Orlando News

Florida Foreign Figures & Facts

By | Orlando News, Real Estate

International Money Pouring Into Florida

It is no secret that Florida is prime target for investors and home buyers from all over the globe. Each year the Florida Realtor Association puts together a report about where the money is coming from, and how much. This is some pretty interesting stuff, I went ahead and did the research & cliff noted it here for you…you’re welcome.

Here is what they found in the past year from August 2016 – July 2017.

Florida Property Purchases By Foreign Buyers

  • Foreign purchases increased to $24.2 billion, a 19.75% increase from last year
  • Foreign transactions accounted for 21% of Florida’s volume or property sales. 2% increase from last year
  • Foreign buyers purchased 61,300 Florida properties. 23.25% increase from last year
  • The median purchase price paid by foreign buyers increased to $259,400 ($252,500 in 2016)
  • The median price paid by foreign buyers was 18% HIGHER than the median price paid by all Florida buyers

Where Are The Foreign Buyers From?

  • Latin America & Caribbean Buyers were the largest portion of foreign buyers at 34% but that is a decrease from last year when they made up 39%
  • Canadian Buyers increased to 22% (up from 19% in 2016)
  • European buyers was unchanged at 23%; Asian buyers at 10%; and African buyers at 1%

Foreign Funds & Flavor

  • 72% of foreign buyers made an all-cash purchase
  • 68% of foreign buyers purchased single family / detached homes, 49% bought a townhouse or condominium (not quite sure how those numbers add up, but I think they factored townhouses into single family in some instances)
  • 35% purchased in a central areas; 15% purchased in a resort area
  • 93% of foreign buyers visited Florida at least once before purchasing a property

Foreign Interaction & Future

  • While international business rose, fewer Realtors in Florida (44%) said they worked with an international client in 2017 (48% in 2016)
  • 61% of Realtors said they did not have cultural and language problems
  • 43% of Realtors expected the same or an increase in international clients, 42% expected a decrease, and 15% had no opinion (thanks to the 15% for not being helpful at all)
  • 56% of Realtors expect foreign retirees to be potential clients

Here’s How Much You Need To Make To Buy A Home In Orlando

By | Orlando News, Real Estate

Here’s How Much You Need To Make To Buy A Home In Orlando

According to a report published by the mortgage website, an annual income necessary to buy a house in Orlando based upon the current median property value is $50,871.

Let’s break that number down real quick to make it relative.

If you make $50,871 which is the 15% tax bracket, you will take home approximately $42,000 NET after taxes, social security, etc.

$42,000 will come to $3,500/month.

The median price for a home in Orlando is $215,000.

Purchasing a home for $215,000 with a 5% downpayment at a 4% interest rate, that will be a total monthly payment of just $1,400 which includes principal, interest, taxes & insurance. Taking into considering another $500/month for cable, water, utilities, and maintenance, that still leaves you over $1,500/month for other bills & expenses!

Quit buying avocado toast and buy a damn home! 

Orlando Is Still Cheap

The report lists 26 other Metro Areas across the country and how much salary is needed to buy a home in that area.

San Francisco is the winner of the list with the highest salary necessary at $160,589 to afford a home there and Pittsburgh requires the minimum of just $32,373 with a National Median of $51,962.

If you think property prices in Orlando are getting expensive, lets keep things in perspective.

The Average List Price in Orlando is $249,900 as of March 2017 according to Zillow and avg. list price per sq/ft is $133.

The Average List Price in San Francisco is $1,195,000 and avg. price per sq/ft is $987.

In Orlando, it seems a hell of a lot more attractive to make $50K a year to buy a house at $133 sq/ft in Orlando than to live in San Francisco and make $160K and buy a house at $987 sq/ft!

Take a look at this ‘teardown’ that just sold in Palo Alto, CA for $2,550,000!

That is over $2.5 MILLION for a 7,500 sq/ft lot. That comes to about $10,000,000 per acre in that area. (No wonder you hear about Managers at Google making $300K/year and living out of their car)

Without question prices are rising by the day in Orlando and it is a fantastic time to buy because this time next year, the same property is likely going to cost you 10% or more. However even today, you can still buy a brand new 4 bedroom house in the desired Lake Nona area for under $400K!

