eating too much at once!
Reality: Allergens aren’t only in the food we eat, but the products we come in contact with. Costume fabrics and face and body makeup may give the wearer an adverse reaction. Always test out face paint or other make up on a small patch of skin before applying in full. Costumes can also cause adverse reactions here in Florida due to almost year-round heat. Make sure plenty of water is accessible for neighborhood trick or treating and that warm or thick costumes are breathable.


Myth: There could be razor blades in your children’s candy.
Fact: No documented cases of children being injured by candy with razor blades inside, either. It is important in the Halloween hype to remember that most people aren’t out to hurt your children. Even child predators are not calculated to be a higher risk factor on Halloween than any other day – some states have curfew laws for sexual predators, requiring a lights off policy and a posted “No Candy” sign. Experts advise Halloween-ers to treat the day like any other day, applying the same key rules of safety (Ex: don’t talk to strangers).
Reality: Even if your neighborhood is crawling with mummies, monsters, and cowboys (and girls), remind your kids that roads are still roads, and cars will be passing by. Sadly, the risk of getting hit by a car is more than double on Halloween, as more people, adults and children alike, are out and about in ways they may not be usually. Educating your kids on the right way to look before crossing and actually cross the street can make a huge difference on Halloween night.


Don’t forget the pet! Your furry children also need some looking out on Halloween. If you don’t plan on taking them out – on a leash, of course – with you in a cute costume to trick or treat, make sure they don’t get out when you open the door to give out candy, and if they do bolt, having your pet micro-chipped might be a good idea. Also, chocolate might be a delectable treat for humans, but for your pet it could mean a trip to the hospital. Keep your Halloween bounty secure and away from reach of your pet!

oct 23 2015

a closer look at the st. johns river


river.pngThe longest river in Florida, the St. Johns River, clocks in at 310 miles long, an impressive presence in a state that is only 500 miles long from its most distant points. Still, the St. Johns River is nothing compared to the longest river in the United States (hint: it’s not the Mississippi!). The Missouri River spans 2,341 miles across seven states. That’s more than seven St’ Johns Rivers long!
A unique feature of the St. Johns River is that it flows north. Or so we thought – actually, more than 245 known rivers flow north, a feature resulting more from topography and gravity than the magnetic forces dictating what is actually “due south” or “due north.” Rivers will always flow from higher altitudes to lower altitudes and always in the direction of least resistance, regardless of compass direction. Nonetheless, the St. Johns River is one of them!
upperbasin.jpgThis river begins in Indian River County as a marsh appropriately called St. Johns Marsh. The St. Johns River is slow-flowing (sometimes called a “lazy river” or rather “liquid chameleon”), and starts with barely any drop in elevation – the marsh actually ebbs and flows with the influence of nearby tides. The St. Johns River hits its first bit of stride one county north of its origin as it gains some traction and widens to a navigable waterway – but just as quickly the river dips back to its narrowest section of near impassible marshland, all within the upper basin – the first of three basins along the St. Johns River. One of the most famous lakes in the blackbear.jpgupper basin is Lake Hell n’ Blazes, named as a tribute of the frustrated curses of early navigators muck, weeds, and “floating islands” of the St. Johns marshes. Most of the upper basin wetlands are fed by rainwater and therefore water levels fluctuate with the seasons, making navigation unpredictable and airboats the most reliable form of transportation.
The middle basin encompasses the Central Florida counties of Orange, Lake, Volusia, and Seminole counties. The river creates two of the largest lakes of this basin, Lake Harney (9 square miles) and Lake Monroe (15 square miles). The sanford.jpgtown of Sanford lines the south side of the lake with its downtown area, offering public dock access to commuters by boat. This middle basin, also passing by Central Florida towns Debary and Deltona, has some unique features such as a significant tributary, the Wekiva River, the largest black bear population in Florida, and a thriving population of non-native rhesus macaque monkeys. Lake George, the second largest lake in Florida, and the Ocklawaha River, St. Johns largest tributary, are also found in the middle basin.
North of the Ocklawaha River to the Atlantic Ocean comprises the lower basin, where the St. Johns River grows exponentially wider. macaque.jpgIn this basin, the river hits its widest point at up to 3 miles across, an opportune feature used for shipping. Some of the oldest modern cities in Florida are in this basin section of the St. Johns, and the final 35 miles runs straight through historic Jacksonville, finally feeding fresh water out into the salty ocean.
Areas of the St. Johns River have long been populated, Paleo-Indians being the first peoples to arrive on the Floridian peninsula about 12,000 years ago when the ocean was 350 feet lower and the land mass was twice its current size. It wasn’t until 5000 years ago when climate change allowed archaic humans to inhabit the area Ocklawaha-Prairie.jpgaround what we know today as the St. Johns River. The transition into settled groups and centuries of agricultural cultivation led to population increases and formations into what would eventually be known as the Timucua, the indigenous peoples that the European settlers would encounter.
Today, the St. Johns River is in constant flux from rapid overdevelopment at the beginning of the 20th century and excessive pollution. Restoration efforts are underway in the area to return the river to its natural, healthy state. Such efforts led to the St. Johns River to be labeled as an American Heritage River by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998.

