buying a villa

stubb

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 4, 2002
hello

we are currently thinking quite seriously about buying a villa.

we are looking at villas at glenbrooks which is just off the 192 on the 27.

does anyone have any info - good or bad.

thanks

michelle
 

billybluenose

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 5, 2003
One of the Sky channels are to be devoting a whole day to buying/selling/renting property in Florida. I'm not sure which day or on which channel but it was advertised last night (Sunday).
I will look out for the ad again and post it when I find out more details.
 

martina857

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 9, 2003
We looked into it 12 months ago, I did my own research then found Florida Homes and Travel They write a publication and offer services such as car hire to owners and prospective owners, they tell it like it is unlike the estate agents and representatives I came into contact with. They really do tell a different story, it is very hard work apparently to get a villa to pay for itself, there seem to be lots of hidden costs no one tells you about!

Martina
 

Sue F UK

Florida keeps me poor...but happy
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Hidden costs indeed Martina,

We have owned our villa for 2 years now and have found that the running costs are higher than a nuns knickers!

In addition to your mortgage your taxes, lighting and heating are all more expensive than in the UK and you also have to pay someone to manage the place for you while you are not there, along with pest control, pool maintenence etc. etc. etc. Start up costs can be costly too with 'closing costs', plot premiums and furniture packages all adding to your total villa cost.

You will also need to work hard to obtain your bookings which will finance your villa, even a good manager will only get you 8-10 weeks of bookings a year and you will need up to 30 to cover all your costs. Be prepared to do the marketing yourself.

I know I am painting quite a bleak picture but it really is best to do your homework before you buy. Realtors paint a rosy picture of owning villas in Florida which is just not true. However, if you are prepared to put in the work the rewards are tremendous. There really is nothing like sitting by your own pool in the Florida sunshine - makes it all worthwhile.

We have been chucking money into our villa since we bought it- sometimes it seems like a one way street. But this year we should break even, fingers crossed, and if we can maintain this we should have a nice nestegg for our retirement years. (thats the theory anyway :teeth: )

If you would like any more specific advice feel free to PM me.
 

JANNYANS

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Definitely not a decision to be taken lightly .I get people asking me several times a month about buying a home and I always tell them the same thing- if you bought a home and had no rental income from it for 6 months could you maintain it without stretching yopur resources.
Are you prepared to spend several hours trying to get the bookings your self as it is the only way to even get anywhere near covering your costs. I spend around 3 hrs a day listing my home updating websites, answering enquires phoning the states or wherever the poeple come from because they want to speak to you directly.There are hidden costs involved HOA fees which can be horrendous -pest conntrol, licences, insurance , man co fees, taxes the paperwrok is pretty tiresome too and its best to keep on top of it yourself.The situation is going to get worse I think as they build more and more new homes and with the weakness of the $ it all looks good value at the moment but things won't always be the same and I can't help thinking there will be a lot of resales on the market in 18 months time.
If you want any further info feel free to get in touch.
 

Nick_UK

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 8, 2002
Originally posted by billybluenose
One of the Sky channels are to be devoting a whole day to buying/selling/renting property in Florida. I'm not sure which day or on which channel but it was advertised last night (Sunday).
I will look out for the ad again and post it when I find out more details.

UK BrightIdeas (on Sky, Cable and Freeview) are showing the full series of 'A House In Florida' this Saturday and Sunday starting at 12 noon each day (lasting until 6:00pm). Digiguide tells me the following:

CONSUMER: A House in Florida
Channel: UK Bright Ideas 253
Date: Saturday 28th February 2004
Time: 12:00 to 12:30 (starting in 4 days)
Duration: 30 minutes.
Back-to-back episodes of the series charting the adventures of the Lyne family from Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire, who have sold up and moved to a rundown, waterside motel on the Florida Keys. In this edition: a recipe for Caribbean jerk fish, and the story of a Yorkshire woman who married a New Yorker and settled in Tampa.

Excerpt taken from DigiGuide - the world's best TV guide available from http://www.digiguide.com. Copyright ©1999-2003 GipsyMedia Ltd. Information copied from DigiGuide cannot be re-distributed, sold or used without prior written consent from GipsyMedia Ltd. All rights reserved.
 

allie5

<font color=blue>WARNING! DHL men should be cautio
Joined
Apr 12, 2002
We stayed at Glenbrook last year, and to be honest, there are MUCH better developments IMO. I found this one to be very exposed, with not much in the way of relaxing surroundings. Also, our villa was overun with ants...THOUSANDS of em. Management company admitted it was a BIG problem on this development. Be warned. Didnt like the layout of these villas compared to others either, but each to his own on that score I guess. I would highly reccomend you look around before making a firm desicion. Highlands Reserve is my particular fave, as it is in a wonderful spot.

