BUYING A VACATION HOME
Orlando has the largest tourist industry in the world and thanks to Disney, it attracts 53 million people to Orlando every year. Consider purchasing your very own vacation home to enjoy Orlando attractions and the wonderful Florida weather when you need that get-a-way.
Vacation homes are found around Disney in Orlando, Davenport, Kissimmee, South Clermont, and areas surrounding International Drive. Many of the these communities are zoned for short term rentals which means you have the option of renting out your home during the times you are not occupying the home to other vacationers, or simply use as a second home.
If you are wondering how you can manage a rental if you live out of the area, that is not a problem, as there are many property management companies that will handle everything from furnishing and marketing the home, to handling the guest check in and emergency repairs.
There are many homes to select from; single family homes, condominiums, townhomes, and condominium hotels. All types are good choices, depending upon your particular needs.
RENTING YOUR VACATION HOME
There are many benefits to having a second home, particularly for the international buyer who wants to take advantage of the weak US dollar, and a make real estate investments a reality by owning a piece of Florida. You may consider buying a vacation home to rent out while you are not utilizing it.
What criteria should you look for in a vacation home you want to rent? Overall, location and proximity to Disney is number one feature guests want for a vacation rental. Ideally, you want to be 10-15 minutes away, but no more than 20-25 minutes. Secondly, amenities! Guests want activities at the home during times not visiting the attractions.
Deciding what type of home to buy? Single Family, Townhome, Condominium, or Condo Hotel? All of these types of home generate booking opportunities, so it may come down to your budget. The number of bedrooms is more important than square footage, while all sizes and styles can offer a satisfying experience for the guest.
Single Family Homes:
You have the opportunity to rent to multiple families with the privacy of their own pool. Having a pool in this type of home is necessary and should be heated in order to maximize booking for guests all year round. Single-family homes can offer more amenities within the home such as pool table, back yard BBQ, ping-pong table of living area simply because there is more space. In addition, some of the homes are in communities that have community pools, tennis courts, playgrounds and boat docks, which are always a plus. In a single family home, you are responsible for repairs and maintenance to both the interior and exterior of the home.
Condominium or Town Home:
These are attached homes. Condos units are a one-story unit located on any floor from the first floor to the penthouse on top floor in a multi floor building, while town homes are generally two stories (floors) within the unit. Typically, there are many community amenities such as a pool, playground, tennis courts, volley or basketball, clubhouse, fitness rooms, movie theater, or arcade room. It is important to have a heated pool in the complex in order to rent your unit year round. There are always Home or Condo Owner Association Fees charged should include maintenance of all the common amenities, and exterior building maintenance. The owner is responsible for interior maintenance, repairs, and interior insurance for condos, and interior and exterior insurance for townhomes.
Orlando has been rated as the third largest condo hotel market. This is a fairly newer concept in which a condominium building has individual ownership, but is managed like a hotel. There is a front desk reception for guest check in, to onsite cleaning service, and an assortment of amenities. They have resort style pools, on site restaurants, gift shops, onsite travel services, activities and some offer transportation to the attractions. They offer accommodations from basic efficiencies to luxury spacious living areas. There is also a Condo Owners Association Fees. These are truly set up for vacations use, with some limiting the amount of time the owner can occupy the property typically no more than 3-6 months per year.
SELECTING A PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
There are many property management companies with a mix of some that are very good and some that are only second rate. You initially want to consider how professional they are, how quickly they answer your inquires, and how knowledgeable they are about the business. You will want to briefly interview them and request a copy of their management agreements. The management agreement will explain their services and fees, and if you want to add something or modify the agreement, most companies are agreeable. What the management agreements do not show is their process of getting bookings, managing your money, communications with the owner, how they handle repairs, some are silent on what income the owner receives, minimum required furnishings.
Here is some background information to help you review the company information. These companies will do everything from A to Z such as marketing the property for you, handling reservation/guest check in, guest inquiries, arranging emergency requests, arranging maintenance & repairs of your unit, paying bills on your behalf, collect your income and provide you payments and reports. They typically charge a monthly management fee for these services.
You will have initial start up costs that will cover expenses such as obtaining proper licenses, changing locks, adding lock box for keys, making sure it is fire code ready (with working extinguishers & fire exit signs). After you select a property management company, they will do a walk through of the property to make sure you have the minimum required furnishings, such as towels, dishes, TV and so forth. They may make additional suggestions to make your property more marketable, for example adding a TV’s in a certain room, DVD player, or having wireless access, which is a desired feature.
Escrow money is required by management in order to pay bills and/or repair items on your behalf. If you decide to pay your own utilities bills, then escrow amounts may change. In order for them to arrange for licenses and make payments on your behalf they will have you sign a Power of Attorney so they can handle dealing with vendors on your behalf.
Most all of the companies have a website that market directly to the consumer, and have partner websites in other countries such as Canada & UK. Most all of them have relationships with travel agents and tour operators to book rooms. The overnight rate & commission rate to the management company will vary depending who rents your unit. You will receive either a percentage of what the management company receives or flat rate based on nightly rate. Nightly rates also fluctuates based on high season vs. low season.
For additional information, to discuss areas, prices and options, or simply answer your questions, please contact us by phone (407-539-1053) or e-mail.