List of lakes along the St. Johns River:
Blue Cypress Lake (origin)
Lake Hell 'n Blazes (also Helen Blazes or Lake Helen)
Sawgrass Lake
Lake Washington (home to a colony of Atlantic stingrays among other marine species)
Lake Winder
Lake Poinsett
Ruth Lake
Puzzle Lake (where boat routes can and do change seasonally)
Lake Harney
Lake Jesup (no natural flow from the river to this lake)
Lake Monroe (Green Springs Park, a green hued sulfur spring, on north shore)
Lake Dexter
Lake George (Blue Spring State Park, winter home for manatees)
Doctors Lake (actually an inlet, not a true lake)

homesforsale.JPGAs of Friday Oct 23, 2015, 67 properties along the St. Johns River are available for the homeowner that wants the authentic Floridian lifestyle - flush with native wildlife and beautiful scenery. Navigable by boat, airboat, kayak, paddleboard, and more from private and public docks and parks, the St. Johns River gives you the opportunity to live the riverfront life you've always dreamed of.
Contact Mike Rance of Re/MAX 200 Realty of Winter Park TODAY to take the next step toward finding your Central Florida dream home along the majestic and historic St. Johns River!

oct 8 2015

6 ideas for staging your home to sell in the fall season!


As we float into the fall season, thoughts of autumn leaves, comfy sweaters, pumpkins and pumpkin-flavored everything are at the forefront of peoples’ minds. And guess what – that includes buyers! Staging your home with a few seasonal decorations makes potential buyers feel cozy while daydreaming of spending the holidays in their new home. Showing off some autumn charm will help buyers picture themselves curling up with their loved ones by a fireplace, carving faces into the perfect pumpkin, and smelling hot cider or fresh apple pie cooking in the kitchen. The care and effort you place into your décor to make a homey impression will be noticed and appreciated by a prospective buyer. Take some of these tips and suggestions to get your house sold this fall!

fall2.jpg1. What says “fall” to you? Fall can mean a lot of different things to different people, but some ideas are typically universal – pumpkins, of course, lots and lots of pumpkins (don’t forget those off-color white ones!); an overflowing cornucopia (that fog-horn looking wicker basket full of fruit – tip: use fresh fruit!); anything turkey (or are you more of a holiday ham person?); and arrangements of autumn leaves (perfect in vases or a cute decorative wreath). For fall-themed decorations, sticking with the basics with reach that warm, fuzzy spot in the biggest number of buyers!

fallcolors2.png2. Use your fall color palette! This one is a given. We all love when the warm tones of fall come out so take your cues from the changing of the leaves – deep reds, burgundies, caramels, goldenrods, pumpkin oranges. Used strategically, these colors can be game changers for the feel of your home. Use more muted or lighter colors for larger features like fresh painted walls, and save the bold for accent pieces, such as wall curtains or decorative pillows. Carry the theme into other rooms with decorative hand towels in the bathroom or cozy throw blankets in the bedrooms. From dull and boring to warm and colorful with just a few easy touches!

falldecor.png3. “This is my haunted house.” Halloween is great occasion to change up your look, but the same shouldn’t be applied to your house. When you’re selling your home, it is not key to follow the same mantra as your Halloween costume (a tacky “This is my Halloween costume” printed shirt!) Your home is not a substitute haunted house, and buyers should not be scared when they walk in (cross your fingers for those inspections!). Don’t use fake cobwebs, especially outside, as they can be difficult to remove and may make your home or property look messy. Don’t try to scare your buyers with a skeleton that screams when it senses motion nearby or a hand that pops out of a bowl of sweets. Don’t use fake caution tape or wooden boards on doors or windows, as it could give the impression that the house isn’t up-to-snuff – say NO to anything that draws attention to possible flaws or puts buyers on edge! Instead, keep your Halloween decorations to a tasteful minimum. A vase or other arrangement of bare branches as a centerpiece or mantel accessory can give the desired spooky feel. Various antiques such as an old rake or a vintage lantern can also give that eerie appeal in a refined way that will please future buyers. Even fake blackbirds or crows can be placed strategically as classy Halloween decorations!

