Clermont, FL (Community Profile)

Clermont is one of the fastest growing communities in Central Florida. Located 22 miles west of downtown Orlando in Lake County, Clermont has grown from a small rural town of around 7,000 people in 1990, to over 32,000 people today. It has become a hot spot for new development in the past decade or so, offering all the suburban conveniences yet far enough removed from the heavy tourist areas.

A popular spot for young families looking to find great, affordable homes as well as retirees. Clermont has recently been named “Best Places to Retire” by both Forbes and Money magazines, and is home to several premiere 55+ Active Lifestyle Communities. If you like fishing, boating and water sports, the Clermont Chain of Lakes covers all your aquatic needs.

Don’t worry, you are still right around the corner from Orlando area attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.  This could be just the community for you!

Check out our video profiling the Clermont area…

International Buyers Target Orlando

london-bigben-1500x850Americans from the Northeast and Midwest have been flocking to Florida for decades, but Orlando remains a favorite destination for our friends across the pond as well.  Recently, A Place in the Sun, a British TV show and magazine, put out a glowing and informative feature on the Orlando market.  Check out the full article below…

The strong dollar hasn’t kept the crowds away from Florida this year, with the Sunshine State on course for a new tourism record. Visitor numbers in the first six months of 2016 increased by 6 per cent compared with last year and the state expects to welcome 115 million tourists for the whole year, compared with 105 million in 2015.

Similarly, September marked a record year for Orlando International Airport, where the green light has been given recently for a new terminal. In the 12 months to the end of September, 41.5 million passengers passed through the airport, representing a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent. International traffic was up by 14.75 per cent.

This is all good news for homeowners in Florida, with demand driving both house price growth and rentals. “The market is really picking up here in Orlando, with more investors now looking at buy-to-let properties as well as vacation homes,” said An Flamand, owner of the agent Orlando Vacation Realty. “Prices are still very good value, especially compared to what your money gets you elsewhere, like in Europe.”

David D’Ambrosio, director of operations at the Grove Resort & Spa in Orlando, added: “Recent statistics from HomeUnion [the investment property portal] revealed that Orlando’s family holiday home rental market is set to rise by 6.1 per cent per month this year, due to its growing leisure and hospitality industries.”

Most second homes around Disney are in the “Golden Triangle” or “Four Corners” areas. Fanning northwards from Haines City to the edges of Disney, these include the metropolitan hubs of Davenport, Kissimmee and ChampionsGate where short-term rentals are allowed, and being bisected by Interstate 4 affords fast access to Orlando city and the airport. Here’s a closer look at where to buy, depending on your requirements.

Second homes with proven rentals to pay the bills

Established communities (also called resorts) that combine easy access to the theme parks and golf typically offer the best rental returns. Popular ones suited to the traditional family second homeowner include High Grove, Tuscan Hills, Solana, Calabay Parc, Highlands Reserve, Highgate Park, Tuscan Ridge and West Haven. Disney World is no more than 20-25 minutes’ drive from each of these.

“For budgets of $80,000 to $135,000, most clients realise that a condo or apartment with resort amenities is the best option,” said Howard Thorne at Homes of America Realty Group.

“And those with $135,000 to $200,000 lean more towards a town home, preferably one with its own splash/plunge pool. And those buyers looking for a home that attracts enough rental income to at least pay for itself, leaving enough profit over to pay for trips to Florida a couple of times a year, are paying $200,000 to $350,000.”

Single family homes for as little as $160,000 are available, said Mr Thorne, but with lower rental yields they are usually better suited to retirees or non-rental second homeowners.

For buyers planning to spend six months of the year in Florida, typically retirees, more residential communities with quieter neighbourhoods, lots of natural scenery and where the homeowners’ association (HOA) fees are low are preferred. Examples are Watersong in Davenport and Orange Tree in Clermont.

The agent Homes of America recently helped a couple who appeared on A Place in the Sun on the TV to purchase in Watersong. “They were looking for a more residential/second home area, where they could spend half the year,” said Mr Thorne. “Initially, they did not want to rent out their property, but they now accept 10-16 weeks of rentals each year, just to cover their outgoings on the house.”

An Flamand confirmed that “most buyers tend to look for three, four and five-bedroom vacation homes with pools and sometimes spas, too”. She recently helped Scottish clients to buy a four bedroom second home with a pool in West Haven, Davenport. They paid $245,000 for the property, which is a holiday home that they’ll also let.

