View Full Version : Villas in Florida

WX Man
25th Sep 2013, 23:51
I know it's something us pilots do quite a bit (judging by the ads in the back of the BALPA mag), but does anyone have any impartial advice they could give me about buying a holiday villa in Florida?

I'm thinking about getting one myself... just doing a bit of research at the moment though!

West Coast
26th Sep 2013, 00:50
Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but when I look at property I use this web site. Good luck.

Trulia - Real Estate, Homes for Sale, Apartments for Rent, Local data (http://www.trulia.com)

26th Sep 2013, 00:55
Pancho Villa - YouTube


Loose rivets
26th Sep 2013, 01:05
You'd have to have a compelling reason to want to be in Florida. It's flat and might sink.

Its got snakes that eat sheep. It's got gated communities that require the grass to be cut to one micron accuracy - and if your palm tree is leaning over more that one arc-second, a little man comes and props it up and then sends you a bill. It is too hot in summer.

I suppose that's a good thing. If you've got a house, you can go to somewhere in the northern hemisphere that's warm in winter, but it's crowded with people that go there for winter warmth. They wear T-shirts into old age, and, gasp! They wear their baseball hats with the peak to the, the, front!

Is there is no saving some people from their lack of style?

However, 50% of these people will leave in the spring, leaving the other half trying to start their campers . . . or revving them having forgotten to take them off their props.

Catch the house prices on the way down. Ooooh, difficult one that. Don't want much more, 'down', after the purchase. Don't expect, down, to stop any time soon.

Then there's the hurricanes: You might just like those. They make things green - the things that are still there after it's left, that is. Not that broken matchwood is green, but you know what I mean.

Houses do get blown away . . . leaving the mosquito cages. I say cages, because they are a third the size of the house. Good for tame parrots, but they don't keep mozzies out, cos those critters are fastened to your body as you walk in.

Nice beaches have developments nearby. Fine - if you're in a development. Nice beach for ordinary mortals? Good luck finding that one.

2/3rds the way up on the left you might find a nice house with a swimming pool and deer that come to be fed in the cool of the evening. You might find it - if it's still there.

All in all, driving to the Keys is fun. Once. You can go up a tower and blow a conch shell. On St Patrick's day, you can stir a riot with a conch shell.

Hey, you can go to see where Pan Am started. Interesting that. Almost at the same time, you can see a banyan tree. Even more interesting.


Oh, and on the way, you can stop to see the African Queen. Not the guy with his hand on his hip, but the boat with Bogey and Hepburn's DNA soaked into the woodwork. (I think he should have thrown her over the side and kept the liquor.)

Anyway, apart from that it's very nice.

British OAP frightens natives.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Rob%20and%20Sue/DashboardFlorida2157.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Rob%20and%20Sue/DashboardFlorida2157.jpg.html)

Lightning Mate
26th Sep 2013, 07:49
It depends upon whether you are buying to let or not.

26th Sep 2013, 07:53
"Almost at the same time, you can see a banyan tree."

Come to Aus and see a banyan tree :O

We have the same type of OAP's :O

WX Man
26th Sep 2013, 08:58
That OAP looks in quite good nick? Must be something in the water.

I will be buying primarily as a business, so I need maximum occupancy. Not fussed about going there on hols myself- maybe once every 3-4 years if I haven't got clients in.

I want to buy a holiday home, so it makes sense to buy in an area whose tourist season is 12 months long and whose catchment area is global. Occupancy rates in hotels are at about 75-80% for one in the right area... not sure what the figure is for self catering villas though.

I have been told that the highest demand is for 4 bedroom places with private pool.

I also wasn't aware that the gated communities have such stringent regulations, but now that you mention it... they do all look very pristine!

Lightning Mate
26th Sep 2013, 09:09
If you want to capture the tourist trade, then I would suggest the Orlando / Kissimmee area.

It's good almost all year round.

Remember to factor in the costs of a good management and maintenance company.

One of the most important factors is a solar heated swimming pool.

Loose rivets
26th Sep 2013, 09:20
That OAP looks in quite good nick? Must be something in the water.

No, she's a witch.

Don't forget the buying and selling costs. NOTHING (yes, I'm shouting) Nothing like our deals back here. Selling, 6% - unless you find someone that will deal. Then other things (usually) come out of the woodwork.

It's surprising just how much the buying costs come to in Texas. Be aware they seem to mount up.