applecider.jpg4. Those sweet fall smells… Pumpkin spice, apple pie, cinnamon sticks. These are just a few that when asked what smell reminds you of the fall season, most people would probably answer. A nice aroma in a home during a showing is pleasant and charming. Something as easy as a scented candle or cinnamon broom (decorative and sweet!) is inviting to buyers. Other ideas (with more effort) could be leaving fresh baked gingerbread cookies or a pitcher of apple cider with cups waiting on the counter as a refreshment (kill two birds with one stone!). Side Note: Some buyers may not appreciate a certain scent the same way you do, or they may be allergic! Take these risks into account when considering staging your house with a fall aroma, and make sure if you do choose to use a scent that it is not overwhelming (a.k.a. test it out beforehand!)

fallfireplace2.jpg5. Focus on the fireplace. This is pretty straight forward, too. Why wouldn’t you focus on a place of warmth in the face of upcoming cold weather? (Orlando does get cold, guys!) Staging furniture around the fireplace is an easy way to create a fall story with the room. While actually lighting the fireplace may be a bad idea for safety or just convenience, some fall decorations such as a cute pile of pumpkins or a fall banner can give the right attention to a fall staple.

fallmantel.jpg6. Don’t overdo it. The most important advice of all. The attaché “less is more” is definitely true here. You still want your home to be remembered for its features – aka “the home with stainless steel appliances and a great porch for entertaining” and not “the house with papier-mâché pumpkins in every room!” And remember, over-decorating can also get expensive. Don’t break the bank!

oct 2 2015

know your lakes - butler chain


The Butler Chain of Lakes of the esteemed, luxury community of Windermere, Florida is often pictured as below, spread side to side. But in fact this chain of lakes – connected by an intricate system of canals – runs north to south, Lake Down and Lake Butler being the northernmost bodies of water in the chain.

butler-chain-map-1_500wide.pngThe Butler chain is believed to be a product of karst topography, a natural occurrence that happens as limestone or another soluble rock is dissolved by water, forming sinkholes. (Limestone is a main component of Florida bedrock.) Over time, these sinkholes formed what is today the beautiful Butler Chain of Lakes.

This spring-fed chain is noted for its crystal-clear water quality and high fishing potential year-round, specifically largemouth bass. “Bird Island,” the Audubon society’s 32 acre wildlife preserve on Lake Butler, is a popular spot for boaters to anchor near for watersports, bird-watching, or a simply day out on the lake (do not go on the island – it is off limits as a sanctuary!). Lake Butler is the largest of the Butler Chain of Lakes, covering 1,665 acres and offering peak opportunity for waterskiing and other watersport activities. The only public access to the Butler Chain of Lakes is available through RD Keene Park at Lake Isleworth by a small daily fee or yearly membership. However, residents of Windermere can enjoy a residents-only boat ramp directly onto Lake Butler.

The Windermere area is sometimes referred to as Central Florida’s new-money address, and as such boasts some of the most valuable property in the area, including lakefront property. The town of Windermere, however, prides itself on its reputation as a pleasant community, with both old and new homes and many intentionally unpaved, natural streets preserving the lake town in a canopy of oak and cypress trees. The draw to living lakefront in Windermere is clear.

As of September 30th, these are the results that meet our criteria for lakefront homes on the Butler Chain of Lakes.

butlerchain.gifActive – 64 listings
List Price: $424,900 to $15mil
Square Feet: 816 to 13,670
1 bed, 1 bath to 8 bed, 8 bath, 2 half bath
51 properties with private pools

Active with Contract – 3 listings
List Price: $750,000 to $1,579,000
Square Feet: 1,944 to 4,182
3 bed, 2 bath to 4 bed, 4 bath, 1 half bath
1 property with private pool

Pending – 5 listings
List Price: $440,000 to $3,495,000
Square Feet: 2,827 to 8,330
3 bed, 2 bath to 5 bed, 6 bath, 1 half bath
3 properties with private pools

Sold – 26 listings
List Price: $399,000 to $16.5mil
Sold Price: $365,000 to $8.25mil
Square Feet: 1,013 to 21,515
3 bed, 1 bath to 9 bed, 11 bath, 4 half bath

Contact the Mike Rance Team today and make the Butler Chain of Lakes your lakefront reality!

sept 23 2015

know your lakes - clermont chain


The Clermont Chain of Lakes is an extensive vertical stretch of 11 Florida lakes revered for prime fishing, boating, and waterfront fun. Shoreline that is not populated with lakefront homeowners is largely Floridian wetland full of beautiful local wildlife.

