Guest post by Stephen Walker, owner of Signature Villas Orlando
There are always advantages and disadvantages to buying an Orlando vacation rental home that is already under management with bookings in place, which we refer to as “turnkey”. Being in the business I get a first hand insight to what really goes on with booked properties and I want to share with you some of the most important things you should know before you buy one.
New vacation home owners don’t usually buy homes that don’t have a rental history though they should and the ones that do usually end up staying with the current property management because they are so lost in the buying process that they take the easy option. They figure, “Let’s stay and see how it goes”. In today’s market a lot of the owners who are selling are doing so because they can’t afford their home and there are very few that have made a large profit for numerous reasons. A couple of these reasons are that a high percentage bought at a ridiculous price during the boom and have enormous mortgages. Then there are the owners who bought one and just left it up to the management companies to fill and took no active involvement at all.
So what does all this have to do with changing management companies when you buy a turnkey property, you may be asking. If the management company is reputable, they should have a complete history of the home that they can readily provide to you before you purchase so you can get an idea of the type of numbers the home was brining in. It’s just the same as asking another management company to do a rent comparison of an equivalent home in the same area. That’s exactly how realtors price homes. Be careful as it is very easy for the property manager to put in what I like to call “ghost bookings”. What are ghost bookings? Well, they are false bookings that are made by the management company to entice the new owner to stay. This is a very dangerous game to play but there are many that do it, including a couple of large property management companies who shall remain unnamed.
Another common myth that new owners also believe is that keeping the old management company will be cheaper, but they’re often dead wrong! You’ve bought your first new vacation home and spent i.e. $300,000 on it and now want to save money? It’s one of the worst decisions I see new owners make. The answer to the problem is so simple and so easy that you will kick yourself. . . Ask your Realtor! Yes, it’s that easy (assuming your working with the right Realtor). Why is it that easy ? BECAUSE YOU MUST TRUST THEM OR YOU WOULDN’T HAVE SPENT $300,000.00 ON THEIR RECOMMENDATION!
If a realtor works for a property management company then they are obligated to their own company. But if you ask that same realtor who else they recommend I guarantee all they will say is ‘”We don’t really recommend other companies blah blah blah”. So they’re not the best realtors to ask and you probably shouldn’t be working with a Realtor who is also working for a management company! There are some realtors that will give you four or five management companies and this alone is great but why that many?? Lack of faith maybe? Diversity? Who knows. . . So which realtor will direct you to the best management company? I would say the one who only recommends a couple that they are not working for. Why is that you may say? A truly honest management company will really only take on homes that they know they can book. I myself try to stick with certain areas and styles of homes like Windsor Hills and Reunion. Some others may deal with town homes and condos better, I myself turn down nearly all town homes and condos as I struggle to book them. So a Realtor who directs you to one good manager has a lot of confidence in that company (assuming it’s not because they are accepting an under the table kick back) and knows what their specialty is.To be honest, it’s in your Realtor’s best interest because they really don’t want you harping in their ear every month about how you’re not making money or how all the bookings that were there have canceled (GHOSTS).
We hope you enjoyed this guest post by Stephen Walker, a local Orlando vacation home property manager. To learn more about Stephen and the services he provides please visit his website at www.SignatureVillasOrlando.com.
We hope to earn the opportunity of helping you achieve your investment property goals this year in 2012. For a free, no obligation investment property consultation with our Director of Sales- Lisa Arcia, please contact us directly at 866-422-6191 and if you have enjoyed this article please consider subscribing to our blog and stay updated on future information.
We’ve gone through dozens of applications and viewed numerous homes to bring you some of the best vacation homes and owners that Orlando has to offer. We’re proud to compile this list of unique vacation homes and outside-the-box thinking owners. We think each of these homes deserves to be recognized and certainly should be at the top of your list for those of you traveling to Orlando. Check out this week’s Vacation Home of the Week!!
916 Orange Cosmos Blvd
Why Owners Chose This Home: “We liked the model home and decided to one built newly and just across from the club house. Watersong Resort is uniquely located in a preservation area with beautiful woodlands and lakes.”
What Makes This Home Unique: “Of course all houses are built Tuscany style. Our house difers, because we had the furniture and most decorations and paintings imported ourselves from the Netherlands. High quality and contemporary design. Makes it stand out in the crowd.”
