house in florida ?

Discussion in 'UK Community Board' started by woody4, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. woody4

    woody4 Earning My Ears

    Mar 11, 2001
    Hi everyone

    just got back from Orlando

    I went to see the property out there, as I am thinking of buying
    a house in Orlando to keep for long term to rent out, and use for our retirement.
    Has anyone done this? and if so would you recommend it.
    Also has anyone any tips that they learnt from experience.

    This seems the only place I can get some honest advice

  2. thefatman

    thefatman Is it dinner yet?

    Aug 12, 2000
    Been there, done it, could write several books on it :)

    Be aware there is NO retirement visa, at present you can only stay for 3 months on the visa waiver pgm and 6months on a B2 visa, and any long stays will need supportive documentation that you are not giving up your UK residency.

    As for house buying, there are many many options, my advice would be don't buy if you will depend on rental income to cover your costs, ie. if you can't afford it without rental income then you probably can't afford it.
    They are building thousands of rental homes each year so competition gets harder and harder and any blips in the market like last Sept, and in previous years the crime problems etc have had major effects on rental incomes.

    Also buying in a tourist area is well and good if your renting, but if your looking to stay long term do you really want your neighbours changing every week :).
    We made the decision to buy in more residential area for the stability and infrastrcture that we would want from somewhere we'd be potentially living in one day. We've had our home for 11 years now and have known all our neighbours etc just as long.

    PM me if you want any more detailed advice.

    Apart from having our kids, buying our home in Florida was the best thing we've ever done, but we spent many trips investigating ALL the pitfalls etc.
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  4. Briggsy

    Briggsy Earning My Ears

    Mar 24, 2002

    We have a property in Orlando which we rent out. I have only one word of advice be prepared for hard work! I have spent hours on the computer and telephone to the US during our first year. I am hoping things will be better this year now I have more experience and knowledge.

    Up until now our visits to the villa have been spent not as a holiday but more "housekeeping". Lets hope this summer I can start to enjoy our home in Orlando.

  5. vernon

    vernon DIS Veteran

    Sep 6, 1999
    I would agree with everything Dave has said. How you finance your potential purchase will alter the number of rentals you need to help cover your costs, but do be aware that there is a good chance that you will have to make payments if you take out a mortgage for a sizeable part of the house cost. This is also affected by your own holiday plans, any rental company is going to have no problem in filling your house Xmas,Easter,July,August and the school half terms BUT those might be the times you yourself would plan to go. If you are able to go outside of those busy times it means you will get more bookings and your own time in the house is likely not to be costing you as much income
  6. athurstance

    athurstance Mouseketeer

    Aug 2, 2000
    I have to agree with the others. Buying a house in Florida is great but be prepared to finance it yourself. Don't believe the 'guarantees' you might be offered which will pay all your costs and mortgage. Be prepared to pay your running costs AND your mortgage. We just about break even on costs and get some contribution towards the mortgage now (after nearly 12 months things are settling down quite well) but we've been paying the mortgage ourselves for the past year. In order to break even you have to be prepared for lots of work marketing your villa, following up enquiries etc - you can't just rely on the management company.
    Having said that I don't regret buying ours and property is a good long-term investment of course. Just not something to be entered into lightly.
    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

  7. Lakul

    Lakul Earning My Ears

    Mar 25, 2002
    We too have bought in Florida, and as the others have said it's not all easy and a bed of roses. My biggest piece of advice is take your time and do your homework. Ask lots of questions. Checkout new and resale homes. Find a good management company. Be prepared to get your own bookings, which as Julie says involves spending a lot of time in front of the computer (my hubby only recognises the back of my head!!) and on the phone. Having your own website is also great for advertising your villa.

    There are other associated costs - printing brochures, advertising, sales and tourist tax, year end tax returns, tangible property tax etc, on top of the villas running costs such as the mortgage, utility bills, licences, management fees, pool cleans, termites, lawn maintenance etc, etc
    These all sound a bit scary, but I found out about a lot of these after we bought. I wish there had been people to ask in the early days.

    Our first year cost us a lot more than we had planned for, but our own bookings are now covering our costs.

    We love our villa and I'm looking forward to our next holiday.:) :)
  8. woody4

    woody4 Earning My Ears

    Mar 11, 2001
    thanks for some great advice

    I must explain that my Auntie owns the house where we stayed and has quite a
    reliable management company so i suppose thats something to start with. also when
    I say retirement home, I ment somewhere to spend time (6 months) later on.

    I was suprised to read you all seem to have had to finance your propertys in the first
    year. I think i could do this but it would be a struggle (80%) of the property value is

  9. Sue F UK

    Sue F UK Florida keeps me poor...but happy

    Mar 1, 2002
    Hi Woody,

    We are currently in the process of buying our villa and have looked extensively into the pros and cons over the last year. We finally decided to go with a resale home rather than new as this significantly reduced the buying costs - eliminating things like lot premiums and furniture packages which are not included in the advertised sale prices. We have got a fully furnished house in an established area (not a building site!) which we will be able to rent immediately on closing rather than waiting for 6 months for one to be built, it also comes with a few bookings in place. There are some good bargains to be had at the moment on foreclosures etc.

    My advice to you would be to talk to everyone you can to ascertain exactly what to expect. Look at as many web sites as you can find and even 'cold call' some owners on the development you choose to see what their advice is. This is what we did and found some really helpful and friendly people who gave us the benefit of their experiences.

    The most valuable advice I was given was to make sure we could sustain the costs in the first year and we kept back some of our money for this purpose. As the others have said - if you can't afford to pay for it yourself then it's probably not worth it.

    With regard to regrets - its too early to say but I hope not!!

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