Pool? Mmm. Pool boy required. You may know, but they take an inordinate amount of time and money. 30k gallons is about the minimum to be taken seriously, and the chlorine costs pale compared to the energy used to pump it around for n hours a day. Blink, and it'll go green and have Triffids growing in it.

Extended family have just sold theirs. Deep breath taken with costs. It was not my cup of tea. Not allowed to fix my car on the front drive - but it was nice to arrive at a bungalow sized reception on a rose lined dual road and not only be expected, but to be called by name. Here's your keys, Colin, he said. I'm kidding. The security cameras knew my registration better than I did. He probably knew I had no gall-bladder. :ooh:

Oh, if you do buy one. Can I visit?:p

Lightning Mate
26th Sep 2013, 09:28
I can assure you that for the majority of renters a pool is essential.

Expensive yes, but essential.

WX Man
26th Sep 2013, 09:42
Yep! There's no way I'd get a villa without a pool. Much more marketable.

But still numbercrunching it. If a pool adds $20,000 onto the purchase price and $5000/yr onto the running costs, then it needs to produce an extra (4% x 20,000)+ 5000 per year in revenue. At least.

And solar heated pools... surely they'd get too hot?! I know in the middle east, they COOL their swimming pools in summer!

(If only there was a way of figuring out how to turn sunshine into air conditioning. Now if I could figure out how to do that, never mind buying a villa in Kissimmee... I could probably buy Kissimmee itself).

Lightning Mate
26th Sep 2013, 09:53
The solar heating system can be turned off by your maintenance company.

The alternative is to install gas heating and charge the renters for it at a good price of course.

Air conditioning and electricity costs are factored into the rental charges.

You may also assume that the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher will be in daily use perhaps more than once, so that has to be considered.

26th Sep 2013, 10:06
not sure what the figure is for self catering villas though

Erm, you may want to check this before proceeding....

FWIW, I know several people who have or had owned villas in the Orlando environs. Some do/did okay, others less so, one deeply regretted their decision to buy. Caveat emptor.

WX Man
26th Sep 2013, 11:44
That in itself is very useful information.

Seeing as my primary motivation is to let the thing out and run it as a business, giving (hopefully) a small return on the investment, I need a high occupancy rate. Are you still in touch with any of these folks who own villas there? I'd be very interested in getting in touch.

26th Sep 2013, 12:24
Make sure you research the HOA. (Home Owner Association). Where you have a large development the HOA is the company that maintains the grounds around the villa etc. This will require a payment from each homeowner. Because there have been so many foreclosures and houses left empty, it may be that the fees coming in don't equal the fees going out. There have been cases where the HOA has gone bust, these are usually the ones that are rock bottom prices.

If the grounds are all overgrown and the homes around are boarded up then people won't want be happy staying there. This was the advice I was given a couple of years ago but I think things are picking up now over there.

West Coast
26th Sep 2013, 13:22
I have an 83K pool. The annual costs are around $2500-$3000 USD. We don't have solar and I'm damn sure not going to spend the money on gas to heat it. This gives us a swim season in San Diego of about 7 months a year, based on the sun heating it to my minimum of 25C. During the hottest parts of the season the water gets as hot as 28-29C. Other neighbors with smaller/shallower pools have a longer swim season. Bottom line, think about the size and depth of the pool. We can get quite a few partyiers in the pool, but the neighbor is swimming in his pool long after my season is complete.

26th Sep 2013, 13:29
You will be lucky to break even. Couple of guys in work have places and reckon occupancy is around 40-50%. That is with them advertising on numerous websites in the US, UK and Ireland and generally spending every waken moment when not flying trying to rent them out. As an expat they sting you for non resident taxes as far as I am aware. And to make matters worse when you go to retire you can't even live in the thing as you won't have the visa (unless you are a US citizen/green card holder). We thought about doing this once but after talking to a very honest expat Brit who was managing the place we were renting we realised it wasn't worth it. Also you won't get the peak weeks you want cos they are worth lots in rental so you will likely get the use of your own pad in the wet/windy seasons. The shine will wear off as well no your family will likely say they any to vacation in France next year.

Like most of these things you are better going 5 star on your summer holidays happy in the knowledge that you are saving the shirt off your back had you brought and gotten into the holiday rental game.

WX Man
26th Sep 2013, 14:11
MCDU2- thank you for that!

