Investment, Money Matters, Property management

Tourist to vacation home owner


Florida has long been a top holiday destination for travelers around the world. What many may not know however is how many tourists who simply come for a holiday end up purchasing real estate after the first or second visit. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Orlando where for the past 25+ years, visitors have been purchasing homes, condos, and villas around the Disney World area with the purpose of enjoying the home during future visits and renting the property the remainder of the year. There is an entire area that sits between Kissimmee, Clermont, and Davenport that is home to holiday makers from around the world who prefer to stay in luxurious holiday villas with private pools, up to 9 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and just a hop away from the parks and other destinations.

So how does someone go from being on holiday to purchasing a home, whether in Orlando, Sarasota, Miami or anywhere else for that matter?  Let’s explore how many of us vacation these days as we don’t always think to call a hotel anymore.  With an advent of websites like AirBNB and HomeAway, the popularity and availability of home rentals in almost every market offer the possibility of an endless number of potential renters. Today’s apps and instant access to such sites have essentially changed the way in which we book our stays, much like we don’t think to call for a cab these days but now order an Uber instead. Short term rental homes are not new to the market and have always been popular in many resort areas where vacation homes are rented much like a hotel when the owners are not enjoying the property. In such areas where there is an established market of ‘vacation rentals’ you will usually find that there are established licensing / permitting requirements, and that the standards of properties to be more like that of hotels with companies that specialize in in rentals that conform to the local rules. In the past, holiday home owners were largely at the mercy of the management company that they hired to fill the property with rental bookings. These days it is very easy for home owners to participate by adding additional rentals and therefore revenue by listing their property on booking sites.

If you happen to be staying in a property in a resort style area, it is quite tempting to picture yourself owning such a home and this is how so many begin the process. It obviously varies from city to city but if we focus again on Orlando as it has such an established area for such rentals, many realize that they can essentially purchase the home with a mortgage and let the rentals help to pay for the ongoing expenses. Foreign buyers can expect to get a mortgage of up to 75% of the purchase price while US residents can get 80-90% financing (this varies from city to city and between property types). Many of the homes even have an owner’s lockup area where personal belongings can be left in between visits and as owners return to their home.

Many people who purchase enjoy the best of both worlds, they feel a part of the community that they once simply visited, often using their home as a base to discover other nearby areas while spending holidays comfortable and relaxed in familiar surroundings. As the focus has been largely on Florida homes, there is the additional benefit that many areas in Florida are still extremely affordable as the cost of living is still substantially below many other areas of the US and the world. Vacation or holiday home buyers can still expect to find a detached villas with 4-5 bedrooms / bathrooms, a large swimming pool and upgraded, modern open design for prices in the mid $300,000’s.

While it has been a popular practice for the past 2 to 3 decades, a new generation of rental websites, more access to information and knowledge, a relatively steady US dollar and loosening financing requirements have again created a perfect environment for a new generation of holiday makers come holiday home owners.  So the next time you go on holiday, it might be more than a Mickey Mouse t-shirt that you come home with, after all who doesn’t want their own little piece of paradise and if you can find people to help you pay the bills on it while you enjoy it and let it appreciate, well the sun just shines a little brighter.

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Florida, holiday, live in the US, immigration, lifestyle