Clermontchain.JPGOver 9000 acres of lakes are all interconnected by way of the Palatlakaha River, and shorelines are rich with cypress trees giving a large percentage of the water a tannic quality.

The river is perfect for kayaking while the larger lakes in the Clermont Chain are commonly used for wakeboarding, waterskiing, and other watersports. The Clermont Chain is has been referred to as the “wake boarding capital of the world” by Wakeboarding Mag and Orlando Watersports.

The two lakes here differentiated in purple, Lake Emma and Lake Lucy, are sometimes considered part of the Clermont Chain of Lakes, but are actually located in Groveland.

Supporting a healthy population of bass and crappie among the masses of water flora and fallen trees, the Clermont Chain of Lakes is also famous statewide for sport fishing and hosts a multitude of tournaments year round for the most skillful participants.

The lakes host two marinas, one by Lake Minnehaha and one by Lake Susan, which offer features such as boat gas stations and convenient rentals. However, many other boat ramps dot the lakes with easy water access for boat owners.

As of September 23, 2015, there are 25 Active listings for lakefront residential properties on the Clermont Chain of Lakes.

List Price: $119,900 - $1.5mil
Square Feet: 1,296 - 7,716
2 bed 2 bath - 5 bed 6 bath
10 properties with private pools

List Price: $144,750 - $749,900
Square Feet: 1,178 - 3,512
2 bed 2 bath - 4 bed 3 bath

List Price: $279,000 - $1.75mil
Sold Price: $260,000 - $1.4mil
3 bed 2 bath - 7 bed 5 bath / 6 bed 6 bath
11 properties with private pools

Contact the Mike Rance Team today and make the Clermont Chain of Lakes your lakefront reality!

sept 22 2015

an easy fast and a great feast

from the Mike Rance Team,


...and a Happy Jewish New Year!

Did you know it is year 5776 on the Jewish calendar?

sept 15 2015

4 big tips for buying lakefront property


A lakefront purchase sounds like a great idea… and it is! But as a home buyer and potential homeowner, lakefront properties come with extra considerations, and any prospective buyer should be familiar. Use these helpful tips to make the most out of your lakefront purchase and enjoy the amazing perks that come with a lakefront home.

1. THINK about the LAKE more than the HOUSE. You can buy a house anywhere, right? Buying a lakefront house is a special purchase because of that very reason: it is on a lake! When considering buying lakefront property, think about the factors that make your lakefront buy worthwhile – is the lake easily accessible, or is it difficult or requires a sizable walk to reach the shore or docking area? How is the view of the lake from the house’s main features and rooms, or the property overall? Where will the sun be in morning and evening? What is the water actually like – clear and pristine, or cloudy and difficult to traverse or maneuver a boat in and out? How deep is the water? What is my level of privacy, including public lake-goers, boats, and neighbors? Is my dock or shoreline a personal or community area? Are the activities I enjoy supported by the lakefront lifestyle? Determining what about the lakefront purchase is most important to you can help you make an important decision going forward. As is often said for lakefront properties, the value is in the land – or the lake!

2. What does BUYING on a LAKE mean for the HOUSE? There are plenty of pros to living on a lake, but those pros may come with baggage, such as higher list prices, insurance considerations, and agency regulations. Let’s take these one at a time.

List Prices: Everyone knows that buying lakefront property means a more expensive purchase price. Aside from the land being naturally valuable, lakefront property is also a scarce resource, leaving few choices for many interested buyers which causes list price to rise even more. Although worthwhile, this kind of pricey residential venture might take more planning for loans and mortgages, so it is best to apply early. This goes for other expenses too – always consider the potential increase in taxes and other bills when upgrading!

Insurance: Lakefront properties may take more of a beating from the elements than a regular home, and as such need to be readily protected. Florida lakefront homeowners are responsible for a few different insurance policies than a normal homeowner – typically a wind policy, flood policy, and general hazard policy, which may need to come from separate providers. As stated before, an early move on these applications will save a homeowner from trouble and help to ensure a safe lakefront household for years to come.

