Archive for 2015

HOA Fees – a necessity if you are buying an investment property in the Disney/Orlando area

Terry Riffe | October 22, 2015

HOA FEES 2If you plan on buying an investment property in the Disney/Orlando area, you should be aware that you will be required to pay Homeowner Association (HOA) fees.

The HOA is a community’s governing body that sets/ enforces rules and carries out common area maintenance and upkeep.

A planned development’s HOA can make and enforce rules like what type and size of pets are allowed to possess, what color you can paint your home, the types of decorations you may have displayed outside or even what types of vehicles you can park in your driveway. And, it can enforce these rules with penalties, fines and even foreclosure. For this reason, many are not happy about having to pay these annual dues.

But, there are also many ways that the HOA benefits those living in these communities, many that you may not be able to see or are aware of.

Some of the more generally known benefits of an HOA are the visual ones. Benefits such as upkeep and maintenance of the community pool, gym and any community play grounds or dog parks.

But there are benefits of an HOA that you can not see. Your HOA carries property insurance and liability insurance on all of those common areas that I spoke of earlier. Property insurance on common areas such as the community pool covers any physical damage that may happen, much like homeowners insurance. this coverage will help when there is damage from wind, hail, fire or other covered hazards. Without this property insurance, residents could be responsible for the cost of repairs and this cost could easily add up to a higher amount than their annual dues.

Liability insurance is just as, if not more important as property insurance. If someone is hurt or injured in one of the community’s common areas, the cost could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the HOA didn’t carry this liability insurance, the cost could be levied against the community’s residence and you would have no other alternative but to pay. Otherwise, you could be at risk of losing your home.

Just remember that your dues perform a favorable function. Make sure your HOA is allocating your dues carefully. Don’t despise the fact you have to pay. HOA dues go to performing very important necessities and could in fact save you money in the long run.

If you have any questions about HOA dues, or if you are looking for and investment property in the Disney/Orlando area, email me or give me a call 1 (407)800-0888 – I look forward to hearing from you.

There’s never been a better time to buy a home.

Terry Riffe | October 19, 2015

black houseThe current demand for rental properties has created a deficit in the number of properties available, sending the costs of rent higher and higher. When you buy a home, you lock in today’s low interest rates for you mortgage. In buying a home and locking in your fixed interest rate, your house payment never changes.

While renting a home, you have no guaranteed monthly payment except for your rental agreement, which you will have to renew. This gives the landlord every opportunity to raise your rent. When you own your own home, you have guaranteed monthly payments for the entire time you own the home. This not only brings you stability, it also gives you piece of mind.

When you rent a home, you receive no tax benefits. Once you purchase your own home, the interest you pay on your home loan each month is tax deductible.

Once you own your own home, you are able to do any modification, changes and upgrades – all of which will benefit you personally. Whether in simple satisfaction of making your home exactly how you want it, or buy adding value to your home if you plan to sell it in the future. There are no long term benefits for you if you do any improvements to a rental property. As a renter, it may not even be possible for you to do any remodeling.

Are you ready to move out of your rental and into a home of your own? I’ll be with you every step of the way! Send me an email or give me a call 1(407)800-0888.

Selling your Home? Here are some Buyers’ Favorite Features to know…

Terry Riffe | October 9, 2015

SELLERS TOP DOLLARA survey released by REALTOR® Mag focuses on the current preferences of home Buyers. In knowing what Buyer’s are  looking for, Seller’s can now focus on improving these features before putting their houses on the market.

The single home feature that Buyers say they want most in a new home is Central air conditioning. Staying cool is important to buyers in all regions of the country. Central air conditioning came in ahead of walk-in closets in the master bedroom, backyard and fully finished basement.

Within three months of buying a home, nearly half of all Buyers remodeled or made improvements to their kitchens. More Buyers made improvements or remodeled their kitchen than their master bathroom, backyard or home office combined.

The three features that Buyers said they’d be most willing to pay extra for in a home were; Central air conditioning, walk-in closets, and hardwood floors. Buyers aren’t afraid to spend more on extras they really want.

