In helping clients who want to buy Florida real estate properties, we have two main aims:
- Firstly, to make sure that clients understand everything at each stage of the process, so that they can make informed decisions and avoid surprises, and
- Secondly, to provide the right level of support at each step, from choosing the right place to begin with, all the way through to helping them to get things done even after they have bought the house.
A key principle for us is flexibility, so that we provide just enough (but not too much!) input. That level of input varies client by client.
One example was a family who we encouraged to see the whole picture before making a commitment:
- A UK couple were being pressured by a salesman into buying “off plan” by selecting one of the last plots available on a popular development – but they had only seen web site information via the Internet while sat in the UK. When they spoke to us, we knew that there were no really good plots remaining at that development and we recommended that they should see for themselves before signing up. They flew to Orlando for a weekend and we showed them that the plot on offer backed onto a busy main road. We showed them other communities that matched their requirements more closely. By the time they flew home two days later, they had settled on a conservation plot in a different development, chosen all of the options (upgrades, colours, pool specification, etc.) and selected their furniture via an appointment we arranged. Our approach of highlighting every aspect of the deal, both good and bad, meant that the family avoided a costly mistake.
On the other hand, it’s when the house has been purchased that some clients have the biggest problems:
- We worked with a UK finance manager who had no trouble picking the house he wanted, because he simply chose the same floor plan in the same community as his long-time friend. His major difficulties were in setting up the place for rental after he had completed the deal. We advised him on how to deal with furniture company problems, showed him how to set up the utilities, coached him in the mysteries of pool and air conditioning controls and generally provided a point of reference for the many questions he had. He remains a friend who we regularly meet up with during his USA visits.
One of our most difficult jobs is to bring a touch of realism to clients misled by hype – this can mean recommending that some potential clients avoid buying Florida real estate properties:
- A UK bank manager contacted us because he wanted to invest in a Florida home. Like many UK residents, he was enchanted by the idea of owning his own place in Orlando, using it two or three times a year for family holidays and renting it out to other holidaymakers for the rest of the year to cover all of his costs. Several salesmen had convinced him that he could do all of that without any effort on his part – essential to him because his busy lifestyle meant that he had no time to devote to marketing his proposed new home. We showed him the true costs of running a holiday home and explained that the most satisfied owners were the ones that secured their own bookings – but this required time and effort. In his circumstances, he had virtually no chance of covering all of his running costs if he treated the place as a “passive” investment. He accepted our recommendation that he should invest elsewhere and not in Florida real estate properties.
Some clients need to have simply everything taken care of:
- One UK business owner wanted his dream home in the sun but he had no time to spend on Florida real estate properties other than choosing the development and the house. We organised everything after that – keeping a watching brief on quality during construction, selecting the furniture based on his wife’s brief specification, establishing the utility accounts after closing, setting up the house ready for occupation – so that he was delighted to arrive and see the finished product.
Other clients insist on basic pointers only:
- A Canadian client contacted us for her first purchase. She was very clear about her requirements but she wanted an in-depth understanding of how the short-term rental market worked. She insisted on knowing details about costs, rental rates and the practical issues of renting. We suggested some ways she could obtain bookings for herself. She bought a re-sale house in need of some upgrades and enjoyed bringing the place up to a first class condition based on our recommendations of what to buy and where. She has since used that experience to make other investments using her initial experience and our help.
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