Marketing Strategies: ” To cater for non-English speaking customers I not only translated the website in the respective language, but also reserved appropriate domain names, eg .de .nl .eu etc. I also created a communal website or owners in Watersong Resort to publish their property on for free: http://www.amsport.nl/site. Also installed a Family & Friends discount program and a kick-back referal program.”
The Pink Flamingo’s Review:
The outside the home is very nice but unassuming and upon walking into Bou’s home it was like walking into a model home. Everything is so unique and I don’t use that word lightly!! I spent quite a bit of time just looking at little things like the wall decor, art work, furniture etc. I was absolutely enamored by all of the detail and work put into this home. When they had the home decorated they had everything shipped over from the Netherlands, so it’ all authentic. No IKEA in this house! One of the coolest things in the home was the little city landscape that runs across the top of the wall meeting the hallway and the kitchen. How cool! It’s little things like that, that really make this house unique. It’s also very tastefully upgraded and clean.
The real thrill comes when you walk outside into the backyard and your whole backyard is overlooking the most beautiful conservation areas. This is one of Watersong Resort’s major focal points, its gorgeous conservation views. This home is located on one of those direct view lots and it’s walking distance to the clubhouse so you not only have privacy in the home but convenience! What I truly love about the Watersong Resort is that it’s one of the few communities in the area that has really captured the Tuscan style architecture. The homes don’t look like any other community that you’ll see in the Disney areas and the clubhouse is very high end so you’ll get nothing but luxury here. It’s also very close to the golf course at Providence which is a huge selling point to golfers. . As a matter of fact, their guests seem to like it so much that they have had two purchase a home in Watersong before they left to go home during their visit!!
Bou and his wife are Dutch nationals and had visited Orlando before making this purchase. They both still work, Bou is a software salesman and has worked in both the Netherlands and Germany which opens up his market of renters tremendously. When they were in a position to purchase a vacation home, being in the Netherlands, they naturally considered places with a warm climate. They had friends that owned vacation properties in France, Spain and Portugal and had told them horror stories about security, and unreliable property management companies in those places. After alot of research Florida was their vacation home destination of choice and they started to explore the market in Orlando.
Owner’s like Bou who live overseas have such a huge advantage to tap into their network of travelers in their country. Bou is doing exactly that. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even have a HomeAway ad yet. He’s strictly doing most of this by word of mouth in Holland and Germany, which is very impressive! His homepage is also generating leads for him. What he did, that I thought was really unique and outside the box is he started an Orlando Forum in the Dutch language (http://www.sapg.nl/smf) and set up a content management system based website for Watersong Resort owners to publish their property for free. (http://www.amsport.nl/site). Owners can naturally swap referrals with each other on this site. They do advertise on Home Owner’s direct (UK) and VRBO. Bou’s goal for 2012 is to target the German speaking market with over 90 million people!
If you’re looking to rent a home that’s truly unique, convenient and private than The Pink Flamingo highly recommends Bou’s Home Away from Home in the beautiful Watersong Resort.
I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the reservations managers recently at Global Resort Homes and had a nice chat with her about the most commonly complained about items when renters get to their vacation rental home. Many owners lose bookings due to these factors and it costs them money.
Complaint #1. Pool Heat Not Working
This is the number one complaint by guests staying at Orlando vacation rental homes. The pool heat issues seems to happen quite frequently and it upsets many guests as they were looking forward to jumping in that warm pool after their long flight to Orlando. They will asked to be credited money back for the pool heat and in many cases if the issue cannot be resolved quickly they will want to switch houses.
Complaint #2. No Pool Cover (To Trap Heat)
This is one of those things that many owners don’t really think about but the guests certainly do. They complain about the pool not having a cover to trap the pool heat and surprisingly it’s a common complaint. I know many owners don’t have a pool cover for their pool as they find it unnecessary because the pool is locate din a screened enclosure but if the money is in the budget it may be worth investing in one.
Complaint #3. Carpets are Stained
The simplest things in life are sometimes the most overlooked things. If your carpets are stained and dirty your guests will request to be switched to another property almost immediately. One of the biggest reasons that people rent a vacation home in Orlando is because they don’t like nasty hotels. The last thing they want to do is walk into a nasty house. Keep your carpets clean and as free of stains as possible. Ask your management company to have your carpets steam cleaned at least once per year. I recommend every six months if you have a busy property.