Regulations: When considering a specific lakefront property, always find out from any governing agency what can and cannot be done with the property or on the lake itself. A home buyer should take preventative measures before he or she purchases, for instance, a lakefront property intending boat use, but is not allowed to build a personal dock, or the lake does not allow watercraft or fishing. A homeowner’s association will also make apparent what is required for upkeep and maintenance of the house and the lake – useful information for a prospective buyer and future homeowner.

3. CONSIDER the lakefront COMMUNITY. Get out there and get the inside scoop. Talking to neighbors is a great way to find out valuable information on the lakefront community you are interested in as well as the property – what are the best qualities of the community? What are the worst qualities (if any)? What are the people like? If your lakefront purchase is a year-round primary residence, the answers to these crucial questions can really make the difference between a happy move and a not-so-happy one. Your realtor is another great source for insightful knowledge about the Central Florida area you are considering.

4. Lakefront property is a LIMITED and BEAUTIFUL resource. Buying a lakefront home is a great way to marry a passion for the outdoors with your home or family life, and as a lakefront homeowner, YOU are responsible for a little part of the Florida environment. Your awareness of pollution, weed control, and the effects of alterations on native wildlife will protect native habitats and species, prevent erosion, and increase the aesthetic beauty of your lakefront home. For the best results in buying a lakefront property, a great realtor familiar with the area can make a huge difference, and the Mike Rance Team is ready to help!

aug 28 2015

HURRICANE or just a tropical storm?

Projection of Erika through Tuesday Sept. 1st from

According to experts on Tropical Storm Erika, it is still too early to tell. Although Tropical Storm Erika has lessened its intensity even in the past 24 hours, it has already done some irreversible damage in the Caribbean and as of Thursday August 27th was projected to become a category 1 hurricane by Monday. 

Be smart and stay safe this weekend when Tropical Storm Erika approaches Florida’s coast and makes its way across the peninsula. 

Stay prepared with these helpful tips for enduring Florida hurricanes!

Must-haves: stock your household with plenty of the essentials
  • Water: The American Red Cross recommends a gallon per person per day for three days. 
  • Food: especially nonperishables such as canned goods. 
  • Personal Hygiene Products: toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, etc. 
  • Flashlights or Candles: Don’t get stuck in the dark if the power goes out, and don’t forget the batteries if you choose flashlights! 
  • First-Aid Kit: prescription medications, bandages, etc. Pre-made kits may be available at your local drug store. 
  • Gasoline or Propane: fill your tanks!
Other good ideas: 
  • Remove weak tree branches near your home and pick up items from floors to avoid damage to your home in event of high winds, debris, or flooding. (Permanent storm shutters for your windows are a great addition to any Florida home at risk for hurricanes!) 
  • Double-check your generator
  • Secure any outdoor furniture or decorations, and if you own a boat, secure a place for it 
  • Have a battery charger for your cellphone 
  • Have a good book handy!

aug 20 2015

know your lakes - winter park chain


Surrounding Winter Park are a wealth of stunning lakes with prime opportunities for residents who love fishing, boating, or just enjoying the scenery. The lakes are also amazing places to call home – impressive high end homes line the lakes with easy water and personal dock access and beautiful views day and night.

WPchainoflakeshighlighted-Copy.PNGTwo of the largest lakes are equipped with boat ramps, accessed through Dinky Dock Park on Lake Virginia and Fort Maitland Park on Lake Maitland.

Scenic boat tours of the Winter Park chain of lakes are also popular for residents and visitors alike, traversing the open lake as well as the cozy canals that connect them, pontoons gliding through native flora and under rustic bridges.

The lakes are that instant connection to the Florida landscape and outdoor lifestyle that Winter Park residents love. Not far are Maitland’s Lake Minnehaha north of Lake Maitland, and Orlando’s Lake Fairview, another boat-accessible lake, just west of Lake Killarney.

As of August 19th, there are 18 Active listings for lakefront residential properties on the Winter Park Chain of Lakes.