Which home feature took the biggest jump in Buyer popularity in recent years? It is the desire for an oversized garage! 56% of Buyers who purchased a home without an oversized garage said they would have paid extra for one. Other features growing in popularity are hardwood floors, and granite countertops.

When you are planning to put your home on the market, it is important that you are aware of what Buyers are looking for. Making a few changes to your home before putting it on the market can ensure that your home moves quickly and for top dollar.

For more information on current Buyer trends, or if you are ready to put your home on the market – email me or give me a call 1 (407) 800-0888.

8548 Sunrise Key, Emerald Island, Kissimmee, Fl

Terry Riffe | October 8, 2015

Beautiful Emerald Island Resort home with private pool & Spa fully furnished!!!! Great as investment or vacation home, ready to start. Emerald Island is one of the premier Vacation Communities in the area very close to the Parks and shopping Gated and Guarded with a luxurious community Clubhouse House which has recently been repainted inside and brand new carpeting throughout! Home comes fully furnished and equipped for your private use or Vacation Rentals. Master Bedroom Downstairs with adjoining bathroom and 5 bedrooms are on the second floor including a second Master with a connected bathroom. Has a landing bonus area on the second floor with a Flat Screen TV and seating. Every room has Flat Screen TV’s including a larger screen in the Family Room. Kitchen comes with all appliances and has a large Island with 5 stools . The Garage has been converted to a Game Room. All wet areas are tiled. Large Screened Pool and Heated Spa outside. Great Corner lot location!

8548 Sunrise Key Dr 

Florida Home Buying Tip for UK Investors

Terry Riffe | October 7, 2015

Here are importanat home buying tips for UK Investors. While the US and the UK are similar in many ways, if you are from the UK and plan on purchasing investment property in the US, there are differences you need to be aware of. The following are some of the differences and how to work your way through them…

In the UK, Buyers are normally on their own and ‘Estate Agents’ represent the Seller’s interests. The Buyer is responsible for finding the property they want and then coordinating experts to represent them through the purchasing process. This can often become a very lengthy, drawn out process.

In the US, Buyers and Sellers are represented by ‘Real Estate Agents’ equally. The Seller will have a licensed REALTOR® working for them and the Buyer will also choose a licensed REALTOR® working with and representing them through the process. In the US, REALTORS® take a much more collaborative approach.  This is a very valuable service for the Buyer, especially one that is conducting business from overseas.

Tip: Choose your REALTOR® wisely. For an overseas (UK) Buyer, the local expertise and guidance of a Buyer’s Agent is especially valuable. It would be nearly impossible for someone new to a culture, it’s business practices and legal requirements to fully understand the risks they may be taking and any recourse in a potentially expensive and complicated transaction.

When choosing your Buyer’s Agent, be sure to use a licensed REALTOR®, one who lives close to the area you plan to buy in. Your Real Estate Agent will be able to show you all of the listed properties that fit your criteria. Their knowledge of the area and the process is invaluable.

If you are interested in investing in the Orlando/Disney Real Estate market and would like more information, email me or give me a call 1 (407) 800-0888. I look forward to hearing from you.

What You Need to Know about Investing in the Florida Real Estate Market

Terry Riffe | September 22, 2015

While there are many factors for Foreign investors to consider and be aware of when investing in the Florida Real Estate market, the following tips are a very good place to start…

It is very important that you find a licensed REALTOR® to work with. Of course, you can do some research on your own but much of the information you find online may be outdated. A licensed REALTOR® in the area you are interested in buying will be able to guide you through all of the legalities as well as show you the homes that fit your criteria. As you will be working very closely with your real estate agent, be sure to ask a lot of questions and check reviews before deciding which REALTOR® is right for you. If you have associates who recently invested in the Florida real estate market, ask them for recommendations on an agent as well.

Buying a home in the US differs in some very important, fundamental aspects as in the UK. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the differences before you commit or pay any fees. Again, this is where representation by a licenced real estate agent is going to be a tremendous benefit.

