Florida or somewhere else?

14 Replies

I live in New Jersey , specifically the shore area, where real estate is too high for a beginner like me to really profit. Just check the number if you don’t believe me. I’m currently running a business here but my father and I wanna begin the real estate side of our family business. I’m fairly new but we have $200k to begin the house flipping business. I already have done a lot of homework but thing is we plan to move to Florida, specifically orlando area, in two years. So we wanna start now! So question is , would Florida be the best option to start flipping or does anyone have other suggestions? Really appreciate ur help and info!

Wow, that's a huge question!

Being a real estate broker, property manager, wife, mother and investor here in Central Florida I of course would say that this is a fantastic place to invest in and to live in.

To ask about all of Florida as one is similar to asking about New York. There is a huge price differential between Manhattan, Buffalo and Lake Placid.

There is such a huge difference in each city, and neighborhood, that it is hard to say all of Florida would work for you.

Personally, I love Ocala, its smaller and slower than Orlando and there are some great deals on real estate here with a very hot rental market. 

However, it is a bit too small and slow from our surrounding larger cities (Orlando, Gainesville, Tampa & Daytona)

My worse nightmare is regular heavy traffic since I drive quite a bit for work so I prefer to visit the larger nearby cities, but not actually live there.

Being a Florida resident we get substantial discounts for annual passes to Disney and having children we go to Orlando often. From my driveway to the disney parking lot it takes 68 minutes. Which means, I can go to the beach for the day, or got to Disney for the day, or go to the major shopping and museums for the day, then drive home with very little stress.

Some people hate living in a smaller town though. Wherever you decide to invest sounds like it should be close to where you plan on living.

Have you been down to visit the area and look at areas you like? What is your ideal living situation?

Do you love to live by the beach? Maybe you should look into Daytona or Ormond area. Do you want to stay away from the beach area investing because of hurricanes? Maybe look inland. What kind of place are you really looking for? There are so many towns/cities that have their own unique culture that it might be good to spend a little but if time finding the general area you are most comfortable in then purchasing properties surrounding that area.

Obviously you do not need to live next door to your investment properties, but if you live in Miami and your investment properties are in Ormond...it will make regular management of your property problematic.

Just thoughts to consider, hopefully it helps.


Florida isn't homogenous, unfortunately.

Some questions :

What kind of returns are you looking for? 10-15%? 25-35%? 

Your budget is 200k. Are you looking to start small (<100k all in), or are you looking for one large deal?

How are you looking for leads? MLS? Networking? Farming?

Personally, I'm a realtor in Gainesville, FL which has some local features that are excellent for buy-and-hold (multiple hospitals and multiple colleges). However, if you're looking to flip, you're going to want to make connections with as many contractors/sub-contractors and property managers as possible before spending a penny.

So before you decide where you are going to invest, check out some investment clubs. Invest Gainesville, MCREIA (Marion County Real Estate Investment Association), Jax REIA, Central Florida REIA, and Tampa REIA. You're going to put a hell of a lot of miles in your car, but if you attend a couple meetings for each, you'll have a much better feel for each area and the resources available to you for investing.

Good luck! Have a happy, healthy, and productive day!

Robert Haynes - Realtor
EXIT Realty Producers
Co-Organizer: Invest Gainesville

Thanks a million for your feedback, very helpful. Yes we renting reunion homes twice a year and my grandparents live and own two homes in Ocala. Go figure Ocala was my main focus area but as you said pretty slow. As for the market I’m unaware of how good it is but I’m still researching. One thing we notice that a lot of the homes in my grandparents community are one bedroom. So we figured we could just add one if needed. But that’s just a thought for now. Further we will most likely be moving to Davenport Florida. We really like it there and it’s growing fast. So do you have any suggestions for the Ocala market?

That's a funny coincidence. Welcome to our neck of the woods.