FWIW, I didn't have any illusions of going there myself or renting it to family. Well... I will rent it to family if they want to pay the going rate :)

(Just call me O'Leary MkII)

Interesting what you say about occupancy rates... are those figures pretty recent? What areas do the folk that you know in work have their places? And are they villas or condos? With pool or without?

26th Sep 2013, 16:32
Pools are greatly overrated. They're like boats, nice to look at and a place to store money that you have no need of at the time.

Be very careful of buying something for the pool when you plan to let/rent. Your vacationer has lots of other things that they will do with their time and an occasional visit to the pool can be easily satisfied with a short trip to one nearby.

Now a Jacuzzi is another thing and is to be desired when it's too cold to use the pool

26th Sep 2013, 16:38
WX Man.....Forget the US, Normandy is now the buyers market, check out property prices, best deals over the past two years. Info from some City contacts.


Dak Man
26th Sep 2013, 16:42
FYI, I have a ~100,000 litre salt water pool (uses salt to generate chlorine in a little gizmo downstream of the sand filter) it costs me peanuts to run and heat and it requires little maintainance other than clearing the leaf trap regularly and even that should not be a problem in Florida as all the villas I've stayed in have covered pools / deck area.

Solana in Kissimmee was a nice gated community, Clermont also nice and not a gated community, both good links to Disney, Universal etc.

26th Sep 2013, 17:03
Dak Man wrote:

FYI, I have a ~100,000 litre salt water pool

In Toronto Canada? I guess the 100,000 liters of salt water originally started life as 100,000 liters of snow melt, no? A couple of winter days' worth of snow melt no doubt. :}:}:}

26th Sep 2013, 17:07
Agree, pools are a bugger, one slip up and you spend the next two weeks
trying to get them back to normal.

Dak Man
26th Sep 2013, 17:08
Funnily enough RGB, no.

Even though in winter we close the pool and migrate to the hot tub, the pool does not freeze, it's covered and the snow layer on the cover insulates the pool, of course the salt in the water aids in it's liquidity.

500N, a salt water (chlorine generator) pool is very easy to maintain and keep free of algae etc.

26th Sep 2013, 17:13

Agree. Salt water pools are easier to maintain.

I have a big one nearby. It's call the sea :O

26th Sep 2013, 17:20
And your nearby "pool", 500N, allows you to piss in it without fear of offending someone who stands aghast, looking at the slowly developing yellow ring around your pink tutu bathing costume. :}

26th Sep 2013, 17:27
Of course RGB, don't want to stand out from the ranger crowd :O


And here is you at the Annual Ranger piss up :O

26th Sep 2013, 17:28

You do know it's not a very good idea to post pictures of yourself on the Internet? Who's the other girl with you? :}:E:ok:

As for you 2nd photo. She's obviously some sort of freak but one with big... um... knockers!

26th Sep 2013, 17:30
Used to hate cleaning the pool. Then we got a creepy crawly
and that solved most problems.

The first house we lived in in Aus had a pool surrounded
by heaps of trees, a nightmare. Put me of "Natural" living
gardens for ever.

26th Sep 2013, 17:31
"As for you 2nd photo. She's obviously some sort of freak but one with big... um... knockers!
Trying to entice Slasher back :O
(although not sure he would even get out of bed for that size :O)

Lon More
26th Sep 2013, 19:03
As an alternative, how about buying up some retirement properties in the UK to rent out?
I know of several. 70000 each, rentable for 720 pcm (less 10% management fees) should give around 10% return pre-tax on your investment

WX Man
26th Sep 2013, 19:12
Funnily enough, Lon, that was my other plan. And judging by what people are saying about villas in Florida, I think it might be the way to go!!!!

26th Sep 2013, 22:23
WX Man,

Before you make any decision about purchasing a property in Florida,check out the latest news on "FEMA's Flood insurance update" and it is not very pleasant for potential buyers or sellers in coming years.

27th Sep 2013, 01:01
Make sure that you get a surveyor to check out the internals of the villa to ensure that there is no Chinese drywall (plasterboard) there.

Dream Home Turned Nightmare: Chinese Drywall Plagues Florida Homes - ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/RealtyCheck/story?id=7637590&page=1)

27th Sep 2013, 01:33
Just invest $500,000 and you are in.....

$50 million student housing set for Davie, to be funded by foreign investors seeking U.S. residency - Sun Sentinel (http://tinyurl.com/lr7pbk9)

27th Sep 2013, 01:40
Or you could buy into the Villages, an established retirement community between Orlando and Tampa for under $150,000 for a 2bed/2ba condo with unlimited golf, activities, etc. and total costs below $1k/mo., in a highly regarded community, where everywhere you need to go you can get there by golf cart.

