Short Term Vacation Homes

For more than a century, visitors from around the world come to Florida to enjoy the warm weather, beaches, glamorous hotels, golf courses, the exciting nightlife, and let’s not forget Disney World. Every year more visitors decide to purchase and become Short Term Vacation Homeowners.

Orlando is a prime location for Short Term Vacation Home investors as there is no shortage of options.

When looking for a Short Term Vacation Home you have to consider a few things.

First, are you interested in a condo, townhome, or single-family home? What type of amenities are you looking for in a community? Are you looking for a private gated community or more like a resort-style community? Do you want a private pool or will a community pool suffice? Are you looking for playgrounds, tennis courts, and a fitness center?

Next, will you be using the home several months out of the year and leaving it vacant for the rest? Or do you want to generate rental income, whether it be short (days or weeks) or long terms for the months it will be vacant?

If you decide to use it as a Short Term Vacation Home will you be managing yourself or will you need to hire a management company? Management companies will have a variety of options and price schedules to offer, this will depend on the services requested and on the size of the home.

Another important factor is the marketing and booking of your Short Term Vacation Home. Most management companies offer this service as well, for a fee or percentage. You also have the option to market and take bookings yourself as this will mean more money in your pocket.

And of course, once you are a Short Term Vacation Homeowner, you will always want to have excellent communication with your guests. This will ensure your investment is a profitable one as many families prefer to visit the same home every time and this will only be possible if you take pride in ownership.

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8 Things You Should Expect From Your Orlando Realtor When Selling

REALTORS Must Be Creative

Selling your home can be roller coaster of emotions if you aren’t mentally prepared, especially if you’re living in it. It means that you have to keep it showroom ready for any stranger with a pre-approval letter to take the ten cent tour. Then you stress about if they liked it or not… then you think to yourself….why didn’t they like it??  These are just a couple of examples of what some sellers go through.

Oh, and what about hiring an Orlando realtor to sell your home?… With so many agents out there, how do you know you hired the right one for the job? Just in Orlando alone there are over 8,000 active real estate agents!


The scary thing is that unless you do your research, you have no idea what their skill set is or their level of experience. Just last week I was visiting with a friend who owns a real estate school and she told me that every one of her classes are full… all of the time. Since it’s relatively easy to obtain a Florida real estate license people are clamoring to get one.

Many new agents believe that once they have their license, then the listings will automatically start falling into their lap. The truth is that only a small fraction of Orlando realtors are top producers, a good amount of average agents and the majority are so bad that they have no business being in the real estate business…but they are… so choose carefully.


So what should you expect of your Orlando realtor when selling your home? Your agent should be doing and practicing the following 10 things. If not, then unfortunately… you probably hired one of the bad ones.


If you are still searching for your Orlando realtor then use this 10 point guide to make sure you hire a hero and not a zero.


1- Honesty Is Their Policy

An honest agent means that they will always be truthful with you, even if it hurts. Honesty is also included in the REALTOR code of ethics. The problem is that sometimes you just don’t know just by meeting them. I’ve met some amazing liars in my time and yes…some of them were shady real estate agents. The truth will always come out …. eventually, the trick is to find out just how honest they really are before you hire them. You have to do your research before you commit or it will be too late.


Written testimonials aren’t enough. For all you know, they may have written their own testimonials. Ask them to provide you with some contact information of a few of their most recent seller clients and start reaching out to them and ask about there experience with Mr. Realtor. This will help you to separate the closers from the posers…


If they aren’t able to provide you with this information, then it means their clients aren’t willing to say anything nice about them or they don’t have any recent clients. Neither one of these reasons is a good thing and should be considered a deal killer.



2- Professionalism

Most homeowners assume that all real estate professionals are just that… professional, unfortunately, it’s just not the case.So how do you you know you’re dealing with a true professional? It starts with their appearance. Are they well groomed? Well dressed? A realtor who shows up in acid washed ripped jeans and a tiee die t-shirt probably won’t be taken seriously by a prospective buyer… or anyone else for that matter.