Meanwhile, communities suited to buyers who don’t want to be more than 10 minutes from Disney include Windsor Hills, Sunset Lakes, Emerald Island, Tuscany, Calabria, Indian Creek and Formosa Gardens.

Golf, not theme parks?

If being closer to a fairway is more important, a home in the golf communities of Reunion, ChampionsGate, Mystic Dunes and Southern Dunes are safe bets. For something new, though, Flamand suggests a new-build town home at the golf villas development at Providence Golf Club, Davenport, where the developer is offering fixed rental returns.

Meanwhile, just west of Orlando in Montverde is the relaunched Bella Collina golf community. The project, created by the same developer as Reunion, stalled during the last economic crisis but not before the one-of-a-kind Tuscan-style clubhouse was built, infrastructure put in and the Nick Faldo golf course was opened in 2008.

With a new owner, the community offers stunning lakeside and frontline plots, available through The Jerry Barker Group, whose own property there will open as a show home early in the new year. Prices at Bella Collina start from about $500,000 for a three-bed pre-construction home, rising to $11million for a palatial lakeside home built in 2014.

Fully managed vacation resorts: the ultimate stress-free property

Some of Florida’s most exciting opportunities are in new hotel-style vacation resorts, where owners often have the option to enter their property into a leaseback or rental scheme with the developer. Facilities offered at new projects coming to market in the next year are comparable to full-blown holiday resorts.

Once complete, The Grove Resort & Spa, next to Lake Austin and five minutes from Disney, will include 878 apartments. For a limited time the resort is offering buyers in the first phase of 292 units the option to enter a two-year leaseback programme, which delivers a 10 per cent gross return (before tax and insurance).

Owners will then have the option to join the standard rental programme managed by Benchmark Hospitality International. Prices at The Grove, where extensive on-site facilities include a water park and surf simulator, start at $255,000. Not five minutes from The Grove and even closer to Disney is the site of another mega resort, Margarita Village, by Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort Orlando, due for completion by the end of 2017. Centred around a hotel, a lake with a beach area, water park and commercial outlets, the site will include a mix of vacation homes, timeshare units and residential apartments.

“Margarita Village is going to be something else,” said Jerry Barker. “We have over a dozen pre-sale reservations, including one of my own. Models and prices are due to be released early next year and the infrastructure is currently going in. This place will rock everything else.”

Balmoral at Waters Edge in Haines City, 25 minutes from Disney and 12 minutes from Legoland, is another more boutiquey option. Built around a series of navigable lakes and themed garden areas, a total of 245 three to eight-bedroom houses are planned. Complementing the clubhouse and usual amenities will be a water park and Ronaldo soccer academy.

The resort’s grand opening is planned for the end of March. “Phase one, which consisted of 102 units, has just sold out with the largest group of buyers being from the UK,” said Garrett Kenny, chief executive of Feltrim Group, Balmoral’s developer.

“We released phase two, which consists of 85 units, in October. Prices are from $328,000, inclusive of luxury furniture and a private pool. We’re also offering a 6 per cent net leaseback contract to buyers at Balmoral for up to three years, including off -peak personal use.”

All on-site management at Balmoral will be by Feltrim Resorts, whose recent contract with Virgin Holidays, kicking off in the spring, has already resulted in 150 bookings for the May to December 2017 period.

With a growing number of resort launches lined up, central Florida’s holiday home market is gearing up for an exciting 2017. For a home that lets you and your rental guests enjoy theme parks, golf and a quality outdoors lifestyle, the sunshine state is hard to beat.

This article provides just another current testimony of why Orlando remains one of the hottest destinations for international travelers.  We look forward to welcoming more UK vacationers and second home buyers here in the months and years to come.

For more information on the Central Florida real estate market, consult with Team Koss at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Better than New – Windermere Home!

This fully-upgraded, single-story, 2014 Beazer Home, MacArthur, floor-plan with Spanish colonial elevation is guaranteed to impress.  It boasts exceptional curb appeal, with mature landscaping, brick pavers and covered patio leading to a decorative front door.  All that is missing is two rocking chairs and a tall, ice-cold glass of homemade lemonade.  Read More

Continue reading “Better than New – Windermere Home!”