Complaint #4. Ugly Furnishings
For the love of all things vacation homes. . . DON’T GO CHEAP ON YOUR FURNISHINGS! The less you invest the less you get in return. There are so many other properties in Orlando that owners have put in extra time and effort into the furnishings, this is your competition. You property may still rent with cheap, ugly floral couches but you certainly won’t be getting the high rent on the street and what you will be attracting is discount renters. If your goal is to make money at this whole vacation home thing than invest in your investment!
Complaint #5. Too Far From Clubhouse
This can be a big deal for some communities. If you’re all the way back at the end of the neighborhood and you don’t supply any type of bikes at your rental property than people are going to get tire very quickly of walking back and fourth to the clubhouse, especially in the middle of summer when it’s blazing hot. If you found a property and it’s an amazing deal but at the back of the neighborhood, don’t sweat it just supply your property with some bikes. I personally am a big fan of Radio Flyer wagons!
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Condo vacation rentals are a popular option for those not wanting to stay in a cheap and sleazy Orlando hotel but are looking for a value vacation rental alternative in Orlando. Many of the Orlando condo resorts offer a both five star amenities as well as top of the line decor all for often half the price of a vacation home. When shopping for a vacation condo in Orlando be sure to find out about these five things before booking the unit. You won’t regret asking these questions.
1. What floor is the vacation condo located on?
It may look fabulous in the pictures and the view may seem incredible but if it’s on the second floor and it’s a five story building you may run into noise issues. The middle floors are usually the nosiest floors to be located on and though they offer a great view, they may not be the best option if you are traveling with a small baby who wakes easily through the night. The last thing you want to be on your Orlando vacation is sleep deprived!
2. Does it have an elevator?
In follow up to the question above, if your condo is not on the first or second floor it’s vital to find out if the building has an elevator. Believe it or not, not all Orlando condo resorts have elevators and you could be stuck walking up three flights of stairs everyday. That may not seem so bad first thing in the morning but try doing it after you just walked three theme parks all day. Happy camper? I think not.
3. Is it gated?
Most Orlando condo vacation rental resorts are gated but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The benefit to being in a gated community is obviously security. Often times you will get locals looking for a free place to hang out for the day who sometimes utilize the facilities of non-gated communities and it causes the pool areas to get overcrowded. Go for the gates, you’ll be happy you did in the end.
4. Does it back up to a shopping plaza?
Always ask what your unit backs up to. Many of the Orlando condo resorts back up to shopping plazas or are built near commercial strip plazas. This isn’t so bad if you want to be walking distance to a strip plaza but to walk out onto your balcony and watch Uncle Vito dumping the trash out at the local Italian restaurant everyday just won’t feel so glamourous.
5. How close to the pool is the unit?
In an recent post I briefly discussed how important it is to be close to the clubhouse and pool if you plan on using it. Not only is it a pain in the rear to get into your car and schlep everything in and out everyday just to drive two minutes to the pool it’s more annoying if you’re not renting a car and you have to walk about 10 minutes in the blazing hot peaks of summer which, I promise, will suck the life out of you before you even get to the pool. Always stay close to the clubhouse if you want an enjoyable vacation!
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Every now and then I come across very funny vacation home reviews for the Disney area resort neighborhoods. This one was by far one of the funniest I have ever read! I still love Emerald Island!!
Emerald Island: DON’T EVEN GO THERE!
From: Trip Advisor
“As this was our fourth time to florida we knew what to expect,NO NO NO BIG MISTAKE,on arriving at are home we could not get in the lady at the clubhouse said sorry cant help you,we were told to ring are travel agent in the uk,what a joke it was 11pm back home,we finally spoke to the management who told us sorry the house you booked has been sold but she did have another house for us,when we arrived at the new house what a DUMP and i mean dump the house was FILTHY, FURNITURE was well worn we payed a lot of money for the house for it to be fit for SQUATTERS.after many phone calls we were finally moved,with only 4 days left to are holiday,we WOULD NEVER EVER stay at emerald island again even if it was free,back to remmington for me and my family nxt year only come here if you like DIRTY USED HOUSES CHEAP TATTY FURNITURE OTHER PEOPLES PUBIC HAIR ON YOUR TOWELS DIRTY USED BEDDING SIX MONTHS OF DIRT IN THE POOL AREA BROKEN GAMES ROOM LEAKING ROOFS AND A POOL YOU CANT USE DUE TO FLIES, if you enjoy this type of holiday then EMERALD ISLAND IS THE PLACE FOR YOU.”