Investors were incredibly spoiled between 2010 – 2014 with property prices at historic lows, and although the ROI has been taken down quite a few points on investment properties due to the increase in prices, there is still enormous opportunity for growth & profits!

View inside this NBA Stars Mansion For Sale

By | Orlando News, Real Estate

Inside Dwight Howard’s $4.4M Longwood home

If you live in Orlando, you are likely aware of the feeling that O-Town has towards its former NBA Superstar. Dwight Howard has moved on and is now (trying) to sell his Longwood mansion.

He built this property in 2008 at the peak of the market for a whopping $7.8million and is not for sale for $4.4million. Although Dwight Howard currently has about a $23million/year contract wit the Atlanta Hawks, a $3.5million + loss still has to sting!

Property Details

  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 7
  • Size: 11,026 sq/ft
  • Built: 2008 
  • List Price: $4,395,000

MLS Description

Listed by: Mick Night / Coldwell Banker Residential RE

Behind the gates of this 6 acre estate is the magical world known as Le Chateu d’Usse. The Sleeping Beauty Castle has won more awards than any other residence in the Street of Dreams 27 year competition. This famed lake front mansion sets a precedence like no other. The chiseled cut and individual laid travertine drive leads to the home. Gothic 30 foot arches with stone Corinthian columns adorn the front elevation. Entering through the double iron front doors is the main hall’s ribbed vaulting. The master craftsmanship is displayed through to the plate window overlooking the stunning cascade waterfall and award winning pool. The main drawing room features a stone fireplace with wood carved soldiers. The kitchen defines opulence with its 6cm Ogee cut granite and marble counters. The double island with 4 chandeliers sets the stage for any gathering. A butler’s pantry contains a fully equipped catering kitchen. The other drawing room features a double sided fireplace and hidden TV offering a casual yet upscale room. Adjacent is the billiard room with custom suede wall coverings and fully equipped bar. The downstairs master retreat features wrap around french doors and stone fireplace overlooking the multiple outdoor fountains. The master bath is center pieced by an over-sized jetted tub. The shower features a custom controlled body wash. Upstairs there is a grand theater themed with custom fabric, drapes and lighting. The home is sold fully furnished. Make an appointment and fulfill your dream today!

DP vs. Pine Hills…

By | Orlando News

32819 vs. 32808 The Showdown

If you were to ask 100 people to chose between living in Dr. Phillips or Pine Hills, 100 of them would say Dr. Phillips. Rightfully so I’ll add…Dr. Phillips is amazing, it has everything you would want in terms of dining & entertainment, fantastic location to I-4, Bay Hill, and the list could go on forever. I love Dr. Phillips, and prior to Christine & I moving to Belle Isle, if I was the actual decision maker…we would likely be living in Dr. Phillips!

(However I do love living in Belle Isle, Christine was right, as always, just in case she reads this.)

And if you were to ask 100 people if they would rather invest in either Dr. Phillips or Pine Hills, 99 of them would say Dr. Phillips and I would be the person saying Pine Hills!

Here is why.

This blog post was inspired from reading all the interesting threads & topics discussed on and speaking with many of my friends who think I need to have my head examined when I not only defend, but suggest investing in Pine Hills.
Aside from my personal experience of dealing with investment properties in Pine Hills which consists of over 150 deals, dozens of successful flips and nearly 100 properties under management by a sister company Rentals Orlando, lets look at the figures.

Dr. Phillips primary zip code is 32819 and Pine Hills primary zip code is 32808.

Currently as of February 2017 here are the median valuations from Zillow.

  • Median Home Value 32819: $282,300
  • Median Home Value 32808: $99,000

As expected, in Dr. Phillips (DP) properties are easily twice as expensive. DP is generally a newer area, bigger houses and of course difference in area.
Looking at this from a cash-flow / rental property investment perspective:

  • Median Rent Index 32808: $1,119
  • Median Rent Index 32819: $1,739
  • Simple Gross ROI 32808: 13.56%
  • Simple Gross ROI 32819: 6.16%

Not only is the simple Gross ROI in Pine Hills twice the amount of DP, it takes on average 40% longer to lease a house in DP.