Grapefruit League Preview 2017

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2017 FL Spring Training Logo

Baseball is back!  Pitchers and catchers reported to camp last week all across the Sunshine State. While many up North are freezing in their home cities, 15 MLB squads are reporting to cities across Florida and Grapefruit League exhibition play is set to begin.  Here’s a changes to take note of this Spring:

  • The Houston Astros no longer train in Kissimmee and the Washington Nationals no longer train in Viera (both a bummer for us Central Floridians).  Both teams are opening a new joint facility, Ballpark of The Palms,  in West Palm Beach.
  • Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, home of the Detroit Tigers, has undergone a $48 million renovation and the Tigers have a contract with the city of Lakeland through 2036.  The Tigers have held Spring Training in Lakeland since 1934.
  • The New York Yankees home at George M. Steinbrenner Field has undergone $40 million in renovations and the Yankees are locked in with the city of Tampa through 2046.  The Yankees have held Spring Training in Tampa since 1996.
  • The Atlanta Braves are still at Champion Stadium at Walt Disney World, but are negotiating with Sarasota for a new facility.  This may be one of the final few seasons the Braves play in Central Florida.
  • The World Baseball Classic kicks off on March will pull some of the leagues top stars away from Spring Training.  Marlins Park in Miami will host First Round games from Pool C, which includes: United States, Canada, Columbia and Dominican Republic.

If you are looking for more details on Spring Training and would like to catch your team in action, there are several great online resources available, including:  Florida Grapefruit League, Spring Training Online and Spring Training Connection.

Play ball!

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Economic Development, Tourism on Agenda in Tallahassee

Governor Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran may be members of the same party, but they hold a very different view on several key positions regarding business incentives and tourism marketing.

Governor Scott is asking the legislature to approve $85 million for Enterprise Florida funding, a public-private economic development corporation, as a means of attracting more major employers to the Sunshine State.  The Governor has the backing of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, who’s CEO Wilson said Enterprise Florida is a key component of bringing in  “high-wage, high-skill jobs.” Governor Scott is also asking for $76 million for Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing program.

Both measures are met with opposition from Speaker Corcoran who contest that the state government should not “pick winners and losers” in the market, nor should it spend public money on boosting tourism to promote private companies.  Republican majorities in the Florida legislature will be forced to make a tough choice between Governor Scott and Speaker Corcoran’s position, or find some way of reconciling the two.

Scott was denied his request for $250 million for Enterprise Florida in last year’s budget, but has come back asking for a much smaller amount.  The Governor has proposed an $83.5 billion budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017.  Among other highlights in the budget include business tax cuts, increased education funding and healthcare spending cuts.

Lawmakers have begun putting their agenda’s forward, as Regular Session of the Florida Legislature convenes on March 7 in Tallahassee.

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Minor League Baseball Returns to Orlando!

The Florida Fire Frogs are the newest professional sports franchise in the Orlando area.  The Brevard County Manatees relocated to Kissimmee following the 2016 season and will play it’s first season at Osceola County Stadium this Spring. Read More

Continue reading “Minor League Baseball Returns to Orlando!”

FHA Loans Insurance Premium Cuts, Cancelled

Things are changing in Washington DC with President Donald Trump being sworn into office last Friday.  One of the first executive actions taken by the new President was in regards to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan insurance premiums.

The scheduled rate cut were set to take effect on January 27 and would have amounted to reducing FHA-loan insurance fees (MIP fees) from .85% of loan amount to .60% of loan amount.  Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to Twitter in criticism of the policy, saying it would have saved home buyers as much as $500 per year.

So why did the Trump Administration take action?  The argument is based around concerned related to events that happened with the real estate collapse of the mid-2000s.  FHA loans already allow for small down payments (as low as 3.5%) and credit scores as low as 580; meaning that FHA borrowers are more likely to have less stable financial history.  The main concern is that these riskier borrowers are more likely to default on their loans and that cost would fall back on the FHA (i.e. taxpayers).

What does this mean for you?  Well, if you are currently paying these monthly fees on your loan, your rate will remain the same.  Since the cut has not gone into effect, your payments will not change, for the time being. President Trump has selected Ben Carson as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but Carson has yet to be confirmed for the position. Carson did signal, however, that when he assumes his new role, they will reevaluate the policy.

This action is not likely to have much impact on the housing market, but it is interesting to note that the real estate industry has been in the spotlight, day one of the new Administration.

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

West Orange Continues to Grow in 2017

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Photo courtesy of Orlando Health (Ocoee)

Metropolitan Orlando led the nation in percentage job growth in 2016 and as a result, home sales are doing well.  One of the areas where the growth is most noticeable is West Orange County.  Healthcare facilities, new schools and new home construction are all part of the West Orange boom that will continue steadily into 2017.

