Florida is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and seasonal residents the world over. With numerous theme parks, zoos, beaches, and consumer-friendly tax laws, Florida is an ideal place to invest in rental property. However, Florida’s competitive real estate market can easily lead to potential buyers overextending themselves to acquire rentable properties. Because of the diversity of available properties, buyers seeking a vacation rental should look for property with year-round appeal.
Pre-qualify for a mortgage. Contact your bank or credit union to determine the amount for which you qualify. This is crucial to identifying what type of property you can afford. Vacation rental buyers should factor in down payment, property taxes, maintenance costs, and monthly mortgage payments. An alternative is to refinance your current home to improve your qualification rate for a mortgage on a vacation rental property.
Identify the market. Florida essentially has two destinations, the beaches and the theme parks. Each is a huge tourist and resident draw, but weather conditions will be a factor for beach properties (during the summer, seasonal residents return to their permanent places of residence). Market factors to consider are availability of renters throughout the calendar year, nearby amenities and shopping. Other considerations are flood zones, hurricane protection, and comfort amenities, such as central air-conditioning, a generator for backup power and backup wall or window air conditioners.
Research and identify other liabilities. Properties under control of a homeowner’s association may not be rentable or may have restrictions on renting the property. Other considerations are federal and state tax income implications, such as renting the home for more than 14 days in a single year. Homeowner’s insurance may also place restrictions or not cover claims that result from renters.
Contact a real estate agent or broker with a track record for identifying rental properties with positive cash flow.
Try to find a property located between Florida’s most popular theme parks and beaches—they will be less expensive and offer renters easy access to both areas.
Properties on the beach or close to theme parks are considerably more expensive than other properties
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