The Pink Flamingo Says: Wow! That’s a good reason not to tick off your guests! Maybe they should dump the “tatty furniture” and clean the towlels. . . gross. This is also what happens when you hire a bad property management company!
Whether you are looking for a place to cool for this summer or you’re in the market to buy a family friendly vacation home in Orlando these three communities boast the best private water parks in Orlando and are sure to not disappoint the kids!
1. The Reunion Resort
The Reunion Resort water park is the behemoth of all the Orlando vacation home community water parks. It has a lazy river, twisting water slides, wooden boardwalk, water playground, full food and beverage service, sunny and shaded lounge areas and scheduled family activities Monday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Kids Crew adjacent to the Water Park. A huge plus about this water park is that it’s generally not as crowded since there is also another pool in Reunion. I love to come here for the day with my daughter, she always has a blast and we don’t have to fight off mobs of soaking wet kids trying to fight for their spot in line at the water slide. In order to take advantage of the Reunion water park you must either be staying at the Resort as a guest or purchase into their membership. If you are considering buying a property in Reunion I would advise picking one up that already includes the membership. That will save you about $20,000.
2. Regal Palms
In my opinion the Regal Palms Water park in Davenport is second only to The Reunion Resort. It offers the same type of activities such as a lazy river, water slide and kids splash area just on a smaller scale and usually it is a bit more crowded. Regal Palms is an excellent choice for a vacation home for those on a budget and that want to enjoy the same amenities as a larger resort. The water is warm year round and the kids will absolutely love you for taking them here. To enjoy the facilities at the Regal Palms water park you must either be a guest of the Resort or an owner of a Regal Palms townhouse. If you are an owner you have to pay $250 per month to be a member in good standing and utilize the facilities.
View All Regal Palms Resort Townhouses For Sale Here
3. Windsor Hills
The Windsor Hills Water Park in Kissimmee is a baby compared to The Reunion Resort and The Regal Palms Resort however, it’s still an excellent choice is you want to own in a five-star neighborhood at an affordable price. The water park consist of one large water slide, a splash area with fountains, a large pool area, convenience store, game room and fitness center. The Windsor Hills water park is more of a giant pool with a large water slide and splash park. It’s still alot of fun it’s just not as extravagant and large as the others. The properties in Windsor Hills are beautiful and most come fully furnished with bookings already in place. This community does extremely well with bookings and if your looking offset your expense of ownership for a vacation home near Disney this community is an excellent choice.
To make it simple to remember, we have three levels of government. All three levels have a part in this registration process.
Keep control over your assets and money!
In today’s age of computers and high tech, your utility bills can come directly from your own bank account that you set up here in Central Florida. The set up fee or escrow deposit should go into your own bank account and every rental that the management company gives you can be deposited into that account to keep the funds flowing. Copies of these bills can be given to the management company to verify they are being paid but the management company does not have control over them. This becomes very important if you switch management companies. You will not be temporarily out of business until licenses and utilities transfer. Do it wisely from the start and you should have no down time. No lost revenues. No shut off utilities and new deposits being required. No new licenses needing to be paid for again.
The reason we take this position is because although you might have selected a property management to look after this home, it is the home that is regulated and assessed. If there is a violation from any of the above agencies, the home and homeowner are effected. You as an owner are responsible for the actions of your property management company.
I like gated communities, I like them because they do a good job of keeping solicitors away and even though people can still get in, they just have the effect of making me feel safe at night. This post is The Flamingo Ode to the best Kissimmee gated communities near Disney. I hope you find it helpful in your search for an Orlando vacation home property.
The BellaVida resort in Kissimmee, FL is every bit as lovely as its Italian name. What it lacks in amenities it makes up for in architecture, charm and location. BellaVida vacation homes are walking distance to shops and have a unique Tuscan charm. Bella Vida is comprised of townhouses and single family villas. Many of the homes are brand new and also over priced however, there are some bank owned townhomes and villas in BellaVida that make it a worthy option for your Kissimmee vacation home purchase.