Here’s a few highlights of major projects happening:

  • Healthcare:  Orlando Health recently completed Health Central Hospital in Ocoee is expanding in Horizons West and Dr. Phillips.  Florida Hospital will continue to expand it’s new Winter Garden campus.
  • Education:  In response to the explosion of growth and families moving into West Orange, the new Windermere High School will welcome it’s first 1,800 students in Fall 2017.  The newly named Windermere Wolverines are in the process of adding programs, administration, holding PTSO elections and building a new community for the students and parents it serves.
  • Housing / Development:  The Hamlin community (Horizons West) is developing it’s Town Center, offering new retail and entertainment options of residents and locals on the shores Lake Hancock.

Of course, the steady growth of West Orange presents it’s own set of challenges for residents, municipalities and lawmakers.  It will be exciting to see how things progress over the course of the next year. West Orange communities also offer residents close proximity Orlando’s main theme park attractions; Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. Check out our Team Koss video on Dr. Phillips, Windermere and Winter Garden for more details on the area.

If you are involved in the business community, we also strongly recommend joining the award winning West Orange Chamber of Commerce, now celebrating it’s 45th Anniversary.

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Awful Weatherman Returns!

He’s back folks!  Remember the viral internet sensation the Awful Weatherman?  Well, Louis Badalament has been living here in the Orlando area and he’s given us another broadcast of the local weather that will not disappoint.

Don’t forget your umbrella!

 

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

January 2017 Events in Orlando

Mark your calendar…Below is a schedule of some great upcoming Orlando events January 2017!   

Winter Music Series

January 07, 2017 – January 28, 2017

Location: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Clermont, FL

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Each Saturday afternoon during the month of January, Lakeridge Winery holds its famous Music Series, featuring live bands on the outdoor stage. The musicians selected are all fantastic performers, hand-picked from the wealth of talent located throughout Central Florida. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food is available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting.

MLK Jazz and Blues Cookout

January 7, 2017

Location: John H. Jackson Center 1002 Carter St., Orlando

LINK: CLICK  

Description: Join Commissioner Regina I. Hill of District 5, Drop D No Limits Foundation and the Downtown Development Board Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m. for the 4th annual MLK Jazz & Blues Cookout at the John H. Jackson Center. 

Wicked (Musical)

January 11, 2017 – January 29, 2017

Location: Dr. Phillips Center – Walt Disney Theater

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Back by popular demand! Variety calls Wicked “a cultural phenomenon,” and it continues to break box office records and sell out in record time. Winner of over 100 international awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, Wicked is “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times). Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the land of Oz. One—born with emerald green skin—is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for “the most complete — and completely satisfying — new musical in a long time” (USA Today).

Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus Xtreme

January 12, 2017 – January 16, 2017

Location: Orlando’s Amway Center

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Features artists who redefine the word extreme in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining them with never-before-seen spectacles, original fast-paced performances and incredibly hilarious moments.  The multi-year tour offers extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers that add up to the ultimate family entertainment experience.

Dinosaur Invasion at Leu Gardens

January 13, 2017 – April 30, 2017

Location: Harry P. Leu Gardens

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Discover what life was like millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth!  This one-of-kind, outdoor exhibit features life-like prehistoric creatures throughout the 50-acre botanic garden.  Creator Guy Darrough, an accomplished fossil expert and collector, meticulously crafts each dinosaur carefully for authenticity.  The beauty and scientific replicas range in size from 14 inches to a massive 33 feet.

12th Annual Otronicon

January 13, 2017 – January 19, 2017

Location: Orlando Science Center

LINK: CLICK

Description: Experience the latest, greatest and retro favorites at Otronicon. A spectacular display of interactive technology, games and simulation. Whether you are in the tech industry or just have a passion for learning, Otronicon engages guests of all ages to imagine the possibilities of the ever-growing and diverse digital media industry.

Lewis Black Live: Rant, White & Blue (Comedian)

Saturday, January 14

Location: Hard Rock Live Orlando

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Lewis’ live performances provide a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audience. Lewis yells so they don’t have to. A passionate performer who is more a pissed-off optimist than mean-spirited curmudgeon, Lewis is the rare comic who can cause an audience to laugh themselves into incontinence while making compelling points about the absurdity of our world.