I considered that, but decided on cashing out completely and moving to Australia.

27th Sep 2013, 02:14
It is misleading to say that The Villages are/is between Orlando and Tampa. They are 45 miles NW of Orlando and 75 miles NNE of Tampa ... about 20 miles S of Ocala in central Florida, HOT in the summer. Tampa and Orlando are about 80 miles apart, though the Disney complex is on the side of Orlando toward Tampa. The Gulf of Mexico coast (St Petersburg) is about 100 miles WSW from Orlando.

The Villages are Retirement, spelled with a capital R. I shouldn't think that you would find tourists there.

27th Sep 2013, 03:24
The Villages are Retirement, spelled with a capital R. I shouldn't think that you would find tourists there.

Tourists ??? Day trips is what they do from Thevillages

Ah but renters from all parts of the world looking for sunshine in the winter. It certainly is the place to buy a villa to let when you're not there and folks can't stand the dreary winters where they live.

27th Sep 2013, 03:37
My wife and I have friends who retired to The Villages a year ago. They seem really happy and badger us to do what they did, cash out of Michigan and take the plunge into a retirement community.

I think we've both concluded that we want to hang on to our attachment to the general, as opposed to the retirement, community for a while.

27th Sep 2013, 03:51
Good decision, Ben. Would get boring sitting around in God's waiting room.

27th Sep 2013, 15:32
BenThere wrote:

I think we've both concluded that we want to hang on to our attachment to the general, as opposed to the retirement, community for a while.Spoil sport. Think of all the Bingo games you can play. Or Parcheesi. Bridge even. Or bus tours to Dizzyland with all the other old farts smelling like talcum powder and shitting themselves in their Depends. Something to aspire to, no? :}

All while waiting for that day when out of nowhere, a loud booming voice says "BenThere? BenThere? Come home now BenThere. It is time." (Said just as you hit the Big Jackpot in Bingo that night. Damn it.)

27th Sep 2013, 16:01
500N.... " pools are a bugger, one slip up and you spend the next two weeks
trying to get them back to normal."

A frequent back wash of the filter (usually a type of sand) works wonders. And keep you pool skimmers (basket) free of collections. This can really help the effect of your friend chlorine.

How do I know this? I'm currently working as a life guard on the 787

27th Sep 2013, 17:25
Ah, yes, back washing.

Anyway, at the end of the day, it is still nice to have a pool.

Problem is the ducks around my parents house think
it is the local pond.

Dak Man
27th Sep 2013, 17:28
Yes I have a duck problem in the spring, amazing what you can catch in your leaf net..........

27th Sep 2013, 17:32
Duck problems. We have a goose problem at home. Don't get me started on that. To me, a goose is nothing more than a Flying Shit Bomber. And deserve to be cooked and eaten.

27th Sep 2013, 17:38

Agree, which is why I spend two weeks blasting away at them up north :ok:

27th Sep 2013, 17:40
Care to help cull the herd in CT, 500n? :}:}

27th Sep 2013, 17:48
I'd love to :O

27th Sep 2013, 17:52
Whether or not people who move to Retirement communities really like the places, I have a theory that the residents act as salesmen in order to try to justify moving there themselves.

Not many people would say that they made a big mistake and wish they hadn't chosen the place.

It can be depressing to be around ONLY old people. As they say, "You move here to die." A mix of ages is better.

Cynical? Who, me?

27th Sep 2013, 17:56
"It can be depressing to be around ONLY old people. As they say,
"You move here to die." A mix of ages is better."

+ 1

For some who have lead quiet lives, it is fine, others like my father
would not have a bar of it. He's still jet setting around the world
at 80 !!!

Two's in
27th Sep 2013, 21:11
"It can be depressing to be around ONLY old people. As they say,
"You move here to die." A mix of ages is better."

Exactly right. The Villages is just like Stepford wives for old farts. The HOA Board Members were all thrown out of the Khmer Rouge for bullying.

27th Sep 2013, 23:20
right. The Villages is just like Stepford wives for old farts. The HOA Board Members were all thrown out of the Khmer Rouge for bullying.

There you go, nothing but old farts

Course the demolition derbys that are held each day with their golf buggies does heat of the atmosphere some.