Emerald Island Resort
If you’re the kind of person who wants it all and wants it all for a good price than Emerald Island is the place for you. The Emerald Island resort features a Community Heated Pool, Fitness Center, Parks, Tiki Bar and Rec Building. The gate is manned and the entrance makes you feel like your at a world class resort, not a Kissimmee Residential Neighborhood. The community is comprised of Signle Family Homes and Townhomes ranging from $120,000 to over $500,000.
Bring your tennis racquets to Encanda in Kissimmee. The Encantada community is sure to be a vacation home you’ll enjoy for years to come with a guarded gate entrance, exotic community pool and clubhouse. The architecture and colors will make you feel like your in the Caribbean somewhere and the prices of these town homes will make you feel like you just walked into a Wal-Mart rollback special. Did I mention that some of the Encantada townhomes even have their own private pools with screened enclosures? Encantada has bank owned townhomes starting barely over $100,000.
Formosa gardens in Kissimmee, FL is a community unlike the rest. These estate homes have yards and they are not packed in like sardine cans. The community is an upscale neighborhood and is reflected in the prices of the homes. Is Formosa Gardens right for you? Can you justify the price for the return on bookings? My answer to these common Formosa Gardens real estate questions is simple. . . probably not. The return you get on the bookings will be a bit higher than many of the other short term rental communities however, it’s not going to be anywhere close to where it needs to be to justify the price. In my honest opinion, Formosa Gardens is perfect for the homeowner who wants to live there full time or the high end corporation who rents only estate style homes to celebrities and luxury travelers. Formosa Gardens is not a smart investment for the average vacation home buyer who wants a good deal for a good price.
Legacy Dunes Condos
If your looking for Kissimmee condos under $50,000 you’ve come to the right place. Legacy Dunes Condos in Kissimmee are not only the best value but the quality and amenities you get for the price of these condos will blow you away. The Legacy Dunes Community features: Two Pools, Clubhouse, Fitness Center, Business Center, Game Room, Tiki Bar, Tots Playground, Barbeque Area, Gazebo, Tennis Courts, Basketball Courts, Golf Driving Practice Net, Lakes & Conservation Areas, Covered Parking Garages, Two Car Washing Facilities and Two Laundry Facilities. Did I mention the condos are starting at $24,000? Why buy a new car when you can invest in one of these Kissimmee vacation home bad boys!
Paradise Palms Resort
If you like Encantada than you will LOVE the Paradise Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Though not for the budget conscious it’s definitely a real estate investment that you won’t regret making in the years ahead. The community is comprised of all townhouses but they are more like attached single family homes as the size of them is larger than many of the detached pool villas in Kissimmee and Davenport. The townhomes have their own private pools and the community amenity list rivals that of Regal Palms and Reunion. My favorite thing about Paradise Palms is their tot lot splash park. I love the fact that the children are not forgotten in this community and did I mention the gorgeous interiors and furniture packages? Somebody stop me before I go buy one. . .
I can’t believe I am actually going to say this but here it goes, “Location, Location, Location!” It’s true about Sunset Lakes in Kissimmee, FL. This single family home gated community is so centrally located to Disney it should be a part of the resort! Aside from it’s perfect location it makes my list for the reason that it’s tried and true. Sunset Lakes Homes have been going strong with bookings for over 10 years now. They are a solid investment for the short term vacation home buyer and the price range is reasonable. There are bank owned properties for sale in Sunset Lakes right now so you can pick up a deal. You can also pick up homes in Sunset Lakes that have transferrable bookings for 2009.
Whether you are looking for a condo, townhouse or single family home Windsor Hills in Kissimmee has it. This lovely gated community is only 2 miles to Disney, so technically you could ride your bike there to avoid parking fees (that was a joke but I am sure there are people who will do it). Windsor Hills is considered the Buckingham Palace of Kissimmee. The homes are absolutely gorgeous, spacious and grand and you will get what you pay for. Speaking of what you pay for, prices for Windsor Hills Pool Villas start in the low 300′s. That’s a small price to pay for a Windsor Hills address.
Windsor Palms (formerly Wyndham Palms)
Think of Windsor Palms in Kissimmee as the competitive big sister to Windsor Hills. Located just on the opposite end of 429 Windsor Palms is much smaller than Windsor Hills but is very comparable in every way. Windsor Palms offers Condos, Townhouses and Single Family Homes and the villa layouts are perfect for short term rental use. Many have double master suites and some of the larger houses go up to 6 bedrooms for maximum booking potential.