SW Orlando Jaycees Downtown Orlando MLK Parade

Saturday, January 14

Location: Northwest Lawn 512 East Washington Street Orlando

LINK: CLICK

Description: Martin Luther King, Jr Parade featuring prominent community and civic organizations, leaders and dignitaries. A caravan of our local small and minority businesses and teh nations most talented marching bands. The theme for the 2017 King Day celebration is “Remember, Celebrate, and Act….King’s Legacy of Peace with Justice for Our World.”

Praise Wave Music Festival

Saturday January 14, 2017 –  January 28, 2017

Location: SeaWorld Orlando

LINK: CLICK 

Description: With the return of Praise Wave®, guests can celebrate Christian fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. Uplifting, live concerts from the hottest names in Christian music will light up the stage at Nautilus Theater. Guests can also enjoy SeaWorld’s thrilling rides, shows and attractions.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

January 20 – February 19, 2017

Location: Mad Cow Theatre, 54 W Church St, Orlando, FL

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Einstein and Picasso walk into a bar. Sounds like an opening of a classic joke…In the hands of comic-genius-turned-playwright Steve Martin it becomes so much more: an exploration of creativity, physics, and one-night stands played out in hilarious and thoughtful fashion. Ostensibly set in 1904 Paris, in th moments before Einstein and Picasso’s geniuses blossom, their worlds collide in the most commonplace of fashions… and the 20th century is born. What’s next? Believe it or not, the play has that answer too!

2017 Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza

January 20, 2017 – January 22, 2017

Location: 2929 S Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703

LINK: CLICK 

Description: The Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza is a weekend event that is perfect for birders visiting Florida or locals wanting to learn more from well-known, knowledgeable birding guides. You can add to your life list while exploring a unique birding area.

Brahms Symphony No. 3

January 21, 2017

Location: Bob Carr Theater

LINK: CLICK 

Description: The Philharmonic honors John Adams with performances of two of his most well-known works. Eighteen year-old American Carmen Knoll will perform Rachmaninoff’s spectacular Third Piano Concerto. The program ends with the first Philharmonic performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.

2017 Monster Jam

January 21, 2017

Location: Camping World Stadium

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Monster Jam® is the most action-packed live event on four wheels where world-class drivers compete in front of capacity crowds in both monster truck racing and freestyle competitions. Celebrating 25 years of adrenaline-charged family entertainment, Monster Jam combines spontaneous entertainment with the ultimate off-road, motorsport competition. Monster Jam features the most recognizable trucks in the world including Grave Digger®, Max-DTM, El Toro Loco®, Monster Mutt® and many more. Monster Jam events leave you on the edge of your seat as these competitors thrill fans with jaw-dropping displays of gravity-defying feats.

The 5k Zombie Run Orlando

January 21, 2017

Location: Bill Frederick Park, 3401 S Hiawassee Rd, Orlando

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Run for your life from flesh hungry Zombies through a 3.1 mile trail run where ZOMBIES are the obstacles!

Florida Wedding Expo 2017

January 22, 2017

Location: Orange County Convention Center

LINK: CLICK 

Description: The First and Biggest Wedding Expo of the Year!!! Find everything for your wedding… all in one place, in one afternoon!

In the Mood (Musical)

January 27, 2017

Location: Dr. Phillips Center

LINK: CLICK

Description: Hop aboard the “Chattanooga Choo Choo” to “Tuxedo Junction” and get “In the Mood” to hear a “Moonlight Serenade” performed by a 13-piece Big Band and six singer-dancers with some hot boogie woogie! In The Mood is a fully staged tribute to Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, The Andrews Sisters and big band greats of the ’40s. Complete with period costumes and choreography, In The Mood celebrates America’s greatest generation who listened and boogied to up-tempo big band rhythms and danced to intimate ballads. Experience the jazzy, brassy, sentimental and patriotic music of the World War II era.

Celebration of Harry Potter

January 27, 2017 – January 29, 2017

Location: Universal Studios Florida

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Be a part of A Celebration of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort™. It’s the only official event where you can celebrate your love for Harry Potter™ and discover more about the Wizarding World. Take part in film talent Q&A sessions, access special panels and demonstrations, and discover many more surprises.

NFL PRO BOWL: AFC vs NFC

January 29, 2017 ** Week Long Events

Location: Camping World Stadium

CLICK: LINK

Description: A week long of fun football events leading up to the big game

** Click this link to see additional Pro Bowl events getting “kicked off” January 24th!! 

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Photo courtesy of http://www.hercampus.com