  • Avg. Days to Lease 32819: 37
  • Avg. Days to Lease 32808: 21

How about looking at an investment from a capital growth standpoint?

The entire market in Central Florida has gone up in the past 24 months, some areas certainly stronger than others but lets take a look at these 2 areas.

  • February 2017 Single Family Home Value 32808: $103,800
  • February 2015 Single Family Home Value 32808: $78,800
    • 24 Month Value Growth: 24.08%
  • February 2015 Single Family Home Value 32819: $283,500
  • February 2017 Single Family Home Value 32819: $322,900
    • 24 Month Value Growth: 12.20%

As stated above, it takes on average 40% longer to lease a house in DP, well it takes more than TWICE the amount of time to sell a house!

  • Avg. Days To Sell 32808: 25
  • Avg. Days To Sell 32819: 52

If you were to look at these 2 areas strictly from an investment analysis standpoint and remove all personal opinion and feeling there really is no debate. From a capital growth, cash-flow, rental demand, and selling demand Pine Hills is superior to Dr. Phillips.

Consumer Confidence Cranked Up

By | Orlando News, Real Estate

Florida’s Confidence Hits New 15-Year High

The University of Florida conducted a survey and they have found that consumer confidence is at a 15 year high in the Sunshine State. The Survey found that consumers overall, are optimistic about their own finances and the future of the economy.

One of the best things that this study pointed out is that the confidence level is shared among all Floridians, regardless of their demographic & income status. (Aka it is not just the 1% that are confident).

Another fun fact is that according to the U.S. Bureau of Economy Analysis, Florida ranked 3rd in the Nation in personal income growth, showing a growth of 4.9% from 2015 to 2016.
Time for the key tie-in to this survey…wait for it…the survey found that people think it is a good time to purchase big-ticket items such as homes and major appliances / updates to their existing house. (On a personal note, as I previously had a Market Minute Episode about, I hope that this optimism does not lead to irresponsible purchasing and unnecessary financial leveraging for ridiculous items such as new cars, bigger TV’s and frivolous spending.)

With consumer confidence growing, the demand for housing will continue to climb upwards and the positive ripple affect will spread throughout all the other sections of the economy. Although this study took all of Florida into consideration, if you look at the local economy here in Orlando it is extremely evident that every angle of the economy is growing. If you drive on any major road in Orlando, you will see construction.

From new housing developments to hotels, highways, universities, hospitals, attractions, and so one, there are billions being spent right now from large corporations who pay enormous sums of money to do their own private research to ensure their investment has a long-term ROI.

So the next time you are wondering how the market is doing here in Orlando, the short answer is, great.

Restaurant Rave: Earls Kitchen + Bar

By | Orlando News, Random Nonsense

Good Food & Good Times at Earls Kitchen + Bar

I finally made it out to check out the new Earls Kitchen + Bar this past weekend (twice in 3 days actually it was that good), and it did not disappoint. In case you have not heard, Earls Kitchen + Bar took the place of the old Blue Martini at the Millenia Mall.

I did write a blog post about the general opening of Earls a few months ago but after being there first hand, that post did not do it justice.

Relax, I am

Not A Food Critic

Full disclosure, I am rather picky when it comes to restaurants, nothing grinds my gears worse than slow or bad service, poorly made drinks, and a menu the size of an encyclopedia. Just to add to this disclosure, I am not a food or restaurant critic so this is purely my unprofessional opinion of this restaurant. So relax.

If you have been to the Blue Martini before it closed, you would never have guessed it is the same spot, they completely ripped out everything that was there and built out this restaurant completely, and did an amazing job at it. The atmosphere, design, vibe, etc is really cool and upbeat.

Entering the restaurant everyone was friendly and greeted us, while it was sort of slow of a Friday night, was still nice to be greeted properly unlike some places around the city that we have been to (cough, Artisans Table). And throughout the entire meal, it was almost as-if before we even finishing putting in our drink order they were walking out with our cocktails.

They have a really solid list of cocktails at Earls Kitchen, priced well and some good creativity in there also. (On Fridays they have all-day special with $2/off cocktails).

