House Hunting in Orlando

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By Lorraine

Posted on January 29th, 2008

If you’re looking to buy in Orlando whether it’s for lifestyle, investment or retirement purposes, it’s a reasonably pain-free process and one that I thoroughly enjoyed when I traveled out there for a week last March.

I had been recommended to see a Realtor by a friend and so had arranged to meet him on the Monday morning after arriving in Orlando the Saturday evening.

I met him at his office where he engaged me about the area and general process of purchasing a home.  Everything was explained easily and no jargon was used so when I felt comfortable with the process ahead of me we then began to discuss property. 

I had previously been in contact from the UK where I had given a list of my requirements in a home, so that made for a good starting point.  Realtors in the UK not only have their own registered properties available for purchase but they can also access the MLS (multiple listing service) which is a listing of all properties for sale with all registered realtors.

He had prepared the information on half a dozen properties in different communities for us to view, some being on his books and some not.  We set off in his car to view for the remainder of the day with me reading and re-reading each property detail to try and prepare myself beforehand.

Some of the communities were gated and some were not.  He’d previously obtained all gate and property codes which allowed us access.  Properties are either entered via a coded entry pad on the front door or via a key box attached somewhere on the outside of the property also with a keypad to release the key, so gaining entry was never a problem. 

I was not prepared for how beautiful some of the properties were.  Some were lovely from the outside and some were nicer from the inside.  Some had overlooked pools and some had a view of a lake.  The overall size of some was unbelievable compared to the usual measurements in the UK. 

I took lots of photographs of those that had the attributes I was looking for.  However it was very difficult to weed-out those that were beautiful but not practical and I desperately tried to work with my head and not my heart.  My focus was a long-term project, one for retirement for myself and my partner, but in the short term had to be a good rental to “pay for itself” in the meantime.

I took this trip by myself because it was more practical than taking the whole family, apart from the cost, there was the time issue too.  The children would have wanted to visit the parks rather than view properties, and we felt that it would not be a focused week just concentrating on the job in hand. 

So in the evenings, my time was taken up by emailing the photographs of the properties that were under consideration to my partner back in the UK which subsequently followed with a long discussion on the telephone about our thoughts.

After three days of searching and occasionally returning to a few previously viewed properties, I finally came to a decision, so we put in an offer a fair way off the asking price, but it had been available for quite a while.  With a little bartering, we finally managed to reach an agreeable price which then instigated a meeting with a mortgage broker.  He was recommended by my realtor and provided me with all the information I needed in lay-mans terms regarding obtaining a mortgage.  It wasn’t important that my partner was not accompanying me at the time as any signatures required from him could be obtained on my return to the UK

A couple of short meetings over the next day or so with both the realtor and the mortgage broker pretty much wrapped it up for my purchase and it left me with some time to discover a little bit of  Orlando and the locale.

On returning home, during the subsequent weeks, we had occasional paperwork to complete and return to the US but with just a phone call, it was collected by courier.  The three of us kept in constant contact via email and occasional phone calls and I was updated on the situation every couple of days. 

Just getting into May and finally we became the proud new owners of a beautiful 4 bed/4 bath property in the West Haven community of Davenport.

The property was already a rental and we happily took over the whole situation from its current Management Company together with any bookings for the rest of the year.

So after months and months of just being able to remind myself with photographs of the beautiful house that I’d bought for myself and my family, we all took a trip out there just after Christmas 07.

I was a little nervous as we drove into the gated community, just wondering what my partner was going to think about seeing it “for real”.  But there was no need; he loved the entrance, the street and the property itself.  We spent 9 days visiting the parks, traveling around parts of Florida and best of all just living in our home.  We had intentions of buying a few items for it and spent the last couple of days putting in some finishing touches.  I took lots of lovely photos for memories and best of all to use on my new website.

So all in all it was a fabulous journey, relatively painless but thoroughly enjoyable especially on my part, at least I was the one who got to do the trip in the first place!  We have a successful rental business and a good relationship with the management company and between myself and them business is booming.

Wish I could do it all over again!!






















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