We have looked into buying a villa (tentatively) but it is a big drain on finances. The overall cost looks tempting when compared to property in the UK, but there are an awful lot of "hidden charges" to take into account. Dont believe for one minute, the claim from the developer that they can "guarantee" you 6 or 7 months rental. They cant, this is a lie to get you to sign.

Another option we considered was a condo, as the maintenance costs are much lower. You can get a nice 2 bed for around $100-120k, not far from Disney. Also, be careful which county you purchase your villa in, as Orange, Osceola and Polk, all have different laws regarding taxes and rentals. Polk, which covers most of US 27 seems to be favourite.

Have fun choosing!
Allie

PS. The villa we rented at Glenbrook was haunted...I kid you not. It was 6 months old, pratically brand new yet 2 of us saw "something" and one of us was spooked from day one for no apparant reason. Its a spooky story, I will tell it if anyone is interested, and doesnt think Im a demented nutter!!
 

MalcolmC

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 19, 2002
I fully agree with what has been said above. The whole thing is littered with hidden costs with licences, taxes, HOA fees A/C repais, pool pump replacements (nobody tells you a pump only lasts a year!).

I doubt if we will ever break even and everybody still wants to beat the weekly rate down.

You have to regard it as a long term investment and an appreciating asset (I hope), not as a money making scheme.
 

SimonV

Proud to have called Bob Varley 'friend'
Joined
Aug 18, 1999
I have been looking at this a lot recently and can confirm much of what is already here - it IS a good time to buy, but it IS far from a guaranteed investment (and villas to let are serious hard work unless you have a lot of money to invest). On the plus side, several realtors I have spoken to are convinced the central Florida area is at the start of a real 'wave' in appreciation value (similar to the Fort Lauderdale area in the late 90s, when property doubled in value within 5 years); there is plenty of good-value property to be had right now; exchange rates are VERY favourable and mortgage rates are still low (by US standards). The market does look to be picking up this year, but there is still a lot of inbuilt reluctance to go there (and, more importantly, pay the asking rate for accommodation; suddenly, a lot of people think they should get some kind of special deal, which is often wildly unrealistic, but some properties will still try to meet the demands, even if it puts their business on an even more shaky footing). All in all, you need to do your homework meticulously and absorb all the negatives before you pursue the positives (look up Florida Leisure in Orlando, a Brit-run company who have some valuable home-buying insights on offer); and, if all that doesn't put you off, I have a couple of contacts that may be of use (following on from what's in the new edition of the Brit's Guide).

Happy house-hunting everyone.............!
 

stubb

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 4, 2002
thanks everyone for replying,we had been dealing with an agency locally but found that the price of the vila kept going up for no apparrent reason. We did not see it as a get rich quick scheme but something that would hopefully eventually pay for our holidays.

Although we wil be stuck to school holidays dates for another few years and trying to find reasonable flights for 5 during these time periods is impossible plus the car hire is inclded with most packages.

We started to feel pressured to make a quick decision on a developement we had not even seen. We are due to go on holiday in august and will have a look then. If the price has gone up so be it.

But it would have been exciting!!!!!!
 

vernon

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 6, 1999
I would say my own experience was that it was a little more difficult than I expected and that there were a few more "sundry expenses" than I expected. I think the shortfall of rentals can quite realistically be put down to 9/11. Over the time I owned my place I would say the rental company filled the house about 22-25 weeks of the year, when I consider that I used the house myself for at least 4 weeks a year at times ( Xmas,Easter or summer hols) when the company could have easily rented the house out they were not far away from their "projection" of 30-35 weeks a year. It was certainly more time consuming than I expected and renting out privately was a lot more difficult.

From a buying/realator aspect I couldn't have asked for more from the lady ( Peggy Morris) that was acting as my agent. She kept me in touch with every step of the way, sent me regular photos of the house as it was being built and furnished. I was very pleased with her in particular and Premier vacation homes in general. I would have no hesitation in recomending her to anyone looking to buy a house in Orlando.

All things considered I still think that buying a home in Florida can be a worthwhile investment. My own plans were to spend a lot of time there once I had retired. At the time you could have spent 6 months of the year in Fl before you had residence/tax implications. With £ at it's current levels and interest rates so low I do think it's pretty easy to convince yourself that this is a good idea, but do be aware you are taking a pretty sizable gamble ( in £ terms if not in odds) and that one has to make sure that it's a punt that you can finance, should your circumstances change, without causing you hardship. Probably your biggest gamble is the $£ rate, my own view is that the $ is way under valued at the moment and that Europe in particular has some very difficult times in the not too distant future. Britain also will not be immune to Europe's weakness, both in the fact we have our problems but also that any movement in the value of the Euro will be shadowed by the £.
 

Pootle

<a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
This is something that we too have played around with - and investigated - for years.

