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Florida Guide > Accommodation

Want to buy a villa? part 1

Owning a holiday villa in Florida can be fraught with difficulties and unexpected bills but it can also be the most rewarding thing you will ever do. If you are considering buying, then now is the ideal time whilst prices are still relatively low. If you are buying just to enjoy yourself, then go for it and enjoy. However, if you want it to be a business then there are all sorts of things you will need to know.

First, do not believe the salesman who will tell you you can make 32 weeks a year rental with no trouble – WRONG. It is possible but with no trouble – I don’t think so. Running a rental villa is just like anything else you do in life, you only get out what you put in and that means HARD WORK. To make a real success of the venture you will be tied to your computer 24/7 as they say.

I am writing this at 10am after just having spent the last 2 hours answering emails, tweaking my website, paying some bills dealing with general admin chores. There are taxes to pay, emails to write to new guests due to arrive checks to be made with the management company and later answering email enquiries from the USA who will not be awake yet. This afternoon I will trawl through Google to see if there are any other websites I can join to advertise my villa, as be assured, you will need your own website AND have to advertise on specialist websites that host all the hundreds of other people trying to sell their villa time.

The biggest surprise you will get is how many unexpected expenses you will have – all the ones the salesmen do not tell you about, many I still do not understand myself. First and most important, get a good accountant, it will oil the wheels, save you loads of time and money and make sure you are staying legal and above all claiming all that you are entitled to. It would be very easy to miss some of the more obscure taxes required by the government of the USA.

Tangible tax? What on earth is that? I have no idea, I just know I have to pay it – my accountant told me. Then there is Real Estate Tax, Sales Tax, Tourist Tax and Business Tax. Then there is the Community Charge, not optional as it is here in the UK, Home Association Fee, again not optional and then there is the Rental Property Insurance – Huge!

Some others you may not think of are Accounts fees, Management Company fees, Web Hosting costs, advertising costs, advertising commissions, bank fees and postage. All this before you even think about the electricity bill, water bill, telephone bill and cable TV bill which has to be paid whether anyone is there or not.

More bad news and all the GOOD news to follow in part 2

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 14 February 2011
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