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Buying a Florida vacation home?

Added: Jun 16, 2013
Category: General

Purchasing a home in Florida can be a daunting but exciting experience and whilst we aren't realtors and cannot arrange mortgages or assist with any of the legalities of owning a home in Florida, we can certainly impart our expertise when it comes to helping you pick a home that will attract a lot of rentals if that's your main reason for buying.


Location is key, particularly in Orlando. Its estimated that Orland has in excess of 50 million visitors each year and many of those are coming for the theme parks so having a home within 15 to 20 minutes' drive from Disney is a major factor. If you put yourself out of that driving range you may lose business and you will certainly get less returning once they have lost a large chunk of their special day at the park just getting there!

There will of course be a trade-off you will need to make in terms of the price you pay for the property and its proximity to a theme park. You may also trade the size of the property to keep it within budget but within reach of the Mouse - these are the first things you will need to decide.

The Property

Next, the house itself is vital. When you see it from the outside, is it impressive? This is what your guests will see when they view it online or in a brochure and will move onto the next home without looking at the finer details if it doesn't look at least presentable. Look for a minimum of 3 double bedrooms. Families are the key and particularly when they are coming from overseas, they will often bring the grandparents as it is such a significant vacation for the whole family so having plenty of bedrooms is a must. Obviously, the more bedrooms the higher your rental rate but your running costs will also increase as keeping a bigger property cool and cleaned is more expensive - getting the balance just right is difficult and its very easy to get caught up in the moment when you are looking at a house that absolutely wins you over. If this is an investment then don't let your heart rule your head.

Facilities play an important role, although most guests will see your home as a place to sleep the "extras" your home offers could be the difference between them choosing your home and someone else's. You must have a pool in Orlando, and ensure it can be heated in the cooler months this is mandatory for vacation homes here. If it has a spa or hot tub, that will definitely give you an edge in particular with snowbirds who may want to rent your property for the whole of the winter months.

Everyone expects a nice big flat-screen TV in the living area these days and if you can give them an enhanced cable package you will reap the rewards. WiFi is also seen as "standard" these days as people cannot be denied their social media and email access even when they are supposed to be taking a break.

Games rooms are often highly sought after as guests look to unwind after a busy day in the pool but if it is raining or a little too cool then the other type of pool is a good distraction. Table tennis tables, air hockey tables, foosball, darts and even basketball hoops are good additions and can clinch a reservation.

Added Extras

Other things to consider are perhaps buying on a gated development - its not essential but I think it gives renters peace of mind and has an air of exclusivity about it. If you can, go for a modern home, new build homes are always extremely popular and normally rent well but if you are buying an older property it doesn't mean that you can't make it modern/relevant. Keep things neutral for the most part but add splashes of colour - for example I think its better to have neutral carpets (yes, they're upkeep is imperative) but whatever colour you make your sofa or accessories, it won't look out of place. The same for walls -keep them neutral and light, add pictures or wall art to make a focal point.


Of course, once you have your vacation home and you are ready to rent it out, do some research with regard to rates. Make them as competitive as you can or you risk pricing yourself out of the market. See what other homes of a similar size are asking for and then work around that to give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

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