You must decide how you will use the home to proceed accordingly. What do I mean by that? There are a few options you will have when investing in a home in the Florida market. One option is to buy the home and use it occasionally for yourself or family for holidays/vacations, and rent it out the remainder of the year. Another option is to buy the home and lease it out long term, for at least seven months to two years at a time – not using the home for personal use at all. Counties, cities, subdivisions and areas all have specific rules and regulations regarding whether a home may be used as a vacation rental – your REALTOR® will show you homes in areas that best suit your needs.

Price growth in the Florida market, specifically the Orlando/Disney real estate market, has outpaced gains nationally (ORRA REALTOR Association). the Orlando/Disney real estate market is experiencing a ‘Buyer’s market’ in 2015 as more and more properties are coming in the market –  we are seeing the appreciation in investment properties.

If you would like to discuss investing in the Florida real estate market, or would like me to represent you, email me or give me a call 1 (407) 800-0888.

Ready to Sell your Home? Keep these Simple Tips in Mind…

Terry Riffe | September 15, 2015

home preparations smallerAre you ready to sell your home? Keep these simple tips in mind…With low interest rates and a rise in home values, this truly is a buyer’s and seller’s market. So, if you are thinking of selling your home, you will need to spend as little extra time making sure your home is pleasing to the eye and easily accessible. Here are a few tips to help you in your selling process…

~ Be ‘real’ with pricing. Educate yourself, compare your home with others in your neighborhood that have recently sold or come on to the market. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, in turn receive offers. This is important if you want to sell your home in a timely manner.

~ Keep your home accessible. Homes that don’t get shown, don’t get sold! Access is essential if you are serious in wanting to sell your home.

~ Curb appeal is real. As the old saying goes, “you never have a second chance to make a first impression”.  It is very common for potential buyers to drive by a listing before setting up a walk through. Be sure to stage the exterior of your home too.

~ Clean the clutter. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves in space. This is nearly impossible to do if the home is full of clutter. If you are not able to do this yourself, you can hire a service to stage your home for you.

~ Listen to your agent. Find an agent you trust and follow their advice~

It’s always important to find a REALTOR® that knows your area and has experience in your market. For more information on preparing to sell your home , or if you would like to list you home, email me or give me a call 1 (407) 800-0888.

How UK Investors can get into the Orlando/Disney area Real Estate Market

Terry Riffe |

orlando disney real estate marketFor many UK investors, the lure of the Orlando/Disney area real estate market is at an all time high. And why not? Investment/Vacation home values are on the rise in the Orlando area, however, the prices are staying very favorable as more homes enter the market. It is very clear that the real estate market in Orlando is in an upwards trend, so now is the perfect time to buy.

You may be one of  the UK investors considering buying an Investment/Vacation home abroad, but are not quite sure how to get started. I can help. I am one of the leading real estate Brokers in Central Florida, specializing in real estate investments. As a property investor myself, I purchased my first investment home in Florida while still living in Belgium. I understand the whole process and cover all the angles making sure that the experience is a seamless one.

After deciding which type of Investment property you will be interested in ~ long term rental, short term (vacation) rental or one that you can easily ‘flip’ ~ there are just a few variances you will experience with this property purchase compared to any other.

I think the most important piece of information is, you do not have to come to the states during any part of the process. From choosing your property, setting up a U.S. bank account to closing ~ everything can be handled through emails and delivery services such as Fed Ex.

The second most important piece of information, be sure to find a REALTOR® that you trust and is familiar with the Orlando/Disney area market. This step is crucial as you will be depending on them to represent you in every step of the process.

I work earnestly to get to know my clients. This ensures that I know exactly what they are looking for. I have many strong professional relationships with builders, developers, mortgage brokers, banks, lawyers, accountants and even Visa experts. With the help of these relationships, I am able to offer my clients preferential treatment and often, exclusivity.

If you are an investor or would like more details on getting into the Orlando/Disney area real estate market, email me or give me a call 1 (407) 800-0888. I look forward to working with you.



