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Buying a vacation condo near Orlando/Kissimmee

Buying a vacation condo near Orlando/Kissimmee

Old Apr 1st, 2013, 07:26 AM
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Buying a vacation condo near Orlando/Kissimmee

We are Canadians who go to Disney World fairly regularly each year and we plan to retire in Florida or possibly Arizona. We have to research a lot more on the retirement aspect. We do NOT have a lot of money for a second home, but we are considering buying a vacation home, possibly a condo with an hour drive of Disney World that can be rented out while we're not there.

Since we're just starting out investigating if this is something we truly want to do or not, does anyone here have any pros and cons we should be aware of?

I'm a bit worried about the monthly condo fees, $500/m and I'm sure some are way more than that, seems excessive to me but perhaps it's worth it?

Finally, Is it realistic to have a budget of under $50,000 for a condo?
Darisha is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2013, 05:24 AM
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Not near Orlando, about 2 hours south, but these might help you; in addition, there are condos in SE Florida for as little as $15,000 in well-cared for communities.


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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 05:55 AM
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Do think about what you would do if there is a hurricane. Who will board it up for you? Who will check on it after the hurricane has passed?
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 06:05 AM
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AND who will manage it for the renters? Cleaning fees, etc.? You are out $6,000 per year from the start (and HOAs can be raised), it's a very competitive vacation rental market, and you will have to find someone who can be available for cleaning and prepping for the next guest, plumbing, and other maintenance issues. Even if you go through VRBO (vs. a management company that might not have your place at the top of their list for renting), there are many details that you can't handle from a distance.
p.s. An hour's drive from Disney is farther than families visiting Orlando will want to drive.
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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To answer or respond to some of your questions:

Why would you assume condo fees are $500/mo? There are plenty of complexes where the fees are much lower than that. Do some investigation and homework.

The market in FL is getting stronger, so $50K might be a little low, unless you want a real basic one-bedroom. Don't pay too much attention to the NYT story. It's basically about low-budget retirement communities not near Disney. If it's going to be your ultimate retirement home, you'll want to closely research whether it meets your needs. What you might consider is renting in an area to see if you like it, before buying.

Another consideration is buying closer to the (east)coast so that renters have the option of Disney or the beach.

If you rent out the place, you'll have too put it into the hands of a management company, since you're so far away. For a fee, they'll find renters and handle some the details, such as handing over the keys and hiring cleaning people. However, they charge extra to handle bigger problems, such as a plumbing problem, failure of a major appliance, etc. Don't plan on making a lot of money by renting. At best, it will offset some of your costs.
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 10:27 AM
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We are Canadians who bought a vacation condo in Bonita Springs, Florida 18 months ago. One of the hardest things for us was to zero in on exactly where we wanted to be. Next time you visit Disney, schedule extra time to visit two or three places that you think might work for you. In the meantime get in touch with a realtor in each area and ask them to keep you up to date with properties in your price range. I think $350-$500 p.m. realistic, but as someone pointed out there can be special assessments. If you are planning to rent out the condo, check the rules. Our association has a minimal rental of 3 months. There are a number of books out there for people buying condos in the US and we found these really helpful.
SusanMargaret is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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For the past 10 years I've lived in a "vacation/resort" area that is also popular with retirees. I can tell you quite a number of my fellow retirees rent out their homes (be they houses or condos) when they are not in residence. I can tell you very few, if any, ever break even let along make a profit from the rentals.

Buy the vacation condo because you really like the condo, it's in your price range and you want to live in the area not because you think you could cover some or all of your carrying costs by renting it out when you are not there.

Evaluate too, how much time you'll actually spend in the "second home" and during which seasons. Then try to determine when is the peak "rental Market". For instance, (assume you buy a condo near Orlando) if you are planning to be in your condo during the winter months you'll severely limit your rental potential since that's the time of year when all the snow-birds go south to avoid the cold norther temperatures - there's less of a demand for rentals in Florida during the summer months. Here again I'll give you an example experienced by some of our friends - most use their homes "for the season" so they are not available for rental when the tourists are in town. We get very few tourists during the summer so most rental units stand vacant.

Also, you mentioned getting something "an hour's drive from Walt Disney" - well that too is going to limit your pool of renters - not too many tourists going to WDW will be willing to rent a place that's an hour away - I know I wouldn't do that. So just who will you be renting to???

Who is going to handle the marketing of your rental? You'll need a management company to do that for you and they will collect a fee for their services.

Lot's to think about before you take the plunge!
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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What do you think of this one?

familyfriend is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 02:28 PM
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joined just to post a link to a shoebox-sized condo for sale?
sylvia3 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 03:53 PM
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I would not do it. It is becoming so crowded in that area and crime is rampant. Stick To New Smyrna Beach, Ponce Inlet, that area. You can still hop on I4 if you want to go to Disney. It is hotter there than the coast. You can get some great bargains on the space coast right now also since so many are out of work. 500 hoa is horrible. If you really want central Fl look at the Lake Mary area by Sanford. Not as crowed, have lots of friends in that area. It is still a nightmare getting from a to z on a given day but not as bad as Kissimmee. I would rent before buying down here. By the way, I have lived here since 87 and it has changed a lot with crime and that is what upsets me the most.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 03:54 PM
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Be aware of a couple of things:

First, the amount of time the US Government says Canadian citizens can spend in the US; I suspect your own Gov. has restrictions as well. Our Canadian friends here in South Florida are apparently restricted time-wise.

Condo fees vary greatly. I wish mine were ONLY $500 a month.

Taxes: you will be paying property taxes on the condo and a GENERAL rule of thumb in Florida is that the first year's property taxes run about 2% of the purchase price...all of that will be sorted out at settlement. You will be given a credit for the portion of the property taxes the SELLER owes for the current tax year. At the END of that year, YOU will be expected to pay the entire amount but you may very well get to pay the tax rate that was in effect for the seller. The next year you will be paying a re-assessed rate.

Florida may also levy a tax on the value of the contents of any property which is being rented...this may or may not depend on how often the place is rented out vs. how often it is used by you.

The condo SHOULD have rules in place regarding storms. These may include the necessity of removing furniture from any balconies or removing anything that might become a flying object. You may have to designate someone to be responsible for that IF you are not around and remember that hurricane season down here starts on 1 June and goes to November!

Does the prospective unit have IMPACT GLASS..ask that, and if so, to which standard? Those impact glass standards have been revised repeatedly over the past few years. If it does not have impact glass, does it have storm shutters? And are they in good condition..they really do require periodic maintenance. And shutters are not the end all and be all, believe me. During a storm as it moves away there is a vacuum action (as opposed to a pushing action as the storm approaches) and that vacuum CAN break glass BEHIND shutters since shutters are NOT one piece of metal. However, there are storm shutters which can be erected that are more solid than the usual "accordion" types.

Flood insurance. Is the unit in a designated flood plain?

Interior insurance. Does the building HAVE a CURRENT (within the past five years) Wind Mitigation Certificate? Any insurance company is going to want to SEE that. If the building does NOT have a current Wind Mit certificate you can actually have an inspection done on your particular unit for a low fee.

The RULES. Be VERY aware of any condo rules which cover how often, and if at ALL, you can rent the unit out as well as whether or not there are any pet restrictions.

Lots of things to be thinking about, believe me.
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