Primrose Villa.

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Buying a vacation home in Florida....

   For over 25 years, we owned a static caravan in Shaldon (North Devon). To partially cover maintenance, site rent & its' inevitable replacement ( statutory after 10 years) we let it during the summer months -  it never 'broke even'....
The last one reached the "end of it's life" (according to the site owners) in 2001 & as we were unable to agree a long-term contract with them due to their age & the likelihood of the site being sold we began looking for alternatives....

    We had visited Florida quite a few times from '86, had leafed through the "properties for sale" booklets picked up at the same time as the discount voucher booklets from Wal-Mart, Publix, etc...& noted the (relatively) - to England - low prices of property in Florida.
In 2002, a tentative approach by email was made to a selection of "realtors" (estate agents) in the 'Disney' area......
Most came back with a spiel about how we could just sit back & enjoy the massive profits we could expect from owning a rental property in Florida !!
    Only one company, ( Dolby Properties), run by Lesley & Steve Dolby stood out by being more attuned to U.K potential clients & were up-front in pointing out the essential caveats:- The property would have to be in an area designated for short-term rentals, relatively close to the "attractions" & be equipped with a pool. IF these conditions were met & we were prepared to actively market our new home, they said we might expect a modest return.
    An on-going correspondence ensued during which Lesley initially sent us details of suggested properties &, after we decided to proceed with a Florida home, led us through the necessary steps including arranging a potential mortgage, setting up an American bank account & introducing us to potential villa management companies.
After we had whittled the many & varied properties she sent us down to a shortlist, we visited Florida during December 2002 with the intention of actually buying somewhere.....
Lesley & Steve patiently assisted our viewing of the homes on our shortlist, notably without any "hard sell"....
One villa ticked all our boxes, we signed a contract that week & by mid-January were the proud owners of 8620, Primrose Drive.....

Villa ownership is a steep learning curve :-(  We had great difficulty in attracting paying guests for the first few years, despite setting up 2 websites. Hurricane Jeanne kindly removed 1/3 of our roof in 2004 - traumatic although insurance did cover most of the damage !! Our home appreciated in value dramatically until the financial crash of 2006/7 - back to square 1....

We were extremely fortunate to be accepted onto the Orlando Villas website which has increased the exposure of our home considerably - it now consistently 'breaks even' in part due to the number of repeat guests who grace us with their presence annually....

16 years later !!!! We still have our "home from home", still (unusually !) with the same Management company & can heartily recommend that anyone considering the purchase of property make contact with Lesley Dolby ................

Martin & Sue Smith.