Sidenote – On Tuesdays they have half priced bottles of wine! Stags Leap Artimis is normally $85 there so on Tuesdays you can get that for $42.50 which is a steal.

The food was great as well, everything was very unique & delicious. I would go into a description of what I ordered and explain it further but, go there for yourself!

It is awesome watching the continued restaurant / foodie scene in Orlando. While many of the food-snobs would consider Earl’s a ‘corporate-esque’ restaurant since it is in-fact a chain of about 65 (mostly in Canada), you do not get that Shenanigans vibe.

So be sure to go to Earls Kitchen + Bar, well worth the trip!

Top 10 Best & Worst Areas for Growth in 2016

By | Orlando News, Real Estate

The Top 10 Best (and worst) performing areas of 2016

I know I might sound like a broken record but the market is still rising every single day in Central FL (avg. of 1% per month) and inventory is dropping by the minute. There are so many first time home buyers & investors in this market that if you price a property correctly, you would have to try NOT to sell it in just a matter of days!

Zillow recently released the Top 10 Areas in Orlando with the Highest & Lowest growth through 2016 and the winners (and losers) might surprise you. If vision boards and wishful thinking had a genuine economic impact on the economy this list would look a lot different, however since we live in the reality of supply & demand economics the Top 10 Metros with the greatest appreciation should be no surprise!

The Top 10 areas with the highest appreciation in Central FL:

  1. Pine Hills: $107,700; +23.7%
  2. Lockhart: $138,400; +16.8%
  3. Altoona: $135,600; +16.1%
  4. Paisley: $143,000; +15.8%
  5. Fairview Shores: $174,600; +15.6%
  6. Tangelo Park: $82,900; +14.5%
  7. Wedgefield: $275,500; +14.3%
  8. Orlovista: $93,100; +14.2%
  9. Kissimmee: $158,700; +14.0%
  10. Sky Lake: $136,600; +13.3%

Yes Pine Hills is #1 as expected!

Believe it or not, the 23.7% growth that Pine Hills saw is throttled down due to the fact there are numerous 1 bed & 2 bed condos that did not move greatly in appreciation. If this was segmented to just 3 & 4 bed homes the appreciation in Pine Hills would be nearly 40%.

The Top 10 areas with the lowest appreciation in Central FL:

  1. Yalaha; $156,800; +1.4%
  2. Celebration; $362,900; +4%
  3. Howey in the Hills; $230,100; +4%
  4. Groveland; $179,600; +4.5%
  5. Lake Mary; $265,600; +4.6%
  6. Grand Island; $160,400; +4.7%
  7. Lady Lake; $190,700;+4.8%
  8. Tavares; $158,200; +5.2%
  9. Longwood; $256,200; +6.7%
  10. Umatilla; $130,200; +6.7%

Yes Celebration & Lake Mary have gorgeous houses & communities however Pine Hills, Orlo Vista and Lockhart have about an enormously greater amount of buyers due to the fact the average value is only $110,000!

Although comparing areas such as Pine Hills to Celebration is like comparing a Ferrari to a Ford Fiesta although the analogy is rather accurate. Think of it this way, if you had 2 cars to sell, a $300,000 Ferrari or a $8,000 Ford, which will sell quicker and have the greater amount of Buyers? However in the same comparison, lets say there were 250 Ferrari’s available and just 5 Ford Fiestas and the prices were still the same, NOW hopefully you understand what exactly this market is like right now!

Zillow CEO Sells Home 40% Below Zestimate

By | Orlando News, Real Estate

Every real estate agent, investor, manager, and broker cringe when they hear the words “I checked Zillow and the Zestimate says…

Zillow is undoubtedly the most popular real estate website for the general public to look for houses for sale, receive a general ‘valuation’ of what a home is worth or what a home should rent for. It is an awesome resource to find information about properties throughout the country no matter where you are located.

Zillow provides a ‘Zestimate’ on a home which is an approximate valuation of the property and an estimated amount of what a home would rent for.

The problem with a Zestimates is that it can be very inaccurate since they use a formula that takes generic home facts, user-submitted info, outdated sales records and market conditions to provide an overall guesstimated valuation.