This week I worked with in investor to find a 4/2/1 that was purchased for $52k he has a budget of $18k in upgrades to put into it including a new roof, tile flooring and paint throughout etc. He will be renting it for $1100 to $1200 with a current market sales value of $125k once repaired. 

Another investor purchased a house for $75k in a sought after neighborhood. There is a $15k budget for this 3/2/2 which will be rented out for $1200-$1300 with a current market sales value of $140k once repaired.

There are deals here aplenty if you have the patience and tenacity to snag them.

Knowing what to do with them once you have them is also helpful.

Easier and quicker but less ROI are the new construction homes being built. They are selling for approximately $130k and are renting for a little over $1000 depending on the neighborhood. These are less risky in that they are fresh built with a one year builders warranty on them.

Hope this helps.


@andrea Hi wanted to work with mls.com but I’m always skeptical about real estate websites cause all they wanna do is sell me ad and so on... is the website legit or is it gonna send me through loops?

@David Dorsey

I don't know about MLS.com I think that's some other company, if anything I would use Realtor.com it's faster than zillow/trulia.

You can use my brokerages website if you want, it has a straight IDX feed (MLS real time) to my local market. (Yes, you have to register, but the info comes to me)

Normally, with deals in real estate around here it is about speed. If I see a deal or even hear about a deal I will race over and snag a video inside and out, then email the link to the video to a list of investors that may be interested based on the preferences that they have discussed with me previously. One investor may want low risk (new construction with warranty home) while another may be ready for taking on a major fixer upper.

As far as the investors, once I send them the house contract and they sign it, I don't work with any other buyers on that particular house as I feel it's a conflict of interest. They can of course go to another real estate agent but most know me, and prefer to wait for the next deal.

Knowing what to put on your contract to get the deal, being the first to submit the contract etc. are often more important than being the highest offer. I have a reputation for knowing what I'm doing which also helps.

In a smaller town like Ocala, your reputation is everything.

Hope this helps answer a few questions.

I don't know if what I do would work in other areas, but I don't mind sharing some insights. 

Feel free to call with questions anytime.


Hey David, I’m new to the forums but it’s nice to meet you! I am located in central Florida and have recently been made aware of a property that is unlisted but for sale. My father (who has about 40 years commercial real estate sales and appraising experience) is the one that brought the property to my attention yesterday. The property is a 51 acre plot of land with some lakefront. The asking price is about $4000 per acre however, adjoining properties with less acreage and no lakefront are selling between $12,000 and $15,000 per acre. We feel this is an opportunity to at least double our money in as little as 30 to 45 days. If you have any interest at all feel free to contact me and I can provide further details. Thank you and good luck! 8638603974.

@Frank Boet I have handled short term/vacation rentals in the past. There is an extremely high demand for rentals from January through March because our town is flooded with people from HITS. Also, many of the white headed snowbirds make their annual migration at that time for the first time and they prefer to rent for a few months rather than buy.

I have not personally handled any Airbnb rentals because of the extremely high turnover. From what I understand it's more like running a hotel room, which seems like something you should be onsite for.

I do know that there are a lot of Airbnb type rentals in Orlando because of Disney world. I actually shared an interesting article about it on our company Facebook page not long ago. It seemed like an interesting idea, but it wouldn't make sense for Ocala I don't think.

Many of the communities here have strict HOA rules about renting for a minimum of 3 months.

There is also the issue of sales tax. When you rent anything for 6 months or less the landlord is responsible for charging the tenant sales tax and submitting it to the State of Florida. I have opted out of doing short term rentals at all at this point. They are twice the work but not (so far) double the money.

Again, this is in my area, for other areas, short term rentals may be an outstanding idea.


Like my uncle GC says attention attracts money.  Orlando does a good job for vacationers.. I got 3 rentals about 5 miles from Disney World, definitely check out that area.  If Disney offers 500 bucks for a room for 1 days, imagine you renting a house for 200 bucks for 1 day.