I love the idea (don't we all :) ) of having our own bit of Florida, but when it comes down to it, unless you are on a celebrity incomes (eg Richard and Judy) and can afford to keep the place and pay all the bills just for your personal use, it is hard to justify/afford without entering the rental market. From what I have read, there is a lot of competition in that area now - maybe considerably more than when you owned in Florida Vernon?

What finally killed off the idea for me (until this year's exchange rate that is :) ) was sitting in the hot tub at Disney's Old Key West resort with a British couple who were both members of DVC and owners of a new villa there. They told me of the pitfalls and said if they were getting rid of one of their 'purchases' it would be the villa to go! That was enough for me at the time!

And then the exchange rate had to go an make it all sound so attractive again .............:confused:
 

vernon

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 6, 1999
maybe considerably more than when you owned in Florida Vernon?
Dunno Moira, it was only 12-15 months ago (immediately post 9/11 was probably the toughest time) so I think I have a reasonable grasp on the market.
With the exchange rate owners can afford to drop their rental charges by 20% (in sterling terms) and still earn the same in $s. As the holiday companies don't seem to have dropped their prices by that amount it seems it should, in theory, be easier to get direct rentals now the market seems to be picking up again.

Having owned both DVC and a house there I can understand where those people were coming from, but ask them that question after they have retired and are/could be able to take 4 months off enjoying winter in the Florida sunshine and they may not give you the same answer. DVC is fine if you're looking for great accommodation for a couple of weeks a year, but it works out rather expensive if you are taking months off.
 

Pootle

<a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ
Joined
Jan 17, 2003
I always enjoy reading your posts Vernon, and this one is no exception.

My apologies - I hadn't realised you had owned so recently. I quite take your point about retirement though and the advantages of ownership in that situation. Alas my DH is some years away from this or I think we would be more inclined to take the plunge.

Ah well, back to those points ;)
 

DisneyBB

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Hi allie5,

Do tell about the haunted house please! I am not sure I could stay somewhere that was haunted.
 

allie5

<font color=blue>WARNING! DHL men should be cautio
Joined
Apr 12, 2002
Well, its not quite Haunted Mansion levels, but I will tell you what happened. Firstly, I should say that I was quite skeptical about the ghost thing, and had NEVER had any sort of "experience" before. DH had mentioned YEARS ago that he could "sense ghosts" due to things that had happened to him as a child. He never talks about this though.

When we arrived at the villa, everything was OK...it was practically a new build. According to the visitors book, it looked like we were only the 5th or 6th family that had used it. We werent too keen on the layout of the villa and it didnt have the "Wow" factor of other places we had stayed, but certainly no corpses in the closet!!

Our DD, 3, decided she wanted the bedroom at the front of the house, my mum had the one next door and DH and I shared the master at the back with our baby son. DD didnt sleep very well and, unusually awoke frequently with nightmares. In the end, my mum moved herself into the front room as well.

One day, we had returned from the parks for a break. Mum took DD swimming, DH went for a nap in the back bedroom with the baby also asleep in his cot. I was making trip report notes in the lounge. A movement caught my eye and when I looked up I saw a semi transparent figure walking into the front bedroom. I blinked and did a double take, the figure remained visable for a few seconds before fading away. I only saw the figure from the back, and it appeared to be a teenage boy or young man wearing swim shorts. As it was a bright sunny, Florida kind of day, where thoughts of ANYTHING spooky are far from your mind, this seemed almost like a dream. In fact after a few minutes, I convinced myself I had imagined it, and didnt mention it to any of the others. Funnily enough, I didnt feel "spooked" even though I had never had a "paranormal" experience before.

That night, DH put our daughter to bed and then came into our bedroom. There was a little crash outside (raccoons in the trash I think!) but I joked "I think this place is haunted". Hubby turned then and said "what do you mean by that??" in a very serious tone. I then told him what had happened to me that afternoon.

What he then told me sent shivers down my spine. Whilst putting our little girl to bed, she had apparantly asked DH "Will that man come into my room again tonight?". DH admitted he had known that there WAS "something" in the villa and that he had felt it from day 1, but hadnt mentioned it. He assured me whatever it was, was Ok and wouldnt bother us. He cant explain how he can sense these things, but says he gets it quite often ( I made him swear we didnt have any at our house!!!). He also said he knew that our daughter could see stuff too as she had mentioned before she had seen stuff that hubby had also picked up on.

Well, thats it. Not had any more spooky happening since. DH still doesnt talk about anything to do with ghosts (he says talking about it encourages appearances :confused: ).

I did check copies of the Orlando Sentinel to see if there had ever been any accidents on the Glenbrook site, but nothing ever showed up. For what its worth, my opinion is that what I saw was some sort of "playback" rather than a "ghost" but I guess I will never know for sure.

Allie
 

DisneyBB

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Thanks for sharing Allie. It is something you don't associate with Orlando and fun holidays. You are very brave, I get easliy spooked and would have been moving villas! I hope you next villa has no memories.
 









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