As election fever cools and the USA gears up for a new presidency, it could be time to bag a Disney home in Florida. Here are some pointers to get you started

Article written by The Overseas Guides Company

Steady price rises, a growing choice of new developments and a diminishing stock of distressed homes – Florida’s property market is on the up as 2016 draws to a close.

Recent statistics from the association of Florida Realtors are encouraging: the median price of a single-family home was up 12.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 compared to 2015, reaching $224,900, while the condo-townhouse market rose 6.7 per cent to $160,000. Across the USA as a whole, median house prices are forecast to rise by four per cent this year and in 2017.

Here are five key things to consider when you buy your Disney home:

– Estate agencies work differently in the USA compared to the UK. All property for sale through a licensed realty firm in Florida is listed on the MLS system, which all realtors have access to, enabling them to act for buyers as much as vendors. Once you know where you wish to buy, it’s often best to find a realtor you’re comfortable working with and let them choose suitable properties for you. Your realtor will guide you through the whole closing process.

– If your plan is to rent out your Disney home to holidaymakers, make sure the property you buy is in a community that is zoned for short-term rentals. Also check whether the community’s homeowners association (HOA) has any rules regarding rentals.

– If buying within a gated community, check how much the monthly HOA fees are, so you can budget your outgoings accordingly. HOA fees can vary considerably, depending on the on-site facilities and communal areas that require maintaining.

– Finding an established property management company with a proven track record is crucial to maximising holiday rentals by ensuring your property ticks all the regulatory boxes and is looked after properly. Be realistic about what you expect to achieve in annual rental income. Typically, properties that achieve the highest occupancy levels are on a golf community with good facilities and near the theme parks. It’s not unusual for nicely-located four-bedroom homes to achieve 40-plus weeks’ occupancy a year, generating as much as $60,000 in annual rental income. Many of the best areas for rentable vacation homes close to Disney are in the ‘Golden Triangle’, an area that stretches northwards from Haines City as far as Highway 192 and the edge of Orlando and Disney, taking in Davenport, Kissimmee and ChampionsGate.

– Mortgages are readily available to British buyers in Florida, usually requiring minimum deposits of 25-30 per cent, with terms of 30 years and rates from around 5 per cent. Because these typically come with no redemption penalties and with the pound currently weak against the dollar, it suits some British buyers who would otherwise buy outright in cash to opt instead for a small mortgage. As and when the pound strengthens, they can pay off the mortgage and make a saving.

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For more information on buying property in Florida successfully, download the Overseas Guides Company’s free USA Buying Guide, or for other destinations download the France Buying Guide, Spain Buying Guide, Italy Buying Guide or Portugal Buying Guide – and start receiving free news updates by email.

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