1. Vista Park
$602 per month.
Coming in at numero uno thanks to the mandatory rule that you have to use their property management company for short term rentals. The HOA fee itself is not so bad at $122 per month however this particular community has a requirement that you have to use their own property management company for your bookings and management. Their monthly property management fees are $480 per month. It includes pool and lawn care as well as pest control however when you add that mandatory fee with the HOA you get a whopping $602 per month. Some buyers would argue they could outsource those services for much less and others love the one stop shop effect.
Homes for sale in Vista Park
2. Bahama Bay Condos
$425 per month
Condo associations usually always have higher HOA fees for the reason that they include so much more than the typical single home community (building insurance, exterior maintenance, etc). The fees on this community may be a bit high but I was told by the HOA that first floor condo units pay less HOA than second and third floor. I guess it really pays to live on the first floor in this community.
3. Regal Palms
$385 per month
Regal Palms, one of the most sought after resort communities in Davenport, FL that also charges one of the highest amenity fees. The Homeowner’s association dues are only $135 per month which is very reasonable however there is a mandatory club membership fees of $250 that is required if you or your guest want to use any of the club facilities including their pool and lazy river. Oh and did I forget to mention the $10 per day fee plus tax on your bookings?
Townhouses for sale in Regal Palms
All information contained is pulled directly from mid florida multiple listing service and deemed reliable but not guarunteed. Information should be verified with homeowners association before making assumptions.
I came across this neat site a I was browsing the web the other day and I wanted to share it with you. It’s called Rentmeavacation.com and it’s totally FREE to advertise your short term rental villa on. It appears to be popping up on the first page of a google blog search with the search term “Kissimmee” so I imagine it gets a decent amount of traffic.
- It has a currency converter that is very easy to use.
- It has very relaxed blog feel to it.
- You can subscribe to the RSS feed to the specific area you are looking for a vacation rental in.
- It has mapping integrated in
- Unlimited picture uploads
- It’s completely free
- The search function is not very detailed
- There doesn’t appear to be any way to put your listing at the top
- Not very many bells and whistles
You get what you pay for but this is a great site to utilize as a free source of advertising your villa.
This concept seems to be a new trend and a rather desperate attempt at property management companies trying to put more money back in their pockets. This scam targets unsuspecting holiday makers who are staying in a short term vacation rental property. You will generally experience this after you have arrived at the home. It’s similar to the oh so famous time share prospecting methods.
Your unpacking, settling in and planing your week here in Orlando, all of a sudden you hear the doorbell ring. You open it up and it appears to be a nice man or woman dressed in everyday casual clothes or sometimes even a uniform with name tag. This person claims to be your “concierge” and they are here to help you with anything you may need. This pretend concierge asks if he/she can come in and check on the house to make sure everything is functioning just fine. Once in the door your done. You are now officially their prey and the predators one main goal is to SELL YOU A HOUSE!!!
Now that your guard is down and you think this person is your friend it’s time for him/her to play ball. He/she sits you down (usually at the dining room table) and pulls out some type of a folder with lots of worthless and usually cheesy information in it (this is just to distract you from their real goal) After the pretend concierge is done he/she will then ask the final question. . . “Can I interested you and your family in a free dinner at one of the local dinner show theaters?” Who is going to say no? Perhaps you’re one of the smart ones and you say “what’s the catch?” The catch is this, you have to sit through a 30 minute hard hype presentation with a Realtor from their real estate company while they try to hard sell you a vacation home. Once in that room with the Realtor their is no getting out without agreeing to at least view some homes.
To those of you who actually want to spend your holiday viewing homes this can be a win-win right? Wrong, and this is why. Anything they are going to offer you in terms of a reward for putting up with their sales pitch is never going to equal out to more than $50. It’s just not worth it to them. The Realtor you get stuck with may not have your best interest in mind and you were caught off guard any way. How do you even know if what they are showing you is really the best deal? You’ve had no time to research this agent, company or even the market and here you are getting ready to purchase a vacation home based on pure emotion. STOP! Take a deep breath, get to your nearest computer and start doing your homework. If you like this Realtor that’s great but spend some time researching the Realtor’s website and credentials and also consult with at least one other agent that you choose before deciding to work with this one Realtor. If you came to Orlando with the intention of making a purchase than most likely you’ve already developed some type of rapport with another Realtor who has been sending you properties online. Try calling this Realtor and getting a second opinion from someone who’s not there to hard sell you.