UK Investors Interested in the Orlando Real Estate Market? I can Help

Terry Riffe | September 4, 2015

Interested in the Orlando Real Estate Market? I can help. Understand, I have been in your shoes; I bought several homes while living in Europe and know exactly what to do to make An Flamand, Broker Orlando Vacation Realtythis work. I work with my clients thoroughly in the beginning so that I know exactly what it is they are looking for. I will find the perfect home. I have a vested interest in making sure clients buy the best home as I will be there for management long after the sale. Many of my clients have been with my companies for years, from their purchase to their rentals, management, even to final sale of their home.

As we all know (or should if interested), the conditions are very favorable both in Orlando real estate market and in the UK for anyone interested in the Investment/Vacation home market here in Orlando. While the home values are increasing, the prices are still very favorable. The currency is still low comparing to most currencies, so there are added benefits to investing in dollars. It is very clear that the real estate market in Orlando is in an upwards trend, so now is the perfect time to buy.

I offer our International buyers a full range of services, including:

Mortgages~ *Mortgages offered in US Dollar currency *Fixed, Variable, Interest Only payment plans *Experienced Linders in Foreign National Loans

Currency Exchange ~ *Best exchange rates in the transfer of money *Fix the rate for up to 2 years in advance, good for new build purchases *Arrange fixed ongoing payments

Banking ~ *Set up US bank account, even from overseas *Easy wire transfers into and out of US bank account *Online banking to check account from overseas

Management Services ~ *Long term management at our office *Short term management at our office

Insurance Companies ~ *I offer clients a few companies to pick from for their insurance needs

Furniture Packages ~ *I work with several furniture companies that offer vacation home package. Clients can choose from several packages that include everything from furniture to silverware and towels to complete their vacation home.

Title Company ~ *I have several title companies for my clients to choose from for their closing.

I have built many strong professional relationships with Builders, Developers, Mortgage Brokers, Banks, Lawyers, Accountants and even Visa experts. With the help of these relationships I an able to offer my clients preferential treatment and discounted prices often exclusively. So, if you are a UK Investor interested in the Orlando real estate market – I can assist you. Call me 1 (407) 800-0888 or email, I look forward to working with you.

Orlando Investment/Vacation Home Buying Process for Foreign Investors

Terry Riffe | September 2, 2015

Orlando vacation homeWith the real estate market in such a favorable place these days, I’m often asked about the Investment/Vacation home buying process here in the Orlando area – specifically as it relates to overseas clients. Before I go into the buying process, first let’s go over the different investment opportunities…

Long term management ~

Many clients choose to go with long term management when buying a home in Orlando. This process is very straight forward and gives a very secure return of investment. Clients will rent the home usually for one year, with a lease. Tenants will be screened and are required to have first, last and security.

Short term management ~

This is the perfect solution for investors or clients who would like to have the option to use the home for their own vacation. The remainder of the time, the home will be rented out to vacationers on a short term basis – nightly, weekly or monthly. In short term management, you can stay in a regular program or do a ‘guarantee’ program where you have a fixed amount of income per month.

‘Fix and Flip’ (buy to fix up and sell) ~

Clients often prefer to buy homes below market value, fix them up and place them back on the market for sale. In this situation, Investors are able to buy low and sell high.

There are more opportunities for those interested in expanding their Property Investment portfolio, these are simply the most commonly asked about. Now, on to the buying process itself. In order to buy in the U.S., there are a couple of steps to take to ensure you are prepared…

You must set up a U.S. Bank account ~ this can be set up remotely. It’s best to do a loan ‘pre approval’ and application ~ A simple phone call or email will be sufficient to complete this process. If you will be needing a loan, a foreign national can obtain a loan easily with minor verification, however you will need 30% – 40% down payment. All paperwork can be done through email or carriers such as FedEx ~ sometimes a Notary will be needed.

Whichever option you choose, my team and I can assist and guide you every step of the way. If you would like to discuss your options or you’re ready to expand your Investment Portfolio, call me 1(407)800-0888 or send me an email