Case in point, the CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff sold his home in California for 40% below the ‘Zestimate’ Value. He sold his Seattle home in February for $1.05 million, 40% less than the Zestimate of $1.75 million!

Like most $1 million & higher houses, they have unique features, larger lot sizes and qualities that certainly do not get accounted for when using a generic valuation and Zillows very own CEO is a perfect example of such a difference. For lower priced homes that are very conforming, the valuations that Zillow provides is a bit more within a margin of error than 40%.

Zillow admits that the Zestimate has a national median error rate of 7.9%, meaning half of Zestimates are within 7.9% of a home’s sale price & half are off by more than 7.9%. So if you are looking for an accurate home valuation, speak to a professional and receive an updated Comparative Market Analysis or pay for an Appraiser to conduct a proper home valuation.

4 Things To Know Today

By | Business, Orlando News, Real Estate

Pulse Nightclub Turning Into Memorial 

Orlando will be turning the location of Pulse Nightclub (1912 S Orange Ave) into a memorial to honor the victims of the horrific attack that took place there on June 12th 2016. Pulse owner, Rosario Poma is selling the club to the City of Orlando for $2.25 million. Mayor Buddy Dyer made the has the goal to “create something to honor the memory of the victims that are deceased [and] those that were injured, and a testament to the resilience of the community.” The Contella family purchased the property in 2005 for $925,000.


Skyplex Unveils Another Amazing Attraction

The ever-growing Skyplex / iDrive 360 area is continually adding more & more restaurants, shops and rides and the just unveiled another amazing attraction named ‘SkyLedge’ for the thrill seekers. SkyLedge will be where you can put on a harness and walk along the outside of the facility, 600 feet above the ground. This will be yet another first of its kind the US, there is similar attraction in Canada called ‘EdgeWalk’ however unlike in Canada you will get to enjoy the lights & fireworks Central FL offers.

We’re creating a new destination, remaking International Drive, and we’re thrilled to be the first location in the United States to offer this attraction” said Joshua Wallack, the developer of the Skyplex complex, in a prepared statement. “The world’s tallest rollercoaster, the world’s tallest drop ride, and now we’re launching an experience that feels like you are flying. You will be one with the sky and we envision this to be a major draw for tourists and convention delegates to the new I-Drive Entertainment District.”

“The Skyplex complex is a much-anticipated project for the I-Drive corridor, bringing the 501-foot Skyscraper polercoaster, the 450-foot Skyfall drop tower, a 600-foot Skyfly zip line, the Skysurf park and a 450-room hotel, all built in and around the SkyPlaza retail, entertainment and dining center. The project is expected to open in 2019. It’s sure to help Orlando’s $60 billion tourism industry, which attracted a record 66 million visitors last year.”


Orlando City Soccer Club Ranks Among Most Valuable Teams

Despite making its debut only 2 years ago, Orlando City Soccer Club was named the 9th most valuable soccer club in the Americas by Forbes Magazine with a valuation of $240 million. Not only does the Orlando City Soccer Club have a brand new $155 million, 25,500 seat stadium being built but it is home to the highest paid (and well-known) player Ricardo Kaka.


Disney Reports Record Revenue

For the 6th year in a row, Walt Disney World reports record earnings. What a surprise! The theme parks reported a massive revenue of $16.9 billion for 2016 which is a 5% increase from 2015.

“The increase at our domestic operations was primarily due to growth at Walt Disney World Resort, partially offset by a decrease at Disneyland Resort [in Anaheim, Calif.]. The improvement at Walt Disney World Resort was due to lower costs and guest spending growth, partially offset by lower volumes. Guest spending growth was driven by higher average ticket prices and room rates and increased food and beverage spending.”

If you have been to Hollywood Studios recently you know that the Park is about 50% of what it use to be due to all the construction going on. They are building the new Star Wars area & expanding the Toy Story areas which us Disney fans has high expectations for due to the removal of classics such as The Backlot Tour, Christmas Spectacle of Lights, Animation Studio and Lights Motor Action.