To avoid all of this hype and in my opinion pure abuse, you could also let the management company or owner know ahead of time that you don’t want any unexpected visitors and if they send anyone by they MUST call you first and explain exactly what they want.
I recently sold a house in Legacy Park in Davenport (that was an absolute deal). As a closing gift to my clients I had the home cleaned for them prior to their move in (houses can get pretty funky when they sit for too long). When the cleaning service was cleaning the toilet they noticed something very odd about the water, they noticed that the water was very warm, we’re talking bath water warm. They thought it was unusual for a toilet to be heated so they told me about it.
My first thought was. . . “What the heck?” and I pretty much spent about five minutes after that trying to figure out why someone would need heated toilet water. . . I still can’t come up with any reasons (well at least normal ones).
The significance of this is that the plumbing in that toilet is somehow connected to the hot water heater and is using a large amount of energy to heat that toilet. There is no hot or cold button on a toilet to conserve hot water so it’s just always sucking up electricity when the water heater is on. You can imagine what that will do to an energy bill.
After consulting a plumbing company about this I was told that this “glitch” could end up being a situation where in order to fix it the entire plumbing system in the bathroom would have to be re-routed or whatever they do. This could cost thousands. It could also be a quick and simple fix but there is no way to tell until it’s looked at.
None of us, including the home inspector, thought to stick our hands inside the toilet to “test the waters” however if that was done and we knew about this before the closing we probably could have negotiated a credit because of this problem.
So I stand here today telling all of you to stick your hands in toilet water when buying your next home (or pay somebody to do it for you). This two second act could save you thousands and possibly even give you a nasty disease but at least you’re saving money on your home purchase.
This is so important in our area because 70% of our buyers right now are Foreign Nationals and their main objective is to purchase a property and place it under short term rental management while they are not using it.
I just got done speaking with a sales rep from one of the new homes communities here in Davenport. He was giving me some of his marketing materials for me to pass on to my clients and was explaining to me about how his community is such a wonderful place for my Foreign National clients to buy in. When I asked him if the lots were large enough for pools he told me that only some of them were but you could not put a pool in all of the models. That is a huge problem because 90% of the short term management companies up here won’t take on homes without pools and the ones that do can’t really rent them. The last thing you want to do is spend $100,000 or more on a second home and not be able to rent it out to offset your expense.
To any prospective buyers out there who are considering purchasing a second home in Florida. I recommend you work with a Realtor who specializes in vacation homes so they can help guide you away from these potential problems. The sales people at the new home communities are great but most of them are not aware of the key factors that contribute to a sound second home investment. Have your Realtor escort you to all of these communities that you are browsing. The service is free and could save you thousands in the long run.
Haven’t you ever wondered what’s the deal with that condo community that used to be so nice but now it’s looking a bit run down, you know the one where half the community has a new roof and the other half doesn’t? This is yet another side effect of the foreclosure crisis facing America today. Condo associations, mostly newer ones, are facing serious financial crunches as more and more homeowners default on their payments and foreclose.
Many of the newer associations often don’t have enough reserves built up yet to cover the everyday expenses that are required to maintain the upkeep of the property. It makes sense, if nobody pays than there isn’t going to be enough money coming into the association. What happens when the community needs a new roof? New elevators? New paint? These things are required to be maintained by the Condo and Homeowners associations but lately there hasn’t been enough in the budget to cover it. Many associations are finding there reserve accounts tapped out.
Many homeowners in gated communities have been living with gates that don’t work and are always broken. They pay their monthly dues to have these amenities yet they can’t enjoy the benefits of them if they never work. One gated community in Winter Garden has a gate that is almost always broken. It sits open on a daily basis and anyone can just drive in and out of the community. The homeowners still have to pay their regular dues yet the association is unable to come up with the money to have the problem fixed due to their limited budget.
Until the inventory starts to clear out and more and more bank owned homes are purchased, this will be a common issue. Things like broken hot tubs, gates, old roofs and ugly entrances in need of some TLC will continue to remain in the equation. It’s a good idea to investigate the stability and financial condition of the Condo or Homeowners association of the community you are thinking of purchasing in. You don’t want to get stuck paying for someone else’s mistakes.