Active - 18 listings
$749,000 to $6,995,000 list price
2,746 to 10,314 sq. ft.
4 to 6 bedrooms
Private pools on most properties

Active With Contract – 1 listing
$1,790,000 list price
4024 sq. ft.
4 bedrooms 3.5 bathrooms
Private pool

Pending – 1 listing
5,450 sq. ft.
6 bedrooms 8 bathrooms
Private pool

Recently Sold – 16 listings
$155,000 to $6,700,000 list price
1,495 to 8345 sq. ft.
2 to 6 bedrooms
Private pools on most properties

Contact the Mike Rance Team today to make the Winter Park Chain of Lakes your lakefront reality!

july 3 2015

got plans for july fourth?

The Orlando area is overflowing with awesome cook outs, festivals, block parties, and deals this special Saturday!

Get your fix of freedom, family, and fireworks by checking out some of these great events going on in the greater Orlando area that can entertain a lifelong resident or make newcomers feel right at home.

BaldwinParkIndependenceDayBash.PNGWhat: Baldwin Park Independence Day Bash
When: July 3rd, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Free event parking behind Fashion Square Mall, 3710 Maguire Blvd.

Shop, eat, and play at Baldwin Park’s Independence Day Bash with entertainment by DJ BradmasterJ and Room2, the singing of the national anthem alongside the Orlando Army Recruiting Company Color Guard, and of course an amazing fireworks show beginning at 9:15pm. Visit the website to get special Fourth of July deals from vendors at the event! More Info:!event-information/cqqv

RedHotandBoom.PNGWhat: xL1067fm Presents Red Hot & Boom
When: July 3rd, performances start at 4 p.m.
Where: Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs

Celebrate the 20th year of xL1067fm’s music festival Red Hot & Boom this weekend. See featured artists such as Andy Grammer, Vance Joy, and Shaggy for FREE! Don’t forget to check out the website for more information on how to win VIP passes and the chance to meet & greet your favorite artists. Also, enjoy some classic holiday fireworks at 9:30pm! More Info:

FireworksattheFountain.jpgWhat: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Invites You to Fireworks at the Fountain in Lake Eola Park
When: July 4th, 4-10 p.m.
Where: Lake Eola Park, 512 East Washington Street

Come see some great fireworks, enjoy live music from two different stages, eat great food from over 25 vendors, and celebrate your Fourth at beautiful Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando. This event is free admission, so arrive early to get the best pick of viewing spots for when those fireworks go up at 9pm! More Info:

AvalonParkCelebration.jpgWhat: The Leland Management 4th of July Celebration at Avalon Park
When: July 4th, 5-9 p.m.
Where: Avalon Park Downtown East Orlando

Presented by Florida Hospital East, this outdoor event is sure to satisfy your Fourth of July fix, with an Apple Pie Bake-Off to celebrate the classic American treat, wet and dry bounce parks for the kids or the kid in you, Orlando community performances, and more. More Info:

FourthofJul-Eye.jpgWhat: 4th of Jul-EYE at the Orlando Eye
When: July 3rd – 5th, normal operating hours
Where: I-Drive 360, 8401 International Drive Suite 100

Ride the Eye as it is lit up patriotic red, white, and blue and take a selfie with Uncle Sam at the Orlando Eye on International Drive this weekend! Bring the kids and receive one child’s ticket per adult for only $4, listen to live music, see the Orlando Eye light show, and enjoy FREE giveaways! More Info:

RedWhiteandBrew.jpgWhat: Wall Street Plaza Presents Red White & Brew
When: July 3rd, 9 p.m. and July 4th, 4 p.m.
Where: Wall Street Plaza, 26 Wall St.

Enjoy two days of patriotic fun at Wall Street Plaza with NO cover and tons of specials and giveaways. Get your holiday started early on the 3rd with live music by Who Rescued Who and come back for Lighter Exchange on the 4th with UNLIMITED Samuel Adams in the beer garden from 5–8pm for just $20! Win prizes at the karaoke competition right before settling down to watch the fireworks over the plaza. More Info:

AustinsCoffeeI4Festflyer.jpgWhat: Austin’s Coffee Hosts the 10th Anniversary of I-4 Fest
When: July 4th, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Where: Austin’s Coffee, 929 W. Fairbanks Ave.

Don’t miss this all day arts event featuring 26 bands on 2 stages. $7 gets you a wristband and access to the music, the handmade art fair, live painting and “graffiti cube,” the vegan and non-vegan cookout, and FREE beer courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Company during the Woolly Bushmen set! More Info:

Have a Happy and Safe 4th!

see the full Mike Rance Real Estate blog here!
Mike Rance
Mike Rance
954 S Orlando Ave Winter Park FL 32789