Being punctual is also a big part of demonstrating professionalism and shows that they respect the time of other people. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to schedule a private showing for a buyer only to be left waiting on the front door step for the listing agent to show up.


A seller should expect the same of the realtor they hire to represent them and their home. If I set an appointment with someone and they show up late without a good excuse, then they’re pretty much done in my book. Anyone who doesn’t respect my time , doesn’t deserve my respect.



3- A Skilled Negotiator

A listing agent’s job is to sell their clients home for the highest dollar amount possible in the least amount of time…period. Therefore they have to be skillful negotiators in order to be effective. They have to know what to say to the buyers agent and know how to say it. Reviewing offers and countering offers is a true art form and you can’t appear too eager to lower your price. Sure… it’s ultimately the sellers decision but a good negotiator should advise the seller on what the next move should be.



4- Creativity  

Selling a home is not just plopping a sign in the front yard and praying for an offer. Although many real estate agents swear by this technique. Sometimes they will even bury a statue of St. Joseph in the front yard….Yup, that’s a thing!

A good realtor knows how to market a listing. Each home has it’s selling points or lack of and they need to know how to bring to light the best of the listing and even make the bad stuff sound appealing. Everything from the angle of the photos to the copy in the descriptions must be considered and marketed in the best light possible.

At ORC, we create a unique video for each and every listing. Everything from the script to the photos and even the music is carefully chosen to create the biggest impact. I would have to say that creativity is probably the area where most realtors are lacking. Everyone seems to do the same thing over and over.


5- Experience

It’s true, there is no substitution for experience and being battle tested. Homeowners commonly make the mistake of not researching an agent’s past results and instead hire an agent because they are a friend or a relative…. BIG MISTAKE! This is not the time to hire your niece that just passed her state exam two weeks ago. Find out how many transactions they’ve closed recently and how their clients enjoyed working with them.


You should also be wary of the agents who say “ I’ve been doing this for thirty years” sometimes these agents are even worse than rookie agents because they may have the same mentality they did 30 years ago. Real estate is ever changing and you must have an agent who is up to speed on how real estate works today.


6- Have a Team


A great Realtor will have a team of professionals that they work together with like a well oiled machine. From a good mortgage broker to the best title company to a list of qualified appraisers, contractors and home inspectors. This makes the whole process come together like clock work and can make selling your home a pleasurable experience.


7- Be A Good Communicator


There’s nothing I hate more than working with someone with poor communication skills. If I leavre a message, I expect a call back. If I send an email I expect a response. If I ask a question I expect an answer. A good realtor will keep their listing clienbt in the loop evry stepof the way throughout the entire process all the way to the closing. Selling a home is stressful enough as it is and if your agent is keeping you in the dark about what’s going on it just adds to the stress.



8- Internet Presence and Technology


These days realtors have access to some pretty powerful tools that helps with everything from lead management to marketing a property to the right buyers with just one click of a mouse. Some realtors avoid using the latest technology because they are afraid of learning something new when they should be embracing it and using it to it’s full potential. Technology exists so that we can be more efficient in everything we do. Realtors who refuse to get with the times will ultimately get left behind because there’s just no way they can compete in today’s market place.


Tech savvy Realtors will also have a strong internet presence from a state-of-the-art website to being active in the most popular social media sites. Having a blog [like this one] should be a given. Having a library of informational videos on their own Youtube channel is also a good sign. A few Realtors will even have a podcast so they can cater to people who prefer to listen as opposed to watching a video or reading an article.

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Home Inspections

A home inspection is a very important part of the home buying process. Some buyers will try to avoid paying for one to save money. This decision can turn out to be a very costly one.  As your Orlando Realtor, I always recommend, better yet insist on one. Can you imagine closing on your new home without an inspection to find out the week after you move in that the AC unit and water heater were not working properly? Oh no! This alone will cost thousands of dollars in repairs.

Your Orlando Realtor will have a specific number of days to order the home inspections, this will be disclosed on your executed sales contract. The typical timeframe is 7-15 days from the date of acceptance.

It is crucial you complete the home inspection, you want to know as much as possible about the home before you purchase.

Another necessary home inspection is a WDO (wood destroying organism) termite inspection.  Visible wood rot is usually a sign of termites. In some cases, this is easily corrected. I recommend this, especially in older homes. You might also want to get a termite bond.

Once all home inspections are completed you will receive a thorough report detailing all items that need to be addressed. Whether it be that it needs to repair or replaced or maybe just needs maintenance. You will have enough time to review and discuss any repairs with your Orlando Realtor.

Quick story, I had a client that insisted he did not need a home inspection as the home had been completed remodeled by the sellers and they had checked everything themselves, so I had to leave it alone after weeks of trying to convince them. A few days before closing we go back to complete the final walk-thru, not only were none of the appliances working but all the windows have been shut closed with screws. What a disaster.

Fortunately, the sellers were very understanding and corrected all issues. This is not always the case…

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Top 5 Hints for Future Homeowners


I know it can be very difficult to find the right home. I know this from my 12 years of experience in the Orlando Real Estate Industry. I have worked with thousands of homeowners and every situation is unique.

There are so many factors that one has to consider before signing that contract.

The most common concerns are school zones, public transportation, hospitals, easy access to major roads, and of course employment. What’s the traffic like at 7 am and then again at 5 pm? How long of a commute to work and back?

You want to make sure your Orlando Real Estate Agent is very knowledgeable when it comes to the specific area or community you are interested in.

When you as a buyer start looking for a home you must have narrowed it down to a specific area. This could be due to a job relocation, new job opportunities, maybe the kids are in college and you want to be closer. The list goes on… Whatever your motive is to buy a home, this will be one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

Now that you have decided on the area, you want to pay close attention to details such as property taxes and the homeowner’s association or as we all know it, HOA dues.

This is a big factor when choosing a home, as this will have a significant impact on your monthly mortgage payments. The higher the property taxes, the higher your mortgage payment will be. You also have to remember to include the homeowner’s insurance.

The cost of the homeowner’s insurance will depend on the home. The year of the home, smoke alarms, year of the roof, basically the overall condition of the home.

Your Real Estate Agent should be able to provide you with a list of vendors in your area in order to facilitate the process.

Call me right now and let us find you the Home of Your Dreams!!

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Ravaudage Residential Project Stops

The construction of the mixed-use Ravaudage project at US Highway 17-92 and Lee Road in Winter Park has stopped. It is being said that the 73-acre development was halted partly, as its property-tax agreement was not accepted by the city. The agreement, as the Orlando real estate developer Dan Bellows says, would finance the public road and utility improvements.

Requests denied

Bellows had publicly said that the project will, in all probability, not be completed without the approvals. Orlando city has consented to the request made by Bellows where he had asked for a distinct district of property tax that will be separate from the tax agreement he was not granted. According to Jeff Briggs, the Planning Manager of Winter Park, the city has given the proposal for reimbursing Bellows a $6 million amount as development fees concerned with the project.

In the meantime, Bellows said that he is considering choices to de-annex the Ravaudage. If this is done, approvals for the project would have to be given by Orange County and not Winter Park. The latter annexed the area in 2012.

Uncertainty over project

According to Bellows, he requires the government to support the project as a partner. Bellows is an old hand in such unique projects. He has redeveloped a number of properties at Hannibal Square located to the west of Winter Park. The city subsequently upgraded the area’s sewer service and roads in the area. Bellows is an Orlando real estate veteran and has decades of experience under his belt.

Ravaudage has slipped in taking advantage of getting a stadium for the baseball team of Rollins College. A Whole Foods Market has also bypassed the project. Both the projects are situated in other parts of Winter Park. Unicorp National Developments Inc. and David Weekly Homes have landed contracts to construct at Ravaudage, but in the opinion of Bellows, both contracts are most likely to expire.

In construction news, Terry’s Electric Inc is managing about $10 million value of work in Publix distribution in Orlando. The company has landed a contract with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. The project covers about one million square feet of area. It is scheduled to be completed this autumn. Terry’s has also finished approximately $15 million value of work at the Universal Orlando Resort under contract with the Balfour Beatty Construction.

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