We’ve collected the most common questions that we receive when buyers are considering which Florida homes for sale they should focus on. Please read through the answers we’ve added below to see if this give you at least some of the essential background you need. There is a link to part 2 of this series of questions at the foot of this page:
1. Choosing the right Florida homes for sale
Q. How do I decide where to buy?
For short term rental homes, there are specific locations south and west of Disney and some south-east of Disney.
If you’re planning to buy a long-term rental home, your choices are wider and we can help you to narrow things down once we’ve talked to you so that we understand your objectives a little . There are also some locations that would definitely not be our first choice, so let us help you to identify those early on!
All of this is something that we are happy to discuss with you by phone ahead of any visit you make and then show you in person via a brief “tour” when you get here.
Q. How do I find the right properties?
- First and most important: regard everything you’ve read on the Internet with immense suspicion and resolve to make no final decisions until you have visited Florida and seen things for yourself. Run a mile from anyone who tells you that you have to buy “now!” or who tells you about “guaranteed rentals” or who suggests that you can buy without coming over to see for yourself.
- Find someone that you can trust to explain how things really work and who will discuss the alternatives with you (we do that; if not us, find someone else who is as open).
- Be prepared to have one or more phone calls with this “someone” before you visit Florida to explain what you’re trying to do and to get answers to as many questions as you have. And consider the recommendations that your “someone” makes. That way, whoever you’re working with can start to focus on the right homes and help you make the right contacts (e.g. with property management people) when you do actually visit.
- Allocate some time when you start your search in Orlando to visiting the most suitable areas and communities, to narrow things down and to then zero in on the right sort of property.
Using your short list, visit each property or new home builder and make your selection.
- Meet with appropriate professionals to get other things going – property management companies, furniture suppliers if necessary, a bank manager, and so on.
- Keep asking questions all the way through to make sure you understand how things work.
Q. Are short-term or long-term rental homes the best?
Both have their pros and cons. If you want to use it yourself when it’s not rented out, you need to go for a short term rental property. This must have a pool and it must be furnished. You will need a management company in Orlando to take care of things when you’re not here.
If you have no plans to use the home yourself and you’re just looking for a way to generate income, you have the option of going for a long-term rental property. In Florida, long-term rentals are for more than 6 months at a time, and usually for 12 months. Typically this would be a 4 bedroom home without a pool and without furniture, if you aim to attract the largest market segment for this type of renter.
Short-term and long-term are two very distinct “products”, each with it’s own advantages and disadvantages and economics.
Q. Do I need a pool?
Yes, a property is virtually un-rentable without it in the short-term market: this means a private pool for detached (“single-family”) homes or community pool for condos / townhouses. We also recommend that you should get a property with a spa/hot tub if you buy a single-family home, as this is a strong feature that many rental clients want.
If you plan to buy a long-term rental property, you have a wider choice of Florida homes for sale and we need to talk with you in some detail to match your requirements with whats available here.
Q. Is [Insert name of a community] a good place to buy?
Do you know the community? Do you recommend it?
It could be just right for you, but we need to know a little more about your plans and objectives before commenting further. There are many Florida homes for sale and we deal with all of the short-term rental communities around Orlando plus with real estate across Central Florida, whether that’s for a long-term rental or just for your own use. So we’d like to (a) learn a little bit more about what you’re planning to do and (b) give you a few other ideas to compare with [Insert name of a community] to make sure that it’s the best for you.
Q. Is it a good time to buy a rental home in Orlando?
Will property prices increase? Is it a good investment?
The asking prices of Florida homes for sale have increased by more than 10% for each of the past three years, so that’s a big positive. They are not yet back to where they were a few years ago, so many experts expect increases to continue and a lot of buyers are convinced about the potential “upside”. There are now more homes for sale as new builders have returned to the market after some recent “lean” years and individual owners who previously held off selling now believe prices have recovered enough. But nothing is guaranteed, of course.
To decide whether it’s a good time for you, we would need to learn more about your circumstances. And overall, it’s like any investment: if you’re planning to put your whole life savings into it and you cannot afford any risk, you should probably think twice before going ahead. If you see it as part of a balanced portfolio, it probably makes a lot of sense. Regardless, let us help you to understand the real costs and issues involved and to interpret some of the “too good to be true” stuff that you will read on the Internet so that you can make an informed decision.
Q. How do I get help to find the right Florida homes for sale?
- Use us, or someone like us, with a track record and experience of getting it right. We have bought, sold, managed, leased, built and renovated homes here – use our free expertise.
- Don’t succumb to pressure selling – make sure you have the knowledge before you commit.
- Don’t believe Internet sites – including Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com. See for yourself, because after all, it’s your money!
Q How does the buying process work?
(i) For all Florida homes for sale:
- Talk to your Realtor ahead of your visit to communicate objectives, must-haves, budgets and other requirements
- Sort out your financing in advance – the home seller will want to know. Have available a proof of funds or a pre-qualification letter if financing
- Tour the various communities to narrow down the place(s) that interest you
(ii) New only:
- Visit the new builder offices with your Realtor to see available floor plans, lots and other options
- Prepare a short list if required, re-visit if required and decide on what/where to buy
- Finalize your selection of lot, floor plan and other choices e.g. Tiles, cabinets, pool size and style
- Sign contract
- Pay initial money (it varies from builder builder, assume around $5000)
- Schedule payment of balance of deposit
- Apply for loan, if relevant
- Order furniture, decide on management company
- Check on progress during 4-6 month build process
- Ask Realtor to handle final walk-through and Closing if you won’t be there
- Finalize funds and/or wire amount due
- Collect keys & enjoy!
(iii) Resale only:
- Review sample properties identified by your Realtor in advance of your visit. Narrow down as appropriate
- On your visit, view properties as scheduled with Realtor
- Prepare a short list if required, re-visit if required and select the one to buy
- Sign contract prepared by Realtor. Deal with any counter-offers and agree terms.
- Pay Escrow money to Title Company (typically $5000)
- Decide on management company
- Apply for loan, if relevant
- Have home inspection completed & ask for repairs
- Wire balance of money
- Complete pre-closing walk-through & sign final papers
- Collect keys!
- Schedule any home or furniture improvements
For the answers to more questions that you might have, please visit this Florida houses for sale page.