Every vacation home buyer has different needs. Regardless, the important items are always the same. Each buyer prioritizes them differently.
Here are our 10 top tips for buying a vacation home near Disney World and surrounding Orlando, Kissimmee and Davenport Florida in no specific order of importance.

Location

Probably the most common request is to have a property “with 20 minutes of Disney”, close to theme parks, shops, and restaurants.
The vast majority of the short term locations are within 20 minutes of Walt Disney World, but because of the scale and distance being close (as in walking distance) to shops and restaurants is a little more difficult. With the expansion of communities like Championsgate and Reunion Resort and the addition of new resorts like Storey Lake Resort and Windsor Island, there is a range of amenities on site.
Each offers different location benefits in relation to Disney, but on the whole the vast majority of resorts are in good or very good locations. So our advice is that unless you are in need of something specific, don’t dwell too long on the longitude and latitude of your target home.
See a map of the resort locations HERE

Condition of Vacation Home

Vacation homes resales come in various levels of condition. Suffice to say that very few owners spend a lot of resources on updating their home when they list it to sell. The best policy may be to buy a new home and furnish it yourself if you don’t want to invest in improvements right away. Otherwise, you should budget some additional funds to “freshen” up your newly purchased resale vacation home. A fresh lick of paint, a carpet cleaning, and some new bed sheets won’t break the bank and will make all the difference. This is especially pertinent when dealing with the number 3 tip….

Photographs

You have most likely stayed at a vacation home at some point if you are considering buying one. That means you have surfed the property management or house rental websites to decide which to rent. The number one thing that makes a renter choose one house over another in the same location are the pictures.
Make sure you do what it takes to get great inviting pictures that show how your property will allow for that dream vacation. Hire a professional and do it properly. It will pay you back many times over.
Owners spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a beautiful home only to have horrible photographs taken is a mistake we see over and over again. Don’t be that person.

Calculating the Returns on Investment

DO NOT take someone else’s word that you’ll be able to retire on the proceeds from renting your vacation home.
Most buyers don’t know that they can do the calculations themselves. Some basic research and good representation will ensure you know exactly what to expect financially.
If you happen to know where you can find an INTERACTIVE SHORT TERM RETURN calculator – you’ll be way ahead of the game. No one gets rich renting vacation homes; the secret is not to get poor!
Here is a great page on rental return expectations.

Furnishing Your Vacation Home

We’ve noticed recently how well properties with modern professionally decorated furniture packages are renting over the older, more traditional looks. It seems that there is a distinct difference among the selection of vacation rental homes more than there ever was before.
The professional vendors we now use to furnish homes have really stepped up their decor over the last year or so and provide a very noticeable difference. Modern brightly furnished homes rent better than older dark traditional homes. Brilliant Captain Obvious, but you’d be amazed how many owners don’t get that.

Community

The new big resorts have vastly improved over the last few years. Developers have scrambled to improve the infrastructure of the resorts so they can sell their product, and it has worked.
The Retreat at Championsgate, The Encore Club, and Storey Lake have all gone above and beyond to be bigger and better. The positive side of this is you can get an awesome deal on some of the classic resorts, and with that lick of paint and some good pictures, you can make a nice return on your investment.
If you can – pony up for a resort with gated security, a decent community pool, and an association that maintains the landscaping well. Your investment strategy will appreciate it from both a rental return and exit strategy perspective.

Security

Many of the better-known traditional resorts and all of the new resorts have manned gated communities with 24-hour security.
Many others provide electronically or carded security. Vacation home buyers appreciate the additional comfort of knowing their investment has additional security, and for many, it’s one of the more important points of consideration.
Hiring a bloke to stand at a gate all day (and all night) costs money, of course, and that takes us nicely to….

Home Owners Association and/or Membership Fees

Contrary to what many believe that HOA fees should be lower in their perfect scenario, HOA fees generally reflect shared funding by the ownership to improve security, landscaping, and recreational aspects of the resort.
These, in turn, allow an owner the opportunity to generate better revenue and have a better package for their own use. HOA fees are actually a good thing – if you take away the fact you have to pay them. Read More HERE

Property Management

Very little effects the success of your investment more than the property management company. There are hundreds in the Orlando area, and choosing the right one for you is a primary goal for your investment home – as well as your sanity.
From small family-owned ventures with a few homes to the large international entities with many hundreds of homes, the choices are endless for vacation rental property management.
It’s not about picking the most popular. It’s about selecting the one that’s best for you, your property, and your investment goal.
But how does one do that with so many to choose from? Easy, that would be simply resolved via tip #10…

Representation

It’s number ten on the list, but it should be everyone’s number #1.
The single most important thing you can do to ensure your success with a vacation home purchase is to make sure you are working with someone who knows what they are doing. You will not realize how valuable it was to have had good representation until it is too late.
Do not compromise on your representation. Work with the best. Read more HERE.
For everything else you need to know (Shameless plug coming up), I recommend reading a copy of my book – “The Vacation Home Buyers Guide “. It’s Free.

There is no better feeling than receiving the keys to your new vacation property in Orlando, Florida – other than the many new friends and family members you will instantly and amazingly acquire.

Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help make that dream come true!