Orlando Best City For Investment Property

By | Business, Orlando News, Real Estate

Orlando No.1 Best City To Own Investment Property

There are many factors to take into consideration when evaluating a potential city to own investment property in. Things such as likelihood of home value increase, population growth, employment growth and years to pay off property.

  • Employment growth: The percent change in the city’s number of employed people year-over-year.
  • Population growth: The percent change in the city’s population year-over-year.
  • Increase in home values: The percent change in the city’s median home value year-over-year.
  • Years to pay off property: The number of years it would take for rental income to pay off the median home value.

Those 4 key statistics can be used around the world to give a rather clear picture to what area would make (or not make) a good city to own investment property. Out of the 100 most populated cities in U.S. came out with the Top 10 Best & Worst Cities to own investment properties.

10 WORST Cities

10. El Paso, Texas

• Employment growth: 2%
• Population growth: 0.06%
• Increase in home values: -0.1%

9. Omaha, Neb.

• Employment growth: 1%
• Population growth: 0.35%
• Increase in home values: 4.7%

8. Tulsa, Okla.

• Employment growth: -0.2%
• Population growth: 0.82%
• Increase in home values: 7.3%

7. Detroit

• Employment growth: 2.1%
• Population growth: -0.46%
• Increase in home values: 3.6%

6. Honolulu

• Employment growth: 2.2%
• Population growth: 0.65%
• Increase in home values: 1.3%

5. Cleveland

• Employment growth: 1.7%
• Population growth: -0.46%
• Increase in home values: 0%

4. Virginia Beach, Va.

• Employment growth: 0.60%
• Population growth: 0.41%
• Increase in home values: 1.5%

3. Chicago

• Employment growth: 1.3%
• Population growth: -0.11%
• Increase in home values: 0.40%

2. Pittsburgh

• Employment growth: 0.60%
• Population growth: -0.45%
• Increase in home values: 9.9%

1. Anchorage, Alaska

• Employment growth: 0.50%
• Population growth: -0.55%
• Increase in home values: 2.3%

10 BEST Cities 

10. Miami

• Employment growth: 2.7%
• Population growth: 2.23%
• Increase in home values: 6.1%

9. Raleigh, N.C.

• Employment growth: 3.1%
• Population growth: 2.42%
• Increase in home values: 5.6%

8. Portland, Ore.

• Employment growth: 3%
• Population growth: 1.92%
• Increase in home values: 20%

7. Dallas

• Employment growth: 3.3%
• Population growth: 1.53%
• Increase in home values: 17.6%

6. Reno, Nev.

• Employment growth: 3.8%
• Population growth: 1.84%
• Increase in home values: 13.9%

5. Austin, Texas

• Employment growth: 4%
• Population growth: 2.09%
• Increase in home values: 9.3%

4. Seattle

• Employment growth: 3.5%
• Population growth: 2.29%
• Increase in home values: 16.7%

3. Denver

• Employment growth: 3.2%
• Population growth: 2.80%
• Increase in home values: 10.5%

2. Tampa, Fla.

• Employment growth: 3.5%
• Population growth: 2.51%
• Increase in home values: 11.6%

1. Orlando, Fla.

• Employment growth: 4.5%
• Population growth: 2.99%
• Increase in home values: 11%

It is no secret I am partial to Orlando. I personally own investment properties in Orlando as well as live in The City Beautiful. I have heard success stories from all over the country (even cities that landed in the top 10 Worst Cities), and along with the 4 factors mentioned above that make a city great for investment properties, here are some other factors you must consider:

Management Company: Be sure the management company you use screens tenants and places a qualified tenant in place to ensure consistent rent.

Property Inventory: How is the available inventory of quality deals and how quick could a property be resold if exit strategy needed?

Marketable Traits: Does the city offer any unique traits that ensure a long term economic growth? (i.e. Orlando; No.1 Tourist Destination in the world).

Good Deal: Property price should be below market value to ensure immediate equity & rental income provides good ROI.

The fact of the matter is you can find good investment properties almost anywhere with the proper management, tenant and pricing. However when you look at the major economic factors that any savvy investors would consider when looking at cities to invest in cash-flow properties, Orlando lands on top of that list!