Want to buy a home near Disneyworld Florida but worried it’s all too complicated? Don’t worry, it’s child’s play with our ten-step plan.
1. Choose your location
The most popular area to buy a property close to Disney where holiday lets are allowed remains the ‘Golden Triangle’. This stretches from Haines City to the edges of Disney, taking in the metropolitan hubs of Davenport, Kissimmee and ChampionsGate. And being bisected by Interstate 4 ensures fast access to Orlando city and the airport.
2) Set your budget
Budget $90,000 to $135,000 for a two-bedroom resale apartment, $135,000 to $200,000 for a “town home”, which is usually like a terraced house, from $160,000 for a resale “single family home” (i.e. a house!) or $250,000-plus for a single family home in one of the most popular communities. Homes at the luxury end of the market can be considerably more expensive, including those around one of Florida’s many championship golf courses.
3) Can you get a mortgage?
Dollar mortgages on condominiums are practically non-existent for foreign buyers, including Brits, at the moment. US banks got too burnt in this sector of the market during the last financial melt-down are not quite ready to expose themselves again to non-resident investors. For town homes, single storey family homes and villas, finance is available to foreigners who tick all the right boxes, just beware there will be a minimum lending requirement.
4) Gather your deposit
Mortgages typical of those available to foreigners require deposits of 30-35 per cent, have terms of 30 years and rates of 5-6 per cent, and come without a penalty for early payback. Also to note, US mortgages come with a number of tax deductables that aren’t available in the UK.
5) Budget for ongoing costs
Properties within a gated community will come with home-owners association fees (HOA), also known as “condo dues”. Short-term rental communities typically have higher HOA fees as usually they have more resort style amenities to maintain than more residential communities. HOA fees cover most outgoings, except electricity and contents insurance.
6) Remember, smaller usually means smaller HOAs
HOA fees are based purely on the square footage (not the price of the unit or how many bedrooms it has). For example, if a typical 1,215-square-foot unit incurred dues of $495 per month, dues for a 1,375-square-foot unit on the same community would be $545 per month.
7) Consider condos
The restricted lending on condos mean the quality ones are good value for money. Looking forward, once condo mortgages become more readily available, agents believe you will see substantial equity price increases.
8) Who will look after it?
Most owners use a local property management company for rentals and managing their property. Owner should factor their agency’s fees into their outgoings. Two-bedroom units are the best for rentals in terms of occupancy rates.
9) Long or short term rental?
For pure investors, the consensus in the market is that long-term rentals are better investments than short-term, as they obtain a much better return on the investment (ROI). Single family homes, many available from just $160,000, currently offer especially some of the best ROI.
10) Buy a piece of a hotel?
The Golden Triangle is seeing a number of new hotel-style vacation resorts coming to market, offering buyers the chance to enter their property into a leaseback or rental scheme, which